Summer in Taos

Taos never fails to amaze me with its astounding beauty.  From the snow capped peaks of winter to the forever skies encountered throughout the year, this city of “light” is perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring places on earth.

double rainbow Taos, NMWhen I moved here, many years ago, I remember being bewildered by the number of “seasons” that this mountain enclave displayed.  Along with the traditional Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, there was the dreaded “mud season” which befell us each April and May and the exciting “rainbow season”  from late July through early September.

During “rainbow season” hardly a day goes by where we are not blessed with the presence of double or triple rainbows framing our mountain and setting our town ablaze. Thus far this month, I have personally witnessed four triple rainbows and eight doubles.  These present wonderful photo opportunities but, more importantly, they provide with an opportunity to really relish the natural gifts that surround us and remind us of what it is really all about.

night skies of Taos

Photo Courtesy of IGer: @inlightfulimages

Summer also provides us with spectacular celestial shows.  The wide open spaces and protection from light pollution allow visitors to regularly see the Andromeda Galaxy or the Great Nebula in Orion and to enjoy the annual Perseids meteor showers in their full glory.  This provides a perfect way to cap off an evening out on the town with a little extra special romance.

With cool mountain air, expansive vistas, friendly and adventurous people and a plethora of activities including mountain biking, river rafter, fly fishing, hot air ballooning and, of course, hiking; summers are at least as exciting as ski season.  And, we have not even touched on the temples, cultural hotspots or wild flowers.

Why not take a few days to really LIVE a little?  Book a stay at the Powerdorn Inn and Suites and give you and your family or special someone a vacation that will truly be remembered for a lifetime.  Who knows,  the wish you make on that shooting star may just come true.

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Taos Ski Valley Reconstruction

Work is well underway at the base of lift #1.  Although the basement of the new parking garage is still not completely dug, the initial hurdles have all been jumped.

What is in store for the New Taos Ski Valley Plaza?

The “plaza” as it has been named, will be consistent with what we have seen developed in the some of the better known ski resorts of the Rocky Mountains.  Brick pavers will line the store fronts and provide access to a plethora of new shops and “hangouts”.  A new, four story building will take the place of the old ticket windows and underground locker rooms.  Decorative plaster walls and low level Bollard lights will line the banks of the West Fork and a small sculpture garden will greet new arrivals.  Well placed benches, flower pots, bike racks and ski racks will be found along the walkway.  The existing tree house deck will remain (at least for the time being).

Overall, the look seems to be consistent with the village of Telluride, small and contained.  Future plans are underway for further expansion but, the 2015/2016 season will be ushered in with a totally new look and feel while still retaining much of the original flavor that we have come to love.  The addition of retail spaces along the plaza will draw tourist dollars and ensure that the “forgotten items” will be readily available.  It will also provide opportunities for local entrepreneurs to build sustainable businesses that can operate year round.   Ideally, the nightlife will be enhanced thus allowing weary travelers to stay put during the evening hours and, perhaps, share enticing stories of their wonderful ski adventures with friends near and far.

So far, it seems that the entire process has been handled with great care and concern for maintaining the “uniqueness” that is Taos.  I, for one, am filled with anticipatory delight for the coming season.

I also cannot stress enough that NOW is the time to book your lodging.  The coming season will prove to be far busier so in town lodging may no longer suit your skiing needs as the ski valley road may prove to be far fuller, far earlier than in seasons past.  The Edelweiss Lodge and Spa reservations desk is already buzzing with travelers who desire ski in ski out access to the up-and-coming hottest ski resort in the West.  I assure you that you will want to take part.

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Taos Ski Valley 2015 – 2016

snow melt in the Taos Ski Valley

As I drive the all too familiar route to the Taos Ski Valley, I find myself lost in the fond memories of the season past and in the anticipation of the season to come.  The river runs high with the abundant melt of the snows and the peaks still shine snowy white.  Although my skis have been stored, I mused about the idea of one final run off the ridge.  I am not the only one.  A small group of diehards are already on their way up on this fine blue sky day.

The final season of enjoying our quaint little village has come and gone.  The base area no longer resembles the relics of an old European resort.  Nor does it resemble the likes of Aspen or Vail – yet.  The plans are drawn, the vision is laid out and the process is underway.  The deconstruction of the old buildings is complete and the beginning of the new “plaza” is stepping into reality.  The underground parking area is mostly dug and the periphery of the Snakedance has been shored due to erosion concerns.  The largest boulders (some in excess of 10 tons) have been preserved to line the banks of the West Fork and help create an artificial but aesthetically pleasing “riverwalk”.  The park like setting will be a draw to visitors both near and far; Spring, Summer Winter and Fall.

