Next stop on my adventure was Taos. Some of my friends had rented a cabin and asked me to head up. I was still in college and in order to fit it into my crazy schedule, I left at 10:30 pm, drove straight through the night and arrived there about 5:30 am, slept for a few hours and I was ready to go!
Now, let me just say, learning to snowboard is HARD. When they tell you you’re going to spend half the day on your a$$… they aren’t kidding. One of my clients suggested I take the free half a day lesson offered at Sipapu with a lift ticket and I’m sure glad I did.
Sipapu was a great place to learn, it’s a small mountain and not very crowded, mostly frequented by locals, not too many skiers to dodge (which is great since I wasn’t really steering LOL), the cabins are cozy and backed up next to a stream. It was literally 100 yards from the cabin to the lift, so that was pretty great too. After literally spending half a day on my butt, I was ready to go all over. Sipapu has plenty of trails for a couple days and by the end I was hitting the blacks.
Once we were done here, we headed to the Manby Hot Springs in the Rio Grande Gorge, these are my favorite springs because its such a natural setting. Its a short (1.5 mile) hike down into the gorge with great views, the water is warm (98 degrees or so) in one springs and a little cooler in the other but still a great stop in the winter. I’ve since been back again and if you hike in early enough, you might be able to get the springs to yourself. There is a slight chance you might get to see some nudity, so be prepared. The chilly water in the Rio Grande felt like it was 40 degrees. The toughest part is getting out and redressed before freezing to death.
Overall, Taos is one of my favorite places, it has plenty of options for snowboarding and skiing, most popularly known is in Angelfire and Taos Ski Valley. Taos has great views, and an eclectic culture. The mountains are smaller than Colorado, but beautiful none the less. After spending some time here, I have felt comfortable snowboarding anywhere else. It was a great location to learn, and a wonderful meeting spot for all my southwestern friends.