Spring Skiing: Taos Style

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Written for:  The Gainesville Times

By: Michael Crowder

     Spring is in the air. My grass needs cutting, my nose is running, the trees are blooming and school is out. This can only mean one thingÖ Itís time for some spring skiing action.

     For the true aficionado the ski season never ends. You start specific training in September, by November the snow is falling and the slopes open up. December through March is prime time.  Then spring season goes from April to June. A month or so off and its time to start training again.

     Many skiers hang up the boards at the first sign of spring. April and May can provide excellent skiing opportunities with a little checking around. This seasons large late season snowfalls all over the country have many areas predicting ski seasons extending into the summer.

     The Pinkham Notch area of New Hampshire has had so much snow this season that several resorts are expecting to remain open until June. Arapaho Basin in Colorado regularly stays open until June and many years has remained open through the July 4th weekend.

     The southern Rockies is another region that has seen much late season snow. From A-Basin to Taos, N.M. the conditions are excellent. Taos is a wonderful spring destination. Access is most affordable by flying into the Albuquerque or Colorado Springs Airports. The town of Taos is an experience in itself.

     The architectural theme is a consistent scene of single story adobe buildings. The few larger buildings are only two stories tall and retain the southwestern adobe look. Taos is a still a small town by Eastern standards but is rich in cultural experience.

     Art galleries of all types can be found here. Ancient and modern Native American art is most predominant. The high tourist traffic and large number of well to do locals allows all forms of art galleries and jewelers to flourish though.

      Accommodations at all price ranges and all types of restaurants from Taco Bell to four star cuisine abound in town. Slopeside accommodations are available at prices comparable to most ski areas. The few restaurants available in the ski valley are quite expensive though.

     Taos ski valley is a true skierís dream. The first great feature is that no snowboards are allowed. No teenage kids who think that the intermediate slopes are an X-games event or beginning snowboarders scraping the powder snow off the trails.

     The next great thing about Taos is their excellent snow grooming capabilities. 100% grooming of all beginner and intermediate slopes allow them to provide excellent conditions every day. Every morning provides an abundance of silky smooth runs in the beautiful New Mexico sun.

     There is a very balanced mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain available. The rating scale is slightly stiffer here so be forewarned. There are better areas for the first time skier.

     Taos ski valley is still a predominately local skier area. It is not a super popular destination yet. This gives the place a down home feel and an uncrowded atmosphere that is hard to find in this day and age.

      If you enjoy winter sports donít let our beautiful spring weather distract you from frozen fun. Winter is as close as a short plane ride. Just do a little research and your ski season can extend into the early summer months.