We asked some of Taos' most avid skiers to share their most favorite Taos Ski Valley (TSV) runs. Here's what they said:
David Anderson, local goldsmith and born-and-bred Taoseño who practically grew up on the slopes: "Ernie's Run – it reminds me of my old favorite from way back, Walkyries, before it was turned into a glade run."
Adriana Blake, granddaughter of TSV founders Ernie and Rhoda Blake: "My favorite run is Longhorn, especially at the end of the day. Not that many people ski it, and I love the view from the top of the fourth pitch. It is a perfect spot to stop and appreciate the mountain and the quiet. Also, by that point, you are pretty out of breath, so stopping is good."
Evan Blish, qualifying broker, Piñon Investments of Taos: "My favorite powder run is Wonder Bowl – because the name says it all. It's a bit of a trek to get there, but it keeps the crowds down. The beginning is a beautiful glade run, which then opens up to a much more expansive, but steep bowl. Winding through a few trees at the end [keeps] it interesting before hitting the groomed slope of Stauffenberg and then onto the chair lift for another."
Christina Bruno, competitive snowboarder, Snow Sports School manager at TSV: "It's hard to choose just one run. There are so many special pockets of terrain at Taos, such as Werner Chute, Turbinator, Stauffenberg, North Face, etc. One of my favorite runs at TSV is Thunderbird Trees – there are some sneaky chutes if you're willing to explore and get a little adventurous – and plenty of fun drops. I enjoy the hike and the peace and inspiration I always find in West Basin."
Mary Droste, TSV ski instructor for 24 years who has quite the command of "skier-speak": With more than one favorite run, Droste begins with,"Bambi/Werner Chute anytime they open, and the 'conga line' is breathing down my neck on the ridge all the way to Oster/Fabian. Longhorn on opening day and pow daze [powder snow] and spring late mornings, Twin Trees [in the Kachina Bowl] when it's cold and Tresckow always. And just when my joints were saying, 'No more hiking,' a lift to Kachina. Anyone who hates on that just doesn't know how enormous it really is. The best descriptor came from a foreign friend of mine who said, 'You get on the lift in Taos and get off in Europe.' Oh, and the sheep [bighorn] – what a wonderful visual."
Gail Golden, jewelry maker: "My favorite runs are the Two Bucks off the Highline Ridge. If you ski to the right or left of the main run, there are some little chutes that stay untracked long after a snowstorm. I like going in there because my skiing partner and I are usually the only ones in there, and it would be absolutely still and peaceful. To me, it's the essence of skiing in Taos."
Dan Irion, Taos Mesa Brewing managing partner and events booking manager: "The West Basin. In my humble estimation, it is the area that exemplifies the 'Taos experience' – it's steep, keeps great snow long after storms, is seldom traveled [except by locals] and has to be earned with a short hike."
Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico (1995-2003) and 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate: "It's gotta be Kachina Peak. More than half is the hike itself and I really enjoy the hike."
Jean Mayer, New Mexico Ski Hall of Fame inductee and owner of the Hotel St. Bernard in Taos Ski Valley: "I cannot think – for obvious reasons – of another run but Jean's Glade! Maybe Porcupine as the traditional all-around Taos run."
Michael Wagener, owner of ACEQ restaurant in Arroyo Seco: "My favorite run is Pierre's, and the reasons are many. I love it because it is one of the hardest lift-serviced runs to find, it's extremely steep and technical – and I always find soft turns late in the day. I also love it because the icing on your cake is that you get to ski most of Longhorn afterwards."