Taos Ski Valley is the only ski area in the northern hemisphere to offer a week-long lesson program: Taos Ski Week. Featuring six mornings of lessons for a very reasonable price, a Taos Ski Week is a great way to take your skiing to the next level, get to know the mountain, and meet other enthusiastic skiers.
Many members of The Ski Diva have had great experiences at Taos Ski Weeks and do them yearly or every few years to tune up their skiing and reconnect with friends. We’ve drawn on the wealth of information they’ve shared on The Ski Diva forums to create this guide.
How much does a Ski Week cost?
As of the 22-23 season, a Ski Week costs $360. The Women’s Ski Week is also $360, and the Race Ski Week is $530. A private Ski Week is $1,540 and can include up to four participants. While a gratuity is not required, many people tip 15 to 20% of the cost of the lessons. You can check out the most recent prices at the Ski Week page on the Taos website.
The cost of the Ski Week is for lessons only; it does not include lift tickets, gratuity, or anything else.
Which season passes include Taos?
As of the 23-24 season, Taos is on the full Ikon Pass (7 days) and Ikon Base Plus Pass (5 days, with blackouts). The Ikon Base Pass does not include Taos. Reservations are no longer required to ski at Taos using an Ikon Pass. Click here for full information on Taos and the Ikon Pass.
Taos is also on the Mountain Collective Pass, which gets you 2 days at Taos and 50% off additional one-day lift tickets. Click here for full details on Taos and the Mountain Collective Pass.
Taos offers a wide selection of its own passes, with varying levels of blackout days, weekend access, and holidays. Get the full details on Taos pass products here.
Taos sells dynamically priced single and multi-day tickets. These have historically been just under $100 per day for midweek access and around $120 to $130 per day for weekends and holidays. These tickets are cheaper when purchased more than 72 hr in advance. As of late July 2023, they were not yet available for sale for the 23-24 season.
What is the format of a Ski Week?
A Ski Week is less like a ski camp, and more like a weekly lesson program condensed into one week. It includes six consecutive 2.5-hr morning lessons, which run from 9:30 am to 12 pm, Sunday through Friday. You have the same instructor and classmates each day, though students sometimes switch to a group or instructor that is a better match after the first day.
The lesson times are somewhat flexible after the first day. If a group decides it would rather start at 10 am, or if you miss a few hours on a given day due to a wind hold or similar, the instructors will do their best to accommodate you. It’s also fine to skip a day during the week, or start on Monday instead of Sunday, but Taos won’t issue any credit in those cases.
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Can snowboarders sign up for a Ski Week?
The standard Ski Week, Women’s Ski Week, and Race Ski Week are for skiers only. Snowboarders can sign up for a private Ski Week and form their own group of up to four participants.
What level of skier benefits from a Ski Week?
Every skier from an adventurous beginner to an expert can benefit from a Ski Week. Lower-level skiers will gain the confidence and skills to take their skiing to the next level. Taos has several areas of easier bumps that are perfect for intermediates who want to take that step, or plenty of groomers for those who want to focus on drills and technique. The steeps of Taos are a great place for adventurous intermediates to work on tactics and “adventure skiing,” and provide plenty of opportunity for advanced skiers to dial in technique.
Almost no one leaves a Ski Week without noticing some meaningful change in their skiing.
Do I need to book my Ski Week in advance?
Advance reservations are not required for regular Ski Weeks, and there’s no cap on how many people can sign up. You can book online in advance if you’d like, but online booking is often not available until the fall.
Private Ski Weeks must be booked in advance, by calling the ski school. You may request a particular instructor, and it’s not a bad idea to have backup choices, as popular instructors can be booked up as early as spring of the previous season. If you don’t have an instructor in mind, the ski school will assign someone who seems like a good match for your ability and interests. Payment must be made entirely on one credit card.
What is the best month to attend a Ski Week?
The best time of year to attend a Ski Week varies based on the terrain you hope to ski. If you want to ride the Kachina Lift to ski Kachina Peak, it’s rare for Kachina to open sooner than early February. For the best coverage on Taos’s many steeps – off the Kachina Lift, off the ridge, and elsewhere – it’s best to go in early March so the base is at its peak. If you’re happy to spend your Ski Week on groomers and bumps, January is a fine time to visit, with the added advantage of getting a skiing tune-up earlier in the season.
Ski Weeks begin in mid-December, and except for Kachina, Taos does its best to get all the lifts running by early January, even if there isn’t much off-piste open yet.
As with anything weather-related, this can all vary substantially by season and there’s no way to guarantee any lift or terrain being open on any particular week.
OnTheSnow has some average historical snowfall information for Taos here.
How do I get matched with the other skiers in my group?
On Sunday, the first morning of your Ski Week, everyone participates in a “ski-off” on the blue run just below the Whistlestop Cafe. The instructors stand along the side of the trail, and each student skis one at a time down the run. After a few turns, the instructor running the ski-off will wave you toward a particular instructor, which is the starting point for forming groups.