This summer will be slow.  Many of the Taos Ski Valley lodgers are closed while the construction is underway.  The notorious Tim’s Stray Dog Cantina has graciously remained open both for the crews, the curious and the locals.  Autumn will draw few with its bright yellows Aspens and deep blue skies.

The coming winter however, will be bursting with activity.  Gone are the days when you can book a ski in/ ski out with little notice.  With travelers from around the world being enticed to SKI TAOS rooms are already running in short supply during high season.  Menus are being discussed and bars will be stocked to attract the ski après crowds.  It is to be a grand re-opening.  I hope to see you there…

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March Skiing In Taos

With the recent storm dumping over 4 feet of fresh white flakes on our humble Taos mountain, March 2015 is shaping up to be some of the best skiing of the season.  If you have been thinking about one last ski trip to round out the season – it is time to commit!

There has been a tremendous amount of publicity surrounding the opening of the new Kachina Peak Lift.  Mix that with the tall tales of those lucky enough to have already taken the journey and you can bet that demand is at an all time high.  Of course you also have day time temperatures in the low to mid 40′s, a world class terrain park, virtually no lift lines, some of the most affordable ski vacations in the Southwest and the closest thing to European skiing in the US drawing in the crowds.  This all adds up to the perfect spot to spend Spring Break with family and friends.

The Taos Ski Valley Kindercare offers parents a safe and secure place to leave the youngest members of the crew and the Ernie Blake Ski School offers a great solution for those who are new to the slopes or who just want to improve their “game”.

Don’t forget the sunscreen…

For ski in/out one, two or three bedroom vacation condo rentals call the Edelweiss Lodge and Spa.  The “Weiss” is located right beside the Strawberry Hill lift it is minutes from the children’s center, offers a full dinner menu, has spa services on site (as well as a game room for the kids for après ski) and has some of the friendliest staff around.

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Is Taos A Good Place For Beginning Skiers?

beginners terrain in Taos Ski Valley

Beginners terrain in Taos Ski Valley

You have probably heard all about Taos’ steep terrain and expert slopes but, did you know we are also a great place for beginning skiers?  With a renowned ski school full of enthusiastic instructors and plenty of beginner terrain this mountain enclave it is perfect place to learn to ski.

Learning To Ski in Taos

Learning To Ski in Taos

With the expansion of the base area in the past few years, Taos now has an exceptional array of beginning ski slopes.  The three “zippers” give you a chance to get your “ski legs” under you prior to tackling short, easy runs like Rueggli and Pioneer.

Once you have mastered your “pizza” and “french fries” it is time to move on to Strawberry Hill.  This is a great place to practice your turns, get comfortable with your abilities and learn to control your speed.

Having mastered Strawberry Hill most beginners will then want to try something a bit more adventuresome.  That means it is time to head over to lift 1 and take a long, smooth ride down White Feather or head to the back side and go “around the world” via Honeysuckle, Winkelried and Rubezahl.

Yes, Taos has steep terrain but we also have some pretty good beginner terrain as well.  Treat yourself and your family to the adventure of a lifetime – who knows you may just be inspired to reach the peak.

Need help planning your ski vacation?  Contact our concierge for advanced lift ticket purchases, lodging options and general mountain information.

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Taos’ New Kachina Lift – It’s a Whole New Experience

New Kachina Peak Chair Lift Taos

Opening Day of the New Lift

If you have skied Taos in the past you know all about the abundance of steep, hike-to, expert terrain.  With the opening of the new Kachina lift – one of the highest lifts in North America – things just got a whole lot better!  You can now do repeated runs down our famous 12,450 foot Kachina Peak and the various chutes near the top without the grueling 45 minute hike.

The recent opening of the high-speed, three-seater Kachina Peak lift gives you a whole new perspective and, to be honest, makes it feel like a whole new mountain.  The short five minute ride on the new lift provides outstanding views of the terrain and a new understanding of exactly why the peak has gained a reputation as a skiers paradise.  Once you reach the top be sure to spend a few minutes  side-stepping up to the famous peak with its multi-colored Tibetan prayer flags and unbelievable views of the Sangre de Christo Mountains.

Trekking up to the peak for a photo op.Christo mountain range in all directions.

After a brief photo shoot (don’t worry if you did not bring a camera Taos Ski Valley has photographers on site to ensure you get professional shots that will be the envy of all of your friends), it is down you go through some of the most outstanding powder in the state.  For the more adventurous, head right at the top of the lift and try some of the narrower shoots with plenty of opportunities to show off your style.

