The Taos Ski Valley Ski Week
There are two women on the chairlift, one from California and one from France. They are laughing together about something their ski instructor, Mugzy, said that morning. It might seem like an unlikely pairing, but these two women have been taking lessons together at Taos Ski Valley for years.
“We started here 6 years ago, we met in the first Ski Week we ever had,” says Julie, the enthusiastic Californian. “We’ve been coming back every since.” Valerie, the Frenchwoman, nods agreeably. “I had one Ski Week the first year, two the next year, three the next year, and last year we did six!”
The “Learn to Ski Better Week,” as it used to be called, is something of legend at Taos. It began after Jean Mayer showed up back in 1957, bringing with him the teaching techniques of Europe. “I came here and shared the idea with Ernie Blake, who right away said let’s do it here,” recalls Mayer. Taos then introduced the Ski Week, making it the first mountain resort in the U.S. to offer a week long, all-inclusive package. Through Mayer’s St. Bernard accommodations, visitors would get lodging, meals, lift tickets, lessons, and a lifetime of memories all in one convenient package.
Back then, that was what Taos for known for. There were few day-skiers, the majority being week long guests staying at one of the lodges in the Valley, like the Thunderbird Lodge, the old Edelweiss Hotel, or the St. Bernard. Ski clubs from around the country would ride Santa Fe Railroad to Raton, NM, where members of the Taos Pueblo would drive them across the prairies and palisades and into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, where they would arrive at Taos Ski Valley for a week of fun.
Other resorts adopted and dropped the program, but today Taos Ski Valley remains the only resort in North America to offer a “Ski Week”, or as it is called today, “Snowsports Week.” It’s a program that won’t be soon to die, due to the devotees like Julie and Valerie who return year after year. Many of the long-time instructors, like Jean and Mugzy, are requested months in advance to ski with returning groups.
“You only have an instructor for the first day you meet them, but after that, they are your friends,” notes Julie. “They are lifelong friends who you come back to every year.”
Learning to ski is an important component of the ski week but the true essence of Taos are the friendships and memories that are made along the way.
Check out one of the weekly programs, or look into one of our specialty weeks:
- Teen Weeks: 12/17, 12/24. 1/14, 2/18, 3/5, 3/11, 3/18
- Tele Week: 1/28
- Women’s Week: 2/11
- Race Week: 1/21
- Information here