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:  http://www.skitaos.org/freeride/pdfs/2013FreerideFinal.pdf

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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2014 / 2015 Opening Day in the Taos Ski Valley

The 2014 opening day in the Taos Ski Valley is quickly approaching! November 27th , Thanksgiving Day, will mark the beginning of the 2014/2015 Taos ski season.  Because of the change of ownership and the impressive amount of changes and renovations that have been taking place, the opening day at Taos Ski Valley is sure to be a day worth remembering. Avid skiers, local Taos residents, and vacationers from all over will join together at the end of November to celebrate the start of another winter and another exciting skiing season.

Taos Ski Valley is home to incredible slopes, a myriad of winter sports and outdoor activities, high-class resorts and lodging, various family-friendly activities, a bustling nightlife, incredible dining opportunities, historical and cultural exhibits and museums, luxurious spas and fitness centers, and endless shopping.

Enjoy our Out-to-Launch Terrain Park and practice grabbing some air on various jumps, rollers, boxes, and rails. If you’re not one for skiing or snowboarding, check out our other winter activities, including snowshoeing, tubing, and snowmobiling. As of this year, you can also take a lift up to the beautiful Kachina Peak, the 12,481-foot view that is sure to take your breath away.

After a full day of skiing, snowboarding, and adventuring throughout Taos Ski Valley, check out one of the local restaurants for après ski. The traditional way of winding down after a long day on the slopes includes food, drinks, and friends while relaxing in a beautiful atmosphere. Thankfully, there are several incredible options to choose from when planning your après ski in the Taos Ski Valley.

In the Taos Ski Valley village, you’ll find the Strawberry Hill slopes, which are home to the Edelweiss Lodge & Spa. The Edelweiss boasts a ski-in/ski-out venue, complete with vacation condominiums and hotel rooms, boot lockers, complimentary ski valet service, underground parking, a gym, a sauna, an outdoor hot tub, game rooms, and some of the best dining in all of New Mexico. After a day full of fun activities in Taos Ski Valley, stop in for après ski at the Blonde Bear Tavern, located in the heart of the Edelweiss Lodge & Spa. You can kick back at the end of the day with après ski, and you can ski in and ski out throughout the day, enjoying a spread of European alpine cuisine, fine wines, and delicious cocktails. If you’re looking for something a little sweeter, the Blonde Bear Tavern proudly serves the best hot chocolate, which you can enjoy while relaxing by the fire or having fun in the nearby game room. For a heartier option at the Blonde Bear, try the down home chicken pot pie, expertly crafted and served in the warm and sophisticated environment in the heart of Taos Ski Valley. The Blonde Bear Tavern also boasts by far the best burgers around, which are sure to satisfy after a long day out on the slopes.

Regardless of when you’re visiting the Taos Ski Valley—on opening day or not—be sure to check out New Mexico’s favorite place to enjoy après ski, the Blonde Bear Tavern.

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What’s new in the Taos Ski Valley?

The Taos Ski Valley

Whats new in 2014

With many changes being made around Taos Ski Valley, it can be hard to keep up and know exactly what to expect from your favorite vacation spot. Here are some changes that have already happened and some to look out for in the near future.

The Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant

On September 3, 2014, a press release confirmed that Taos Ski Valley, Inc. will purchase the Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant. Thomas Schulze built the Bavarian, which is located on the backside of the mountain, and it opened in 1996. Thomas and his wife Jamie have owned and operated the Bavarian since its opening, and they have stated that they will continue to run operations at the hotel and restaurant after the ownership has been transferred. Both parties involved are excited about the deal, and Taos Ski Valley, Inc. has assured the Schulze family that they will maintain the European charm and the unique personality that is found in the Bavarian. Both parties are committed to keeping the Bavarian a cherished and enjoyable destination for years to come as it continues to serve visitors from all over the world.

New Lift to Kachina Peak

Possibly the most exciting change that visitors will enjoy at Taos Ski Valley this year is the staging equipment for the new chair lift to Kachina Peakchairlift up to Kachina Peak. The 12,481-foot peak boasts some of the best skiing in the entire TSV and, before this year, it was only accessible via a 45-minute hike up the side of the mountain. The breathtaking view at the top of Kachina Peak includes the Spanish Peaks, the Taos Plateau, and Wheeler Mountain, the highest mountain in New Mexico. Skiiers and snowboarders willing to make the trek by foot were rewarded with the incredible scenery, an amazing slope, and very few other people.

