As published in The Florida Villager
The smell of snow is in the air and the chill of winter is invigorating. Well, maybe not here in Miami but in New Mexico where Red River and Taos are gearing up for a fabulous season. Each resort offers something unique from the other. Red River reminds me of a western town and Taos has its Swiss/German charm.
My introduction to New Mexico skiing was in Red River. Driving into town I felt like I had stepped back in time to a small western town. Everything there is within walking distance to Main Street including the slopes. The slopes are geared for every level and at the end of the day, everyone skis down to The Lift House for an après ski drink (and great wings) to usher in the beautiful night sky on the deck.
After some local camaraderie I had my first ride in a snow cat, riding shotgun no less, up the mountain to the Ski Tip Restaurant for dinner and local music. Riding down the mountain with the town lights twinkling and the after affects of good wine and music, I was ready to snuggle under my comforter in front of my very own fireplace at the Auslander Condominiums.
Not to be missed is breakfast at Shotgun Willies. Don’t let the size of the establishment fool you as they serve up one whopping good breakfast that kept me full until I made my way over to Brett’s Bistro for lunch. From a mining town to a ski town, Red River is a ski destination you will want to experience. Along with downhill skiing, there is snow mobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and all the flavor a quaint western town brings. See you on Main Street!
Taos was my next stop and all I can say is, “So many trails, so little time.” Taos Ski Valley is known for some of the steepest and most intimidating slopes in North America. That being said, I am not a black diamond kind of gal and I skied some of the most beautiful terrain at my level. There are “powder stashes” here at Taos but unfortunately I am not at that level to head down those slopes so I lived vicariously through the skiers I watched head down Lorelei in a whoosh of powder. You can find your thrill on Strawberry Hill, which is one amazing tubing park, Telemark down the slopes or snowshoe on any one of Taos’ numerous trails.
After a full day of non-stop skiing I made my way to Hotel St. Bernard. Nestled on the ski slopes and exuding old world charm is an enchanting hotel named for the patron saint of skiers. I found myself in leggings, an oversized sweater and Uggs sitting by a big copper fireplace, hot toddy in hand listening to live jazz and watching the snow fall. Just when I thought a more idyllic place did not exist, I found myself walking through the door of the Bavarian Lodge and Restaurant. Furnished with European antiques, wooden beams and a Bavarian tile stove, I was overwhelmed with the warmth and coziness of it all.
The lodge sits at the base of Kachina Peak and one can get there by skis during the day and by car at night. The staff is dressed in lederhosen and dimdls, which only add to the charm. After a fabulous German dinner, I walked out onto the deck and into the stillness of the New Mexico night. Tomorrow I leave Taos and head to Santa Fe and a new skiing adventure.