An Ode to Taos

How an iconic ski town’s steeps and chimichangas entice skiers.
Taos Ski Valley's Trees

Euphoric giddiness overtakes my legs and tingles all the way up to the top of my head as I drop into ten inches of fresh. Outside of my narrowly focused powder elation, I hear hoots and hollers from my friends as we zig and zag around perfectly spaced pines.

Last year, after a storm cycle dropped over 25 inches of the white stuff, I followed a bearded local. He led me to Lorelei Trees, one of the most distinctive runs I’ve ever skied.

Taos, located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range and where I discovered Lorelei Trees, can be described as just that—distinctive.

From steep and technical terrain that offers a mecca of playful skiing for experts, to the tiny local restaurants such as La Cueva Café, which serves up the best mango chimichanga this side of the border, Taos exudes individuality. 

When billionaire conservationist Louis Bacon purchased Taos last year, it was one of the last remaining family-owned ski areas. This season, a new lift spanned to the top of Kachina Peak, previously only accessible via a 45-minute hike.

I’ve stared at delicious lines etched along the face of Kachina in hopes of swooshing down them someday, but each time I have visited Taos, the terrain has been closed due to avalanche mitigation.

But Taos is so much more than the iconic Kachina Peak.

To me, Taos is hiking up to the West Basin Ridge and dropping into the narrow chutes of the face. It’s grabbing a bowl of hot chili and spiced mulled wine by the fireplace at the St. Bernard. It’s the artistic hobbit-style houses on the outskirts of town. It’s the feeling of exploring an incredibly authentic mountain with a group of friends that are just as passionate about skiing as I am.

As growth takes hold and moves Taos into a new era, the future of the resort seems to be in constant debate

But as long as I can still dive into the heavenly bliss that is the Lorelei Trees and come out smiling while high-fiving my friends after a day of leg-burning skiing, Taos will remain a distinctive place to me. 

Tucker Vest Burton is a veteran ski racer who decided to give freeride competition a shot, and keeps searching for secret stashes. She works in the communications department at Aspen Skiing Company. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @Tucker_Vest.


Taos Ski Valley | Photo: Ryan Heffernan

Selling the Mystique

Taos Ski Valley has been a purist’s dream—a hardcore skier’s mountain run by a family that hiked the steeps and resisted corporate schlock. But with a new owner and big developments on the horizon, can this sacred space hold on to that authentic soul?


The Day Taos Opened to Boarders

On March 19, a.k.a. T-Day, Taos Ski Valley officially opened its slopes to snowboarding. Skiing Magazine sent one skier, dressed him as a knuckle dragger, and waited for the punches to fly.

Big backflip

Taos Extreme Freeride Championship

Taos reported 36 inches of snow just in time for the Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships, a big-mountain competition taking place this weekend. Friday's comp was held on West Basin, a zone full of steep rocky chutes and huge airs. Only one dilemma: Sit in the sun, soak up the vibe, and watch back flip after front flip or go shred the 36 inches of fresh? Difficult decisions down here in Taos.

27.  Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

Taos Ski Valley

1,294 acres of fall-away chutes, spacious glades, and pillowy moguls, with extra rewards if you’re willing to hike Kachina Peak