Of course, if you feel the need, the hiking trail is still available.

apres ski at the Blond Bear Tavern Taos Ski valley

Apres ski at the Blond Bear Tavern Taos Ski valley

After repeated runs down you will no doubt feel the need to recap the events of the day.  For the best après ski on the mountain head over to the Blonde Bear Tavern and indulge in a hearty chicken pot pie, a delicious ¼ burger or some lighter fair like the black bean hummus dip with tortilla chips.  Click here to view our menu.

See you on the slopes.

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2015 Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships

If you have never watched a world class skiing/snowboarding event up close you are in for a treat. This year the 2015 Extreme Freeride Championship will be held in Taos from February 27th through March 1st. This event will draw talented skiers and snowboarders from around the world – all competing for individual wins and a chance at an overall title of World Champion in a variety of disciplines. Tour participants will be chasing a $15,000 purse.

The event takes place on the dangerously steep, mountainous slopes of the West Basin and Kachina Peak areas. It is a 4* Freeride World Tour Qualifying event (FWQ), and is one of only a handful of elite FWQ events around the world.

The Extreme Freeride Championship is an annual event (this will be the 11th year in Taos) which gathers the top seeded skiers and snowboarders from around the world. The Taos stop on this tour is a crucial event for athletes looking to score points and move on to the top-tier World Tour events.
With so much riding on the competition participants come ready to give it their all and that means a great show for spectators.

Here is a look at the 2013 winners:

Book your stay in They Taos Ski Valley now while there is still space available.

See you on the hill…

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How to Self Arrest While Skiing

After having one of my skis stick into a mogul on Lorelii this past weekend and sliding down over 200 ft (directly into a friend where my ski came dangerously close to causing a serious medical crisis) I realized that even avid skiers sometimes forget (or never learn) how to self arrest. I had partially turned over prior to impact which I am sure helped avoid severely injuring my ski buddy.

Note: that if you are skiing in steep, icy or otherwise dangerous conditions you should TAKE YOUR POLE STRAPS OFF. There are differing theories on this but, I am firmly in this camp.

In this situation I started face up and feet first down the hill with skis released. The snow was fairly hard packed which quickened my downhill decent. What should I or you do in this type of situation?

Step one: Turn over onto your front. I know this sounds impossible as your adrenaline is flowing and your mind is set on stopping not flipping over. That said, you need to turn over and as quickly as possible. You simple cannot stop yourself when you are sliding down on your back and you will gain speed very quickly on steep, icy slopes. Some will argue that they dig their boot heals in and that stops them but, the truth is that often times digging in the boot heals can create a situation where you go from traveling downhill feet first to being totally turn around to a head first position. They can also launch you into obstacles if they are to catch on twigs or other debris.

How do you get yourself to turn over?

Use one hand to firmly grab the opposite pole and slide that hand down near the basket. Use the pole to dig into the snow as deeply as you can (if you managed to drop your poles dig both hands into the snow on one side of the body). In practice, you will find that once you can dig in a bit the process of flipping over is much easier than it sounds (especially if your skis have been released). On ice covered or hard packed snow it may be nearly impossible to dig but keep trying and focus and getting and keeping your head pointing uphill.

Step two: Once you are on your stomach keep digging into the snow. If your skis have released use the toes of your boots to dig in as well. The toes have some give and are not likely to cause the same problems that using your heals (when face up) cause. The drag will slow you down and make any damage done by hitting obstacles much less severe. In my case, I was already feet first which is far better than traveling full speed, head first into a tree, rock or over a cliff. If you are going head first, once you start digging in the drag will help you spin you around. The idea is that you want as many things as possible to hit any obstacles BEFORE your head, spine or gut. If your skis do not release you will be sliding downhill in an inverted snowplough. Slow down the fall progressively by applying pressure on the heels and the inner edges of the skis. Do not try to use the tips of your skis. They can act as a sled of sorts and speed up your decent down the hill.

If you ski steep terrain often is well worth investing in good quality self arresting ski poles.

Most importantly take a class of self arresting prior to beginning to ski steep or dangerous terrain. It may save your life (and a friends).

Brought to you by: Taos Property Rentals. Taos Property Rentals is known for providing top-notch, luxury lodging and spectacular customer service in the Taos Ski Valley.

