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Destination: Taos Ski Valley

Adventure
posted: 01/23/2002

Top elevation: 11,819 feet; 12,451 feet (Kachina Peak)
Vertical drop: 2,612 feet (lift-served); 3,244 feet (hike-to)
Annual snowfall: 312 inches
Skiable acres: 1,150
Terrain: 24% beginner, 25% intermediate, 51% advanced/expert
Lifts: 4 fixed-grip quads, 1 triple, 5 doubles, 2 surface
Info: 800-776-1111; skitaos.org

Getting there: Most major airlines service the Albuquerque International Sunport, three hours from Taos. Rio Grande Air offers shuttle service from Albuquerque to Taos Municipal Airport for $100-$200 roundtrip (877-435-9742). From there you can rent a car.

Prices: Regular-season lift passes are $47 per day for adults, $37 for teens, and $28 for kids. Rates drop early and late in the season. Call before December 1 to purchase multiday tickets for $37 a day, good anytime -- even during the Christmas holidays.

Lodging: There are about a thousand beds in the Taos Ski Valley but only 300 added in the last decade; you'll probably encounter classic lodging. For upscale Southwestern-style digs 125 yards from the lift, try the Powderhorn suites and condos (800-776-2346). For a splurge, stay at The Bavarian (505-776-8020), Taos' only midmountain lodge, just yards from the base of the Kachina Chair. The other option is to stay in the town of Taos, 19 miles away. Check out Adobe and Stars B&B (800-211-7076), where you can hang on the rooftop deck to take in the 360-degree view or watch the moon rise. And for value-minded skiers, there's the Sagebrush Inn (888-450-8267).

Food & drink: Located in town, award-winning Doc Martin's restaurant boasts one of the most extensive wine lists in New Mexico. For live music, stroll down to Eske's Brew Pub, owned by a Taos ski patroller. Near the slopes, schuss over to Tim's Stray Dog Cantina in the base area for a steaming bowl of chili. Beware the green beans.



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