Once you’re sent to an instructor, you can discuss your ability level and areas you’d like to work on throughout the week. For example, not all advanced skiers want to hike, not all intermediate skiers are interested in working on bumps, some people want to push themselves, and some students are looking for a more relaxed experience. The instructors will work with you after the ski-off to make sure you’re matched up with a group that’s a good fit in terms of both ability and interest. It’s helpful to be able to talk about your past experience with lessons, where you usually ski, and the kind of terrain you usually ski.
While ability and interest are considered first, group chemistry – with the other students and the instructor – is also important, and can be harder to determine at first. If you feel that your group isn’t a good fit in any way, the ski school will be happy to move you into a different group at any point during the week. It is not at all uncommon for people to shuffle between groups after the first day.
The ski-off can feel stressful, but it really is just one factor that goes into matching you up with your group. The lifts at Taos open at 9am, so it is possible to get in a warm-up run before the 9:30 ski-off.
The maximum group size is seven (so that seven students + one instructor fill two quad chairs), but it’s common for groups to have only three to five students.
Instructors and students form groups during the ski-off. Photo by Meimei Ma (Ski Diva member MarzNC), February 2023.
Are there any specialized Ski Weeks?
As of the 22-23 season, Taos offers two specialized Ski Weeks: Women’s Ski Week, and Race Ski Week. Each is offered only once per season. Race Ski Week is often held in mid to late January, and Women’s Ski Week is often held in late February.
Race Ski Week focuses on racing-specific skills such as carving and running gates. Coaches with a deep racing background teach this week.
Women’s Ski Weeks are for women only, and usually have women instructors as well. If a larger-than-expected number of women sign up, or if several of the women instructors are booked for private Ski Weeks, it’s possible that some male instructors will participate. The Women’s Ski Week sometimes includes perks such as free demo skis and discounts at selected retail shops.
What are the instructors at Taos like?
Taos is unique in the United States for its culture of valuing ski instruction, and really does employ particularly enthusiastic and skilled instructors. Many of the instructors are PSIA Level 3 and have been teaching for 15 to 20 years or more. They have instructors of all ages, including several in their 70s and even 80s.
How flexible are private Ski Weeks?
Private Ski Weeks allow you to take lessons with other skiers at any level and schedule the lessons in whatever way works for you. When you book a private Ski Week, you’re essentially buying 15 hr of private instruction. Taos suggests six days of 2.5-hr lessons, but you can schedule things however you would like: three 5-hr days, four 3.5-hr days, and so on. You can even split the week with a friend and each get 7.5 hr of private lessons.
Is it possible to request an instructor for my Ski Week?
You cannot request a particular instructor for a regular Ski Week. For private Ski Weeks, you can, but do so early: popular instructors can get booked up as early as the previous spring. To request an instructor, either call or email the ski school office. The office closes over the summer, during which time email is your only option, and usually reopens around Labor Day. Ski school contact info is available here.
What do you work on in a typical Ski Week lesson?
Six mornings is a lot of lessons, and you’ll have time to cover a little bit of everything, tailored to the preferences of your group.
The steeps of Taos offer lots of opportunities to work on tactics, in terms of how to choose the best lines and approaches for steeper and more varied terrain. Skiing these areas with a seasoned instructor who really knows the mountain is a treat, as you often learn the less obvious lines and short shots that might not be on the trail map. For skiers at any level, taking runs at the edge of your comfort zone with an instructor is valuable by itself.
As with any lesson, you’ll also spend time on drills and technique, with some instructors taking video for later analysis. It’s great to be able to come back to pointers on edging, weighting, body position, and so on over the course of the week in different conditions and on different terrain.
With a maximum of seven skiers in a regular Ski Week group, you’ll get plenty of time on the chair to chat with your instructor, which can be a good time to get individual feedback and ideas.
Will I get to skip the lift lines in my Ski Week lessons?
Yes! Ski Week lessons enjoy line-skipping privileges on all the lifts at Taos. While Taos doesn’t typically suffer the crowding problems plaguing other resorts recently, it’s very nice to be able to skip the line at the base area on a powder day, and the line on the Kachina Lift on any day.
Did we miss anything?
If there’s anything you’d like to know about Taos Ski Weeks that we didn’t cover in this guide, start a thread in the Resorts, Conditions & Travel forum and ask! The members of the Ski Diva will do our best to answer any questions you have, and we’ll update this guide to include any new information that pops up.
Some of the information in this article was adapted from the following threads on The Ski Diva forums:
- Trip Report Taos Ski Valley (TSV) Feb. 5-12, 2022
- Taos 2022-23, conditions and latest upgrades at TSV
- Taos Ski Week, a 6-morning lesson program, 2022-23 notes