That powder and terrain were exactly what attracted Ernie Blake to Taos. On May 15, 1954, Blake and a friend hiked to the top of what is now Taos Ski Valley where he found skiing nirvana: feet of deep powder and challenging slopes. Blake and his wifeRhoda officially founded Taos Ski Valley the following year.Today, the resort is still a family-owned business. Known for its abundance of steep terrain, Taos rates 51 percent of runs “expert level” and above, 25 percent are considered “intermediate,” and 24 percent are rated “beginner.”But newcomers and less aggressive riders fear not, especially when staring up at the mammoth-sized moguls on Al’s Run; Taos offers one of the top-rated ski schools in the country. In fact, the valley’s wildly popular Ski Weeks bring regulars and newbies together for six days of instruction. Ski Weeks are designed to buff up technique, but an added benefit is the spontaneous and long-lasting friendships that develop. Taos is known for its steeps, narrows, glades and bump runs. Hardcores can hike The Ridge to Kachina Peak (one of the highest points in New Mexico with an elevation of 12,481 feet above sea level