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Travel destination in New Mexico

A Little Bavaria Alpine Skiing in the Southwest
by Maja Gartmann

Skiing Taos photoFor years, I have heard about Taos. Having skied a variety of resorts both within and outside the United States, I couldn't wait to get there and I was more than pleased to see for myself that Taos lived up to its reputation of being one of the world's most unique and picturesque ski resorts. Taos Ski Valley is one of the gems of North American skiing, with a stunning mountain setting in Northern New Mexico. Taos Ski Valley blends the warm ambiance of a small European-style village with the traditions and customs of the local Hispanic and Pueblo Indian cultures.

Although it has a reputation as an experts-only destination, Taos is an ideal choice for any skier, having loads of beginner and intermediate runs, and the nation's best ski school with the worlds’ best ski instructors: I wished I would have known this before, just one day skiing with Doug DeCoursey brought me more than years of skiing on my own - and I'm Swiss!. I couldn’t believe that just after one hour of instruction I skied down the moguls like an expert!

While many resorts have traded in their personality for large-scale development, Taos has preserved its soul. What sets this lovely resort apart from all other resorts is that it is still and will continue to be family-owned. Ernie and Rhoda Blake founded Taos Ski Valley in 1955. Ernie Blake had a dream of building an Alpine Ski resort and was looking for the right spot to do so and found it in New Mexico. They lived in an eleven-foot camper as there were no buildings in the area except an almost-completed Hondo Lodge (now the Inn at Snakedance). Out from this camper the Blakes began to build what is now a world-class ski resort. To this day the Blake family are committed to maintaining the character of Taos. So are the employees, Ski Instructors, Hotel-Owners, who ever I talked to has been working or living in Taos for at least more than 10 years. Almost everyone told me the same story; they came to Taos and didn't want to leave.

Taos Ski Valley hosts some superb lodges, The Snakedance Inn is Taos History in itself, being the first building that was in Taos Ski Valley when Ernie Blake was looking for his spot to build his own Alpine Ski paradise. This former Hondo Lodge has been turned into a luxurious Ski-in Ski-out Skiers Dream. It owns the best spot being right next to the Ski area. The Snakedance Inn offers 21 luxurious suites; each suite is individually decorated with designer Furniture, Fire Places, huge kitchen, Satellite Television, CD Player, high-speed Internet Access and lots of other additional amenities.

Bavarian Lodge Taos Ski Resort photoAnother Lodge that truly sets itself apart is the Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant. Thomas and Jamie Schulze created a storybook European Style Mansion right in the Taos Ski area. I forgot I was still in New Mexico when I arrived at The Bavarian. The Lodge is designed to look like a typical, cozy, romantic and luxurious Bavarian residence. The "oohs" and "aaahs" begin at entering the vast Restaurant where no details have been missed, the Bavarian style log dining room features 17th century Bavarian antique paneling. It's clear no historical detail is overlooked as you enter the warmth of the restaurant which features a genuine Bavarian tile oven, wooden chairs, original antique wall paneling and ceilings, nothing has been left out to recreate the true Old European atmosphere. The rooms are like mini-residences and own such names as the King Ludwig Suite, Neuschwanstein Lodge. Every room has been styled according its name. The King Ludwig Suite is named after King Ludwig I and King Ludwig II of Bavaria who were both passionate builders and lovers of romance, art and luxury. Named for kings, this luxurious suite has a palatial canopied king bed in the master bedroom, two single beds in the large loft bedroom and a spacious living room with a vaulted ceiling, a kitchen/den and an enormous marble bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub. The large sunny balcony stunning views of the Katchina Bowl.

There are various options on how to get to Taos Ski Valley, there are many direct flights from Los Angeles to Albuquerque from there you have a 2 1/2 hour scenic ride up to the mountain, other options are flying into Taos Airport which is just 18 miles outside historic Taos and only 20 miles from Taos Ski Village. © Bargain Travel West

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These articles are copyrighted and the sole property of Bargain Travel West and WLEV, LLC. and may not be copied or reprinted without permission. Photos courtesy Bavarian Lodge.

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