Whole Life Magazine

February/March 2014

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Page 21 of 43

Red River's endearing charm makes it an ideal family destination, and it was perfect for someone like me, back on the moun- tain aer a several-year lapse.. Expert skiers will find enough challenging runs to keep them busy for a weekend, and there's oo- dles of beginning and in- termediate terrain for those still learning; ski school staff is patient and helpful. When nature doesn't supply enough snow, snowmaking machines work overtime to ensure the groomed runs stay amply covered. A fun evening outing is the "Snow Coach" to the over-10,000-foot summit restaurant. Chef Kai Dunbar at the Ski Tip will expertly prepare dinner for your group (dietary restrictions happily accommo- dated), escort you back to your chariot, then race down on skis with a headlamp to greet you on your return. Descending in the dark and finishing with a 360° snowcat turn is a thrill. It's difficult to bid adieu to this sweet village and friendly people, but returning to Sante Fe through Taos brings additional delights. e artsy town has its own unique culture (don't miss the Taos Pueblo) and is steeped in the mystical and spiritual. Time permitting, you may also want to head out over the Rio Grande Gorge to check out the Earthship sustainable community. e town of Taos is about 30 minutes from the ski hill, how- ever, so if you plan to be schussing, try to book at Taos Ski Valley. e ski area is the state's largest by far, with a wide variety of ter- rain and enough black diamond runs to please the most aggres- sive skier. ere's also plenty of glade skiing for those inclined to hike up and "earn their turns," but don't let that scare you away if you prefer greens and blues. Locals love to talk about newcomers so daunt- ed at the sight of the steep lower mountain that they'd turn right around and leave. Now there's a sign, updated to reflect the mountain's expansion, announcing: "Don't panic, you're look- ing at only 1/30 of Taos Ski Valley. We have many easy runs, too." But easy is rela- tive and I was glad I'd had a warm-up for their more challenging terrain. ere are plenty of din- ing options in the village, and the deck at the Bavari- an Lodge (which also offers luxury suites) is a favorite ski-in destination for lunch. Or take a shuttle up for a cozy dinner; in this cold climate the classic Bavarian menu is a hit with hearty eaters. Vegetarian choices are limited to spaetzle (homemade Bavarian pasta) and appetizers, but the hewn log building, Alpen ambiance and fresh apple strudel make it worth a visit. Servers wear lederhosen and dirndls and admirably recreate the ambiance of the restaurant's namesake, and in another classic example of New Mexican di- versity, owners omas Schulze was German-born, while his wife Jamie has Native American roots. As the sky turns crimson at the end of an exhilarating day on the mountain, or when you're ready to wind down aer a satisfy- ing dinner, don't be surprised to find yourself gravitating to com- fort and conversation—along with a glass of local cra beer, or wine from a New Mexican vineyard—around the brass fireplace at the St. Bernard. But you probably won't see Jean Mayer there. Having served dinner to his guests, his workday is finally over. Auslander Condominiums, www.auslandercondominiums.com Bavarian Lodge, www.thebavarian.net Blue Corn, www.bluecorncafe.com Hotel Sante Fe, www.hotelsantafe.com Hotel St. Bernard, www.stbernardtaos.com Il Piatto, www.ilpiattosantafe.com Red River Ski Area, www.redriverskiarea.com Rosewood Inn at the Anasazi, www.rosewoodhotels.com/anasazi Sage Inn, www.santafesageinn.com Ski Santa Fe, www.skisantafe.com/ Taos Ski Valley, www.taosskivalley.com/ photo: Denny Judycki 22 wholelifetimesmagazine.com WLT-FEB-MAR-1-30.indd 22 1/30/14 10:52 AM

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