Like most serious golfers with a wish list of prestigious courses to play before they die I can’t think of one skier that doesn’t have a bucket list of places they want to shred before they cash in their chips. Taos is on many a list of places to ski and for many a good reason too: it’s steep, the location alone makes it less accessible to the average JONG (Google it), and it’s privately owned by a family that actually still cares about the total ski experience. You see, most resorts these days are owned and operated by conglomerate corporations that absolutely suck the life fun out of the sport-all in the name of keeping insurance companies happy and milking a bottom line. Now, don’t get me wrong, earning a profit is important but it’s the means to an end. Make the ski experience a good one and folks will spend their money and come back. A pretty simple formula for success. Taos is one of those places where it’s all about the skiing.
Founded by Rhoda and Ernie Blake in 1956 Taos is the highest elevation municipality in the U.S. at 9,207 feet stretching as high as 12,581 feet and the family still maintains control of the day-to-day operations of the resort. One of three family owned resorts left in the U.S. along with Wolf Creek and Crested Butte. Impressive! Rumors of tailgating in the parking lot for après ski festivities, security joining the fun and hard-charging ski patrollers are abound in the ski community and further add to the lure of the Taos experience. Like-minded people seem to gather at this sleepy resort. Combine the lax party atmosphere with small lift lines, steep terrain and plenty of hike-to-bowls and chutes it’s no wonder Taos is on many skier’s bucket list. This writer’s especially.
Although we arrived in the dead of summer you can learn a lot about a resort by the vibe in July. Taos will remind you of a sleepy Swedish town at the end of a canyon much like old Telluride. We walked the village and rode the chair to the top of the first peak which provided for some amazing views and wished we could have spent a few days. Ahh..wait! That’s what winter is for. Look for a follow up story once the snow flies.