Terrain, easygoing culture, no lift lines to speak of, great ski school, unpretentious
good beginner stuff hard to get to, limited night life
Taos is where I learned to ski (at the award winning Blake Ski School) and its casual approach, mild weather and dry powder are an unbeatable combination. The staff at all the places I have visited are pleasant and happy to have you there and I skied 14 days before Christmas and had great snow and no lift lines in 2008. I get back for weekends from time to time and would put Hunziker Bowl against most any other place I have been for uncrowded, fantastic terrain. Taos' southern location and altitude combine for dry snow and almost no days with super freezing weather - just watch the vino intake the first night while you adjust if you are staying in the ski valley. The St. Bernard is about the best ski hotel I have visited and their deck is the place to be on a sunny day. The only things I would improve are pointing out other beginning runs besides the cat-track laden Whitefeather to beginners (Bonanza is awesome for beginners, so is the big bowl Shalako on back) and maybe faster #1, #2 lifts if it were feasible. Don't miss this place in summer, either - the Rio Grande is great and the town is fun.....although the "party singles" scene is not a big draw.