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author and husband, Nelson, at Taos
Taos Valley, enjoy Thunderbird Lodge
you think back to your last ski season, you remember all the good
times - great runs, bright sun and blue sky, a soak in the hot tub
and a hearty meal after a day on the slopes.
what you remember, because you are a good-tempered, easygoing
optimist. But think again. Was last season made up of just those
wonderful moments? Or were there others - lots of others - days
spent in heavy
to the hill, in long lift lines, in more lines in the cafeteria,
chasing down crowded runs, and again in heavy traffic on your way
the season was filled with less-than-marvelous moments.
You’re a diehard skier, so you put up with them to get the
worth-it-all highs. That’s life, you say; that’s reality.
listen to this: you can have hours - days - weeks of great moments without
usual hassle, if you sign up for a holiday at Taos.
right. Taos. New Mexico. Land of balmy weather, rolling plains,
pueblos and deserts. Land also of great skiing, because the Sangre
mountains are so high. At Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico’s major ski
area, you can ski Katchina Peak, which has an elevation of 12,481
think Taos, close your eyes, and imagine. No waiting in lift lines,
no crowded slopes, no snowboards. Only sunshine, long runs,
And evenings spent in a cozy lodge, sharing drinks and a
gourmet meal with other guests who are there, like you, for a
wonderful week of instruction, practice and pure fun.
may find it hard to believe this alternative to your usual ski
“reality.” We did.
We arrived in Taos Ski Valley on a bright, sunny morning in
early January 2003. Not one flake of snow was to be found in the
town of Taos below. As we climbed up the 15-mile drive to the
resort, we were surprised to see snow-covered vehicles on their way
we soon discovered why: a storm had left a foot of snow the previous
hit as we settled into our room at the Thunderbird Lodge -and with
good reason. The lodge was opened in the 1950s by Buell Pattison, at
about the same time Ernie and Rhoda Blake started operating TSV and
little has changed.
Taos Ski Valley remains one of the few family-owned and
operated ski resorts in North America. Ernie dreamed of a place
where skiers could forget the outside world and concentrate on the
also wanted guests to feel like part of a big family. The Blake
children and grandchildren carry on this tradition. Thunderbird's
present owners, Elisabeth and Tom Brownell, took over management in
1970s and have pampered thousands of guests for over thirty years.
Once visitors have tasted their cooking and warmed to their
hospitality, they usually return.
week staying at the Thunderbird Lodge and skiing at Taos is a week
to remember and cherish. In our hustle-bustle world there is little
time to unwind, forget the rat race and be good to ourselves. Even
vacations end up stressful: we set tight schedules and feel obliged
to cram as much as possible into a few short days. Things are
different at Taos. People come here to ski, eat, relax, share
friendships and sleep - in just about that order of importance.
Among the lodge’s amenities are an indoor hot tub, a
recreation room, live entertainment, and (if you just can’t do
without it even here) free access to the internet.
world-renowned Ernie Blake Ski School continues to turn out
satisfied skiers year after year.
Although my husband Nelson and I have skied for over 40
years, we improved our technique considerably after just 4 hours
with instructor Kent McGinnis.
Even beginners ski adequately after a ski-week with Taos
what’s more, everyone’s enjoyment of this wonderful sport is
to Ski Better” weeks are offered throughout the season for skiers
of all levels. Two choices are available: 6 days (Sunday-Friday) or
5 days (Monday-Friday). Many weeks are geared to specific groups:
women, teens, advanced skiers and a week of Masters’ instruction
for the 50-and-older crowd. For the Masters’ classes, specially
trained senior instructors ensure that you improve your skiing as
much as the other groups do. The
Ski Week” for advanced skiers provides instruction morning and
afternoon. The other three packages for women, teens and seniors
offer morning lessons, from 9:45
to 12:00. All of the packages include lift tickets, video analysis,
you hooked yet??
sounds like the perfect place, you say, but it must cost a fortune.
Guess again! There are two incredible kinds of bargain weeks at Taos
are all half the regular price between December 1 - 19, 2003 and
March 28 - April 11, 2004. Six days of lift tickets at half price
amount to $114, and add $90 for the daily lessons. Then look over
the Taos Ski Valley website (www.skitaos.org)
choose one of the many half-price lodgings for the week.
There you have it: a first-class vacation at an affordable
second kind of bargain is the “Free Lesson Ski Week,” starting
on January 4, 2004. When you purchase a 6-day lift ticket, you get
morning group lessons at no additional cost. For that week, the
all-inclusive package at the Thunderbird Lodge (lifts, lessons,
lodging, breakfast and dinner) comes to $1039 pp double occupancy.
Separate prices for a room and two meals comes to $770 pp
double occupancy, while a 6-day lift ticket bought directly from the
Ski Valley would be $288. Prices
do not include sales tax. Considering
the gourmet meals served at the lodge, these rates are quite
Thunderbird also offers a “Super Value Week” from December 13 -
20, 2004. Guests get 7
days lodging, breakfast and dinner for $700 pp double occupancy.
The full ski-week which includes breakfast, dinner, 6 days of
lifts and morning group lessons, is $990 pp. For other special
offers, see the lodge website (www.thunderbird-taos.com).
reservations, call 1-800-776-2279.
a week at the Thunderbird Lodge still seems too much for your
budget,you can find inexpensive lodging in the town of Taos. A motel
such as theDays Inn will cost about $50 on week nights and will
include a continental breakfast. This low-cost alternative is a real
possibility if you have a car for traveling between town and resort,
though nothing can compare with a week onsite.
are bound to fall in love, as we did, with this exceptional
resort,where excellent skiing, fine dining and warm hospitality are
the norm. Can you stretch perfect moments into hours, days and even
weeks? You betcha!
Taos Ski Valley general information: 1-800-347-7414 and
www.skitaos.orglodging: 1-800-776-1111 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
nearest major airport: Albuquerque NM (148 miles from Taos)
daily commuter air service Albuquerque-Taos Rio Grande Air: