Spring Break is on the horizon.
And you are thinking about coming to Taos for a long weekend of skiing and boarding, and of course, a little partying, but the recent avalanche on Kachina Peak has you thinking twice.
Don’t let one fluke accident stop you from experiencing one of the most authentic ski resorts in the country. Steeped in history, Taos is unlike any other small town in America. In fact it is so faraway from the everyday, you may find yourself wondering if you crossed an invisible border.
Ski holidays are so much fun in so many ways but they can also be a bit of a nightmare to prepare and pack for, especially these days when packing light is the only way to go, unless you want to pay the extra baggage fees. Winter travel makes packing it all into a carry-on even more of a challenge, and whether you are planning a trip for Spring Break, or just a weekend away from it all, it can be hard to decide what to bring and what to leave behind.
Our weather too, can be difficult to gauge – you might be expecting typical winter temperatures, only to discover once you arrive, our midday feels a whole lot different from the one you are used to!
I’ve put together a list of essentials, keeping in mind that unless you are intending to bring your own equipment, everything from boots to snowboards can be rented in Taos Ski Valley. The list is uni-sex and can be adapted for kids travelling with you too.
Who doesn’t immediately think sweaters when they think of skiing? Fairisle is pretty, but Irish fisherman have long known that cables in Aran knitwear, trap air and keep the body warmer. So pack that thick wool, cable sweater.
The next obvious packing essential is a good coat. When choosing one, it’s important to select one from a company that understands warmth. A waterproof, down filled jacket will be your best friend on and off the slopes.
But truthfully, the coat and bulky layers are not as crucial as the thin, close fitting layers that offer thermal protection. Warming layers that wick moisture from the skin, such as Uniqlo’s affordable Heattech line, are just what you need. Not only will these layers keep you warm, they take up virtually no room in the bag.
Add in a t-shirt or two, a nice shirt (or two), if you’re a guy, and a couple of pretty tops, and perhaps include a casual knit dress for a woman. And don’t forget a swimsuit for the hot tub. Women may want to pack a maillot instead of a bikini, to use as an extra layer/bodysuit.
There are several options when it comes to pants to keep you warm. You can layer a pair of long thermals under your pants or once again, check out Uniqlo’s Heattech leggings.
For women, thicker, fleece lined leggings will work off the slopes as well, as an extra bottom to pair with one of those nice tops, or under the dress. They also work well as pajamas with one of the t-shirts you included.
Pack a pair of jeans and even if you aren’t hitting the slopes, a pair of waterproof insulated snow pants can be packed for active days.
One thing you will find here in Taos is that the weather demands you layer smartly to deal with the extreme fluctuations in temperature, and a fleece or hoodie definitely has its place when packing for a ski weekend here.
Ski weekends aren’t typically about good hair days as they are about keeping your head warm. How many hats you pack is up to you. Again a chunky cable beanie will trap heat, but you may want a thinner one to layer under your helmet, It goes without saying you can leave the bulky hairdryer and curling irons at home.
Close knit cowls are more convenient for active days when you don’t want your scarf flapping around, but do bring a scarf along as well, if only to use as a blanket on the plane. Women may want to choose a sarong to do double duty as a coverup for the aforementioned swimsuit.
Gloves are another obvious packing must. Everyone knows that mittens are the better choice because they keep your hands warmer than gloves will. Again,a fleece lined pair will serve you well.
You don’t need a lot of shoe options for your ski weekend, but what you do pack should be waterproof, warm and have good traction. A pair of snow boots are a must-pack and while you could tromp around in a pair of boots like this all weekend, you may want to add another, dressier pair.
While Taos is very laid back and casual, lots of very stylish people live here, so there’s no need to totally sacrifice your own. Just be sure the extra shoes you do bring, have good traction and will be safe to wear on icy walkways.
Speaking of shoes, don’t forget socks! Thin, nothing socks won’t cut it. Smartwool socks will keep your feet much warmer than cotton and most people don’t know that merino also wicks moisture while keeping you very warm.
It’s a given that people will pack sunscreen on a tropical vacation but seldom think of skin protection when they go somewhere cold. You’re closer to the sun when in the mountains and every 1,000 feet in altitude will get you 10 percent more sun exposure and less atmosphere to filter. The bright, white snow is also quite reflective. You can actually get double the sun reflection from the snow, so don’t forget the sunscreen, and the sunglasses, particularly a pair that is polarized.
Pack a good moisturizer with SPF and lip balm as well as the sunscreen, and tuck some moleskin into your toiletry kit in case of blisters
Wear your bulkiest clothes like your ski jacket and as many warm layers as possible on the plane to save space. Use compression bags to squeeze bulky items like ski trousers and fleeces into a small package. Pack the rest of your clothes in packing cubes, which also help to save space and can double as laundry bags in a pinch.
Don’t forget your tech and chargers, although I doubt you’ll be using them much once you arrive. And if you forget something, it’s a great excuse to check out a few of our fabulous local boutiques.
Choose a good size tote or backpack for your personal item, and you’ll have room to spare for the treasures you are bound to purchase while here!
For information on how to get here (and get around), I’ve included a link to Taos.org, the official tourism site for the Town of Taos, as well as one to TSV, below this post.
All images stock files