New Mexico newbie, here, and boy it really lives up to its name “The Land of Enchantment.” My husband says it is the vastness of the desert and sky. For me it is the light. The sky shows off morning and night with expansive bluebird in between. Whatever “it” is, enchanting really captures it.
After recovering from the…wait for it…bomb cyclone blizzard (yep, it’s a thing) that hit Denver, Snow Happy family decided to take a last minute ski trip to Taos Ski Valley. New territory for us and the first time we have skied a new mountain in years. And, let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
We stayed in the town of Taos, which is a quick traffic free 30 min to the mountain – wait, I’ll say that again – a quick traffic free 30 minute trip to the mountain. Let that sink in.
There are lodging options for every budget between town and the mountain, which makes this resort (and overall area) family friendly. And, speaking of affordable skiing, there are endless restaurant options from a quick breakfast burrito from a food truck to pizza, a variety of Mexican and more. If you are a foodie or want a dining experience there could a dedicated post and trip for that!
We opted to stay at the Sage Brush Inn, a simple, but clean hotel on the South end of town. In included a basic breakfast and pool. For our 2 days of lunches on the mountain we (per usual) rolled brown bag (see my post on zero-waste lunches). But listen, they don’t have to be sad lunches! And, don’t forget the thermos for cocoa. Gosh, all kind of post ideas here. Apparently, enchantment is good for the brain.
Ok, y’all, when we pulled up in the parking lot of Taos Ski Valley, I was overcome. I don’t even know where to start. In front of me were spectacularly rugged peaks, dazzling white in the sun. Cars full of laughing smiling people…families, locals, young, old, ski team, storm chasers, ski bums, ski newbies. It was a like a vision of the Snow Happy mission from the jump. Then it happened. The shuttle pulled in our lot to take us the quick couple minute ride to the base. I’ll just drop this image here because, well, you’ll see.
Right?! By now, husband’s and my heart are singing with joy of the throwback, the laid back vibe, the contentment of being there-ness. What skiing “used to be” and we now know still exists if you are only willing to look.
We ride the shuttle of amazing-ness to the base where the nicest TSV staff directed all Ikon and Mountain Collective folks to their respective pass offices. We filled out waivers and got our 2 days lift tickets and off we went.
The village at TSV is just big enough: a handful of restaurants, shops and condos. Live music in the afternoons and plenty of Adirondack chairs for lounging.
You’ve been waiting long enough..time for the deets on the skiing. Killer. Awesome. Epic. Fun. Extreme. Bumps. Trees. Glades. Bowls. Hike to. Do you even need to hear more?! Oh, and no lift lines. By now, you’re asking does this place even really exist?!?
I can tell you, for sure, it does. After a few laps on the front of the mountain off Chairs #1 and #8, we took #2 up high, where we had access to terrain from greens to hike to. If you wrap around the mountain over to Chair #4, you can take the Kachina LIft to Kachina Peaks. Folks, this is where it gets real. Steeps and chutes not for the faint of heart or weak of legs. Let’s just say my husband and 8 year old son came back with huge grins on their faces and tales to tell.
The first night, the kids were melting after skiing their legs off so we decided to get a bite on the mountain, opting for Hondo Restaurant. They offered everything from soups, to salads, burgers, New Mexican dishes and good fries all at pretty reasonable prices AND with that genuinely service we found everywhere here. Night two, our foodie senses kicked in, oh and we saw a fresh squeezed margs sign, and we checked out the tucked away Sabroso in Arroyo Seco. Ambiance, service and delicious food and cocktails galore. We were even lucky enough to catch some live music. We were so impressed and will certainly make a trip back to this gem.
The Snow Happy team spent the better part of the 4.5 drive home Monday planning our next visit. With all the nearby attractions, including the Taos Pueblo, Rio Grande Gorge, art galleries there is much to experience!
I leave you with this: Go off your beaten path, find joy, and maybe even some enchantment!