A premier resort with 113 trails and a peak elevation of 12,481 feet, Taos Ski Valley was conceived at an even higher elevation: in the sky above the New Mexico peaks. While flying his Cessna 170 from Santa Fe Ski Basin to a Southern Colorado resort where he worked, Ernie Blake would scour the peaks for an area that could suit his dream of opening his own ski resort. He eventually found the right spot—a snow basin so perfectly formed that he at first thought it was an "optical illusion," he reported in Ski Pioneers—and, in 1955, he and his family began grooming the terrain that would eventually become a world-class resort.
With a base elevation of 9,207 feet, the resort makes it difficult for storm systems to pass by without dumping some fresh powder. The mountain records an annual snowfall of 305 inches without sacrificing consistently navigable conditions; the sun shines on the slopes more than 300 days each year. The slopes present skiable terrain for all levels, though they skew towards more experienced skiers, comprising 50% expert-level terrain and 50% suitable for beginners and intermediates.
In the summer, the melting snow gives way to a new landscape for outdoor recreation. The same slopes host heart-stopping mountain bike races, serviced by the lifts, as well as a disc-golf course. Scenic chairlift rides take guests gliding to the top of the mountain, where they can enjoy views of Wheeler Peak, West Basin Ridge, and the colorful blotches of wildflowers. Picnic tables await at the summit, providing a venue for alfresco dining or practicing Bigfoot calls.