Rick Rappold serving a hot chocolate on the sun deck of the St. Bernard Hotel & Condominiums

Taos Ski Valley

Taos Ski Valley
(and Ernie Blake Snow Sports School)

116 Sutton Place
Taos Ski Valley
(575) 776-2291

Taos Visitor Info

The Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant
100 Kachina Road
Taos Ski Valley
(888) 205-8020

The Blonde Bear Tavern
106 Sutton Place
Taos Ski Valley
(575) 737-6900, ext. 6996

Edelweiss Lodge and Spa
106 Sutton Place
Taos Ski Valley
(800) 458-8754

Martini Tree Bar
116 Sutton Place
Taos Ski Valley
(575) 776-2291, ext. 2285

St. Bernard Hotel & Condominiums
112 Sutton Place
Taos Ski Valley
(575) 776-2251
Facts & Stats
Base elevation: 9,207 feet | Top elevation: 12,481 feet (Kachina Peak) | Vertical drop: 3,274 feet (including a Kachina Peak hike) | Skiable acres: 1,294 | Number of runs: 113 trails; 24% beginner, 25% intermediate, 51% expert | Number of lifts: 14 | Terrain Parks: 1 — Out-To-Launch | Adult full-day ticket: $75 | Lodging: On-site

Raised in Germany, Ernie Blake opened Taos Ski Valley in 1956 after serving with the U.S. 10th Mountain Division during World War II. From his plane, he spotted a steep snow bowl in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that reminded him of his native Alps. To this day, his family owns the ski area, located 40 minutes from Taos. The valley is king when it comes to expert skiing in New Mexico, and it holds its own nationally, too, claiming one of the steepest runs in the United States (Al’s Run, which boasts a 31.4-degree slope). The area’s highest and longest run — the 12,481-foot Kachina Peak — requires a 600-foot hike but provides a 3,274-foot vertical-drop payoff. Don’t let those numbers scare you; the Ernie Blake Snow Sports School is considered among the best in the country. New this year to the region, which has been open to snowboarders since 2008, is a shuttle service from the Albuquerque International Sunport ($85 per person round-trip) and the Pioneer Lift, which accesses a recently opened beginner-slope area. Many of the area’s lodging options, including the St. Bernard Hotel and Condominiums, are ski-in/ski-out for maximum convenience. After a day on the mountain, sip drinks fireside at the Blonde Bear Tavern or the Martini Tree Bar. You can also savor authentic German cuisine at the Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant or indulge in a massage at Edelweiss Lodge and Spa.

For kids: In addition to offering lessons for children age 3 and up, the Ernie Blake Snow Sports School provides Bebekare and Kindercare programs for wee ones too small for the slopes.

Pajarito Mountain

Facts & Stats
Base elevation: 9,200 feet | Top elevation: 10,400 feet | Vertical drop: 1,200 feet | Skiable acres: 300 | Number of runs: 40 trails; 20% beginner, 50% intermediate, 30% expert | Number of lifts: 5 | Terrain Parks: 1 — Crazy Mother | Adult full-day ticket: $59 | Lodging: Available in Los Alamos, Pojoaque and Santa Fe

Pajarito Mountain Ski Area
397 Camp May Road
Los Alamos
(505) 662-5725

Los Alamos Visitor Center
109 Central Park Square
Los Alamos
(505) 662-8105

Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance Road
Los Alamos
(505) 672-3861, ext. 517

Blue Window Bistro
813 Central Ave.
Los Alamos
(505) 662-6305

Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino
30 Buffalo Thunder Trail
Santa Fe
(505) 455-5555

Holiday Inn Express Entrada Park Los Alamos
60 Entrada Drive
Los Alamos
(505) 661-2646

Located in the Jemez Mountains, the area near Pajarito first saw skiing in 1957 when employees at the once-top-secret Los Alamos National Laboratory started using it. The mountain’s popularity grew, and today the area is open to the public. Pajarito, slightly out of the way, consistently has been praised for its nonexistent lines and diverse terrain. For those new to skiing and snowboarding, Never Ever packages combine lessons and lift tickets, while beginner packages and group lessons are available for kids and adults who’d like to improve. New glade trails have been cut because of 2011’s Conchas Fire, which also destroyed two now-rebuilt lifts. There’s a café at the base, and the city of Los Alamos has several restaurants, including the Blue Window Bistro. For lodging, try the conveniently located Holiday Inn Express Entrada Park Los Alamos, or drive 40 minutes to Santa Fe, where myriad hotel options, including the tony Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, abound.

For kids: The nearby Bandelier National Monument makes for a great hike to explore Native American ruins year-round.

New Mexico Tourism