Monday, December 12, 2011


Taos: The Perfect Winter Wonderland

One thing I have really enjoyed while blogging about family travel is getting to meet so many other fun traveling families.  I am always amazed at the incredible trips I get to read about.  One of my favorite blogs to read is 500 Places with Kids.  This family has an impressive goal of visiting each of Frommer's 500 Places to Take Your Kids.  I have enjoyed reading about their adventures as I have learned so much about the places they have visited.  

Luckily, I was able to talk them into telling me all about their favorite place to travel at Christmas...... 

Taos Ski Valley
I enjoy seeing new places, but it's always nice having somewhere familiar to go. For some, it's a lake cabin. Others, a beach cottage. And still others go to Disney every year. Our traditional family vacation is skiing over Christmas at Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico.

Why Taos? Because after spending several years in Europe, my mother decided I needed to have a 'white Christmas' when we moved back to Texas in the 1970s. The entire idea of needing snow to make it feel like Christmas is, I admit, a little odd. What happens to the people who live in the Caribbean? Or in the southern hemisphere? Do they still feel "Christmasy" even though it's summer?

Anyway, my mother decreed a white Christmas and we found the closest ski resort (a mere nineteen hour drive away) to spend the holidays. I had an unbroken record of skiing at Taos for 26 years, even corralling my hubby into the family tradition, before I got pregnant with my first son.

Our second son soon followed and we got them on skis (although in Vermont) as soon as possible. We tried to make a new tradition at Christmas (Mont Tremblant and Park City), but nothing seemed to work until we went back to Taos.

Taos St. BernardMy guys were in heaven. They skied to their hearts' content, played foosball with quarters filched from their grandparents, and passed out like sleepy puppies at the end of the day. And thus our family tradition was set - skiing at Taos over Christmas.

Taos PuebloOne of the additional side benefits to Taos is the Taos Pueblo.

The first time we went to Taos, we stopped at the Pueblo. Several of the residents keep their traditions alive and live as their ancestors did centuries ago. Others prefer a more modern approach and the nearby casino. Either way, wandering around the main pueblo area was fascinating, and an excellent introduction to the uniqueness that is Taos, New Mexico. At the pueblo we didn't feel comfortable going in and exploring. (Most of the lower levels are set up as shops anyway). It just felt rude. Like we were crashing into someone's home. So we contented ourselves with wandering the grounds and exploring the San Geronimo Chapel (no pictures allowed). It's a peaceful place and its quiet energy seemed to seep through us, giving us the strength for an awesome week of intense powder skiing.

Fifteen places visited, 485 to go.
500 Places With Kids


Lisa said...

Great family tradition! I never think of New Mexico as being a snowy place - love the shots of the pueblo in the snow.

Steve said...

I always wonder about people who go looking for a white Christmas, as we go to great lengths to avoid them. I'll make an exception for skiers though, and Taos looks like a beautiful place.