The Best of the Taos Backcountry

Advanced ski lines in the snowy New Mexico mountains!

Charlie Boscoe



by Roy Luck


Skiing might not be the first activity which springs to mind when thinking about New Mexico, a famously hot and dry state on the US/Mexico border, but there's more for the snowsports enthusiast than you might initially think. The state is home to some sizeable mountains, with 26 peaks over 3000 metres and one (Wheeler Peak) exceeding 4000 metres. Those mountains house some epic terrain too, as you'll learn when you visit Taos ski area - a hidden gem for those in the know.

Taos is home to some great easy skiing, particularly on the lower part of the mountain, but it's probably best known for the superb advanced freeride lines starting from Kachina Peak and the Highline Ridge. We've showcased some of the freeride highlights in this guidebook, but even when you've worked your way through these lines (which will take a while!) there's still so much to explore in this underrated corner of southern America.

Elsewhere there are some excellent ski areas to be explored in New Mexico (Angel Fire, about an hour from Taos, is particularly good) and the legendary peaks of Southern Colorado are close by too!



A super-steep, better-not-fall-here chute off Kachina Peak.

Ernie's Run

A very long and isolated tree skiing adventure.


A wide black diamond with bumps and a few tree options.


An open chute that's very steep with a number of technical lines.


A long and steep couloir.


A long and steep couloir.


A fun and consistent chute with treed and open sections.

Billy Sol

A fun and private chute surrounded by forest.


A sunny black diamond with gladed areas and bumps.


Very steep, with trees, cliffs and great potential.


Long and isolated with steep and bumpy sections.