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How to Choose the Right Skis

So you’re interested in skiing? Not hard to see why. When people think of fun stuff to do in the snow, skiing comes up pretty high on most people’s lists. There’s nothing like the rush of speeding downhill, kicking up snow as you go. But before you get to that point, you have to consider one of the most important decisions when it comes to skiing: picking the right pair of skis. If you’re new to the sport, this can be a little confusing. So just how do you choose the right pair of skis for you?

the importance of gender when choosing skisThe first thing to consider is gender. This matters a lot, as skis are made in regards to the weight and physique unique to their respective genders. Even if you don’t see much of a difference, that difference can be critical when you’re in action on the slopes.

Second, consider your skill level. Skis generally fit into one of several skill categories. These include beginner, intermediate, expert, and professional. This is another crucial choice, as picking a set of skis below or above your skill level can hinder your experience. It is recommended that you choose a skill level you are comfortable with but leaves room for improvement.

powder skisAnother important factor is locale. Depending on where you go, what you ski and the recent conditions, the skiing and the “best skis” will be different. For example, powder skis will be your best bet if you’re going somewhere with fresh, puffy snow. Free Style skis are the ideal choice for the terrain park and an all mountain ski is great for beginners and mellow cruising.

Still wondering what would be the ideal ski for you? Why not find a ski shop and ask? Most ski shops will have qualified professionals that know their craft and their mountain and can help lead you to the perfect skis.

Possibly the most crucial step to finding your perfect pair of skis will be to try before you buy. Even after you do your research, find your size, determine your type, and consult with a professional, you won’t know if a set of skis are a good fit until you actually ski with them. If you try them out and you don’t feel comfortable with them, then they probably are not the skis for you. If possible, try out several pairs of skis until you find the pair that feels right for you. You will know after one or two runs.

Recap: To choose the best ski consider your skill level, where you will be skiing, and what kind of skis you might need. When in doubt, ask questions! Having the right pair of skis will make your experience one that you will never forget, and you will be more likely to get excited about going skiing again and again!

Courtesy of Taos Property Rentals your guide to Taos Ski Valley vacation condos, hotel rooms and mountain side vacation homes. Planning a visit to Taos Ski Valley? Let our first class concierge help you with all the details.

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Affordable Spring Break Ski Vacations

If you’re looking for a great idea for your spring break vacation, consider taking the whole family skiing! The Taos Ski Valley is a great place to get some quality family time, relax in incredible lodging, and enjoy the slopes, all for a great price! Here’s a look at some of the most popular lodging options in Taos, and a comparison of rates between Taos and other popular ski villages.

Edelweiss Lodge & Spa

Combining luxury lodging with first-rate slopes and amenities, the Edelweiss Lodge & Spa is the perfect place for families who want to make the most of their spring break ski vacation. Located in the heart of the Taos Ski Valley, Edelweiss offers one, two, and three bedroom condos that are fully furnished and fully equipped for couples and families to live comfortably for extended periods of time. Occupancy varies based on the size of condos, but couples and families of up to ten can stay comfortably in our different condominiums.

For cheaper rates or shorter stays, Taos Ski Valley hotel rooms (lock-offs) are available for couples. These rooms, as their name suggests, are “locked off” from the rest of a condo, and they can only be accessed by the people staying in them. They are slightly smaller than a typical hotel room, but they all have satellite TV, DVD players, coffee makers, and internet access.

Powderhorn Condos: Affordable Vacation Rentals

If you’re looking to save some cash in the lodging department, consider staying at the Powderhorn Suites & Condominiums. Located right near the base of the main ski lift, Powderhorn offers hotel rooms, suites, and condos, providing space for two to seven people. While the lodging spaces are slightly smaller than the Edelweiss, the less expensive rates make it a great option for families on a tighter budget who don’t plan on spending much time in their rooms.

Taos Ski Valley Rates Compared to Other Ski Villages

Though the Taos Ski Valley may not be the first place you think of when you think about ski vacations, it is a far better option than more popular ski villages for many reasons. Lodging rates in the TSV are far more reasonable than other places, such as Vail, Telluride, and Aspen. The average daily rates per person that are listed below include lodging, ski gear rentals, a lift ticket, and food. These prices are based on the standard winter rates in each place, and they are as follows:

  • Vail – $801.51
  • Aspen – $717.49
  • Telluride – $567.28
  • Taos – $239.89

You can clearly see that vacationing in the Taos Ski Valley is less than half the price of some of the more popular skiing vacation spots. Taos has much more to offer than many other ski villages, including the beautiful Kachina Peak, a huge area of hike-to terrain, several outdoor sports, a variety of family-friendly activities, extraordinary dining opportunities, and an assortment of incredible amenities at each lodging option in the area. The Taos Ski Valley is the absolute best place to go for your family’s next spring break ski vacation.

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