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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.