You won’t find a hopping après scene here, but that’s not the point. Tucked at 9,000 feet in the Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico, Taos Ski Valley is rugged and natural for the more adventurous inbounds skiers and boarders. You’ll have access to plenty of tame groomers over its 1,300 acres—though, more than 50 percent of the trails are rated to expert—but the draw here is the matrix of untouched bumps, rocks, and drops on unmatched hike-to terrain. That and the 300-plus days of New Mexico sunshine on top of 305 annual inches of snow. Trudge up to the Highline Ridge or 12,481-foot Kachina Peak for dozens of heart-hammering shots down steep chutes and over cornices.
DON’T MISS: Watch elite skiers and boarders catch big air and land flips on Kachina Peak at the Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships. February 28 - March 2.
GETTING THERE: Fly into Albuquerque and drive 2.5 hours north to Taos. The ski valley sits 15 miles into the mountains north of town. (skitaos.org)