Taos Ski Valley, NM, Report: Confidence-Inspiring Steeps in Cold Sunshine

Martin Kuprianowicz | | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Brought to you by Taos Ski Valley

Report from Thursday, January 26, 2023

We showed up at Taos Ski Valley this morning and got straight to work. 

It was frigid and sunny—a great combination. 

Temperatures were in the single digits and winds were minimal. 

Strolling up to Lift 1 at the base area can be a bit intimidating; the first thing you see is a steep, 1,500-vertical-foot mogul field right off the lifeline, with more steep slopes all around it. 

But there isn’t need to worry because once you get to the top of Lift 1 you’ll find options for everyone, from fun winding green trails through the trees to hold-on-to-your-diaper double-black diamonds. 

The mountain has 13 total chairlifts that serve 1,294 skiable acres with 3,131 feet of vertical drop. 

You can leave feeling accomplished after a day of skiing here. 

Welcome to Taos Ski Valley. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

Currently 12 of Taos’ 13 chairlifts are open, excluding Kachina Peak, and the skiing is downright fun right now. 

We took a few runs on some pristine groomers from Lift 2 and Lift 4 with friends before going and dabbling with those steep double-black-diamond runs which Taos is world-famous for. 

We hit Longhorn, which feels like the longest double black diamond run in the world. 

It’s at least 2,000-feet of steep, Volkswagen Beetle-sized moguls.

Leg burner. 

Stunning day at Taos today. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

Later I snuck away from my friends and took the West Basin Ridge bootpack from the top of Lift 2 where an entire headwall of steep chutes was sitting there waiting for me. 

I had lots of options to choose from, from twisting gullies, a fat open face, or several tight chutes in the trees.

I opted for the tight chutes. 

A section of West Basin poking out in between the trees. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

Traversing along the West Basin Ridge I came upon St. Bernard: a steep, narrow couloir that snaked down to the left and then back around a cliff band to the right through the trees. 

I paused for a second and took in the views of the enchanting landscape that surrounds Taos.

What I saw was a fierce mountain range covered in white that was surrounded by unforgiving desert on all sides.

As I paused for a while, there was no one around me.

Not a soul.

Top of St. Bernard in West Basin. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

I had the zone to myself, which was a refreshing feeling coming from Salt Lake City where you’re rarely ever alone in best areas of the mountains there. 

After taking a deep breath I dropped in. 

St. Bernard. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

Taos reported 1″ of snowfall in the past 72 hours and  9″ in the past 7 days and I found that the snow in St. Bernard was chalky and smooth.

It skied fast and simple—making turns was easy and confidence-inspiring.

As the chute narrowed I increased my speed, forfeiting the opportunity to stop in the chute and sending it all the way through.

I came out the other end purely elated and the short powder field below St. Bernard was a wonderful reward. 

Steep and tight! | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

Later we went for lunch and brews at Rhodas where the tacos were absolutely delicious. 

Afterward, we winded down on some groomer laps on the backside like Totemoff followed by Bambi on the frontside. 

Then we carved down Powderhorn back to the base where we started working on our aprés.

I went back to where I’m staying at The Blake, a silver LEED certified 5-star hotel which uses geo-exchanged wells and ground source heat pumps to heat and cool the building.

It’s an extremely cozy and elegant spot to stay, literal feet away from Chair 1. 

Our first day of our stay was a beautiful success, and with more sunshine and easy weather on the forecast it’s likely to only get better. 

That’s Taos for ya. 

Screenshot courtesy of Taos Ski Valley 1/26/23


Screenshot courtesy of NOAA 1/26/23


Kaden ripping down Totemoff at full speed. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Kaden on Totemoff with a gorgeous backdrop. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Chair 7a. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Kachina Peak on the looker’s left. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Base area. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
The Blake Hotel. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
Happy people. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains
The best way to cap a day at Taos. | Photo courtesy of SnowBrains

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