The Kachina Peak chairlift installation is a big step for the new owner, Louis Bacon, as he plans to improve upon and grow the Taos Ski Valley in a big way. Several construction plans are being put into place to help the TSV realize its full potential, and to help conserve and make the most of its natural environment. In addition to the Kachina Peak chairlift installation, Bacon has set in motion a new base area, and new hike-to terrain area, and a large improvement in snowmaking, all set to begin affecting change this year.

Hike-To Terrain

The majority of Highline Ridge and West Basin Ridge will be accessible only by foot as in years past. However, a new hike-to terrain area is being added this year. It is called The Wild West Glades, and it is 35 acres of tree skiing and is accessible from the West Basin Ridge.

Base Area

While the complete base area renovation will not be completed for a few years, a few small changes are taking place now to prepare for the end result. The drop-off area will now be at the west end of Thunderbird Road, and for the next two years, skiers will still have a staircase standing between them and the lifts.


As climate changes are making snowy winters more unpredictable, Taos Ski Valley is a step ahead in establishing itself as a leader among ski resorts in the US. While the amount of snow and water used will not change, the process of getting it on the mountains will be shorter, which will lead to snow being on the mountains sooner than in previous years. As TSV looks forward to its opening day in November, all its visitors will surely enjoy and appreciate all the changes being made for the betterment of Taos Ski Valley.

Of course, some things will remain the same like the comfort and convenience of the ski in /ski out vacation condos at the Edelweiss Lodge and the home-style food of the Blonde Bear Tavern.  See you at Après-ski.

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Awesome Ski Vacation Spots Close to Oklahoma City or Tulsa

If the coming winter in Taos Ski Valley is anything like the current summer, it’s going to be a snowy one. El Niño prognosticators say New Mexico will have a great ski season. They have not said the same about Oklahoma.

If you live in Oklahoma, Taos Ski Valley is the quickest trip to world class skiing. It’s less than a 9-hour drive from Oklahoma City and barely ten from Tulsa. There are a few route options, but taking I-40 straight west to Albuquerque is the only route that adds any considerable amount of time to the trip. The shortest route is via OK 152 East to TX 152E to US 87 South to US 412 to NM 21 South.

All but the Albuquerque route take you into the Cimarron Canyon, past Lake Eagle Nest, over the Palo Flechado Pass and down into the town of Taos. It’s by far the most scenic and beautiful way to arrive.

Taos Ski Valley was sold last season and the new owner is spending lots of money upgrading facilities, adding more summer activities and building a lift to the top of Kachina Peak. The new chairlift’s ride to 12,450 feet raises the resort’s lift-accessed vertical drop to 3,250 feet. It will also make it easy to experience the magic of Kachina Peak without the hour or longer hike.

If you want to stay close to all the action the ski in / ski out vacation condos at the Edelweiss Lodge and Spa are perfect for singles, couples, groups or families. Book early as the slope side locations fill up fast!

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Taos Ski Valley Winter Adventure Vacations

It may still be August, but excitement for ski season at Taos Ski Valley is at an unusual high this year. Fueling that excitement is the money new owner Louis Bacon has put into upgrades on the mountain, the biggest being the new chairlift to the top of Kachina Peak.

winter adventure vacations - Taos Ski valleyTaos Ski Valley has always been known for its steep chutes, glades and hike-to areas. None of that has changed, but every skier or boarder will notice the coming improvements to amenities, access and new runs.

A project that will help ski conditions all over the mountain is the work being done to the snowmaking systems. New, better equipment will give Taos Ski Valley better coverage and snow quality than ever before.

The tubing area on Strawberry Hill saw some improvements last season and the resort is committed to making tubing an even better experience for everyone this season.

More and more people have been taking advantage of the other winter adventure activities located near Taos Ski Valley. High mountain snowmobile tours are popular. The trails surrounding Taos Ski Valley are some of the most spectacular you will find anywhere, with some mountain views you can’t get from the ski area.

A lot of those trails and some trails snowmobiles can’t access are open for snowshoeing. There are easy trails and trails as challenging as you’ll find anywhere. The trail to Williams Lake and the base of Wheeler Peak starts and finishes near the Bavarian Restaurant, so beer and catching some winter rays on the deck make a nice end to the adventure.

Edelweiss Lodge and Spa - Taos Ski Valley Vacation CondosFor trails like Bull of the Woods and the trails at Northside at Taos Ski Valley that originate near the Taos Ski Valley base area, The Brown Bear Tavern at the Edelweiss Lodge and Spa is a great place to refuel, relax and recover.

Snowshoe rentals are available at local ski shops.



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Comin’ Down in Taos Ski Valley

The timetable for redevelopment plans in Taos Ski Valley still has many holes, but one thing is certain: buildings are coming down. The ticket windows and the locker room above them were torn down in June. The ticket windows are being relocated to their own space in Taos Ski and Boot. There’s no news on where the lockers will be relocated, which has some locker-holders nervous.

The Thunderbird Chalet is now gone. The space where it sat since the 1960’s is now a hole in the ground. Sadly, with the demolition of the Thunderbird Lodge a few years ago, there’s not much left of its legacy.

The best way to stay up to date on all the progress is to go up and see for yourself. While you’re up there, go for a hike or ride a bike, chair or horse. Café Naranja, located in the Edelweiss Lodge and Spa, is great for getting read for a day. It’s open for breakfast and lunch Friday through Monday. Time lapse video of the goings-on in the base area taken from the top of the Edelweiss is on the Edelweiss Lodge and Spa Facebook page.

The images below were taken Friday, July 11.

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Taos’ Natural Wonders

No matter what time of year you visit Taos, the area’s natural wonders are captivating. Often, just looking is enough. But in the warm summer months, those natural wonders become playgrounds.

Sitting above all of them, literally, is Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s tallest mountain. The 13,167-foot peak, which was known as Taos Peak until 1950, looms over Williams Lake and is accessible via three common routes, all of them starting within a couple of miles from the Taos Ski Valley base area. For years the most popular hiking route to the top of Wheeler was the Bull of the Woods trail that starts from the Taos Ski Valley parking lot. It’s a longer, gentler approach than the scree field that rises straight to the top of Wheeler Peak from Williams Lake. In 2011, the U.S. Forest Service built a trail of switchbacks that is the most direct and efficient way up. It starts near the end of the Williams Lake trail.

If you plan a trip to Wheeler Peak, start early in order to beat the afternoon’s protean weather. Keep an eye out for marmots, golden eagles and bighorn sheep.

The Rio Grande del Norte National Monument was established in March 2013. The distinction may be new, but the 800-foot-deep gorge created by the Rio Grande has been used by humans since prehistoric times. One of the best spots to get a spectacular view of the rugged 242,500 acres is at the La Junta Point Overlook in the Wild Rivers Recreation area near the town of Questa. Directly below is the confluence of the Rio Grande and the Red River and there are trails down to the canyon floor. Some of the best fly fishing in the state is along the final section of the Red River.

The South Boundary Trail, which connects Black Lake (near Angel Fire) with Taos, is considered by many to be the premiere mountain bike trail in the state. The South Boundary is 20-plus miles of single track through aspen forests and meadows that rise and drop over 3,500 feet. But the trail isn’t just for a long slog on a bike. In the middle is Garcia Park, which can be reached by car and makes a good meeting point or starting point for shorter rides and hikes. Camping is allowed.

The snow on the South Boundary has melted by June and the forests are green and lush. With its changing colors, Autumn is a great time to hit the trail.

Taos South Boundary Trail

A section of Taos' South Boundary Trail.

For many visitors—the ones arriving from the south—Taos’ natural wonder is the first thing they see. The view from the Taos Valley Overlook sweeps from the San Juan Mountains to the west, across the Rio Grande Gorge to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The first impression made by this jaw-dropping panorama has been turning tourists into Taoseños for a very long time.

The Bureau of Land Management maintains a network of 10 hiking and biking trails just past the overlook that are relatively easy and flat and are a great way to put yourself in the tableau.

Taos Valley Overlook/Rio Grande Gorge

The Rio Grande Gorges as seen from the Taos Valley Overlook. Photo courtesy Taos Land Trust.

Posted in Mountain Biking, Things to do in Taos, Uncategorized, hiking in the Taos Ski Valley, hiking trails | Leave a comment