Off-Slope Taos Offers Southwestern Warmth

On her third and final run—despite having already secured the gold on her first and second run—Kaya Turski threw down a switch 900 on the final jump of the run, a trick she's been working on for some time. "I could have just taken it mellow, but I decided to up it on my final run," she said.

Taos, NM, April 5--April at Taos Ski Valley means much more than great spring. Green chilies, adobe houses and a vibrant southwestern art scene, await visitors once they are off the slopes.

When skiing, however, don't miss the base-mountain scene at St. Bernard's deck at high noon. Over burgers and beers, you may meet a local willing to reveal a secret powder stash. You'll most likely meet up again apres-ski in the bar of the Thunderbird Lodge, where locals and visitors trade powder tales.

For a little culture after a day of skiing, head down valley about half an hour, or 22 miles, to the town of Taos. I like to stop into the Millicent Rogers Museum (505-758-2462) to browse a stunning collection of Native American artwork.

Strolling through the town's historic Plaza you will take in a variety of arts and crafts shops and upscale galleries. The vibrant scene turns my thoughts to food, so I head to Orlando's (505-751-1450) for traditional southwestern cuisine or to the Apple Tree Restaurant (505-758-1900) for a creative upscale take on local fare.

Finally, I never miss a visit to the Taos Inn (505-758-1777: $60-250). This historic adobe home of Taos' first physician Doc Martin, offers a Jacuzzi, fireplaces in most rooms, and the Adobe bar featuring live Jazz. The lobby, also know as "the living room of Taos," offers news on upcoming events like the annual Taos Talking Picture Festival on April 13-16 (505-751-0637). I can hardly wait to return, even though I haven't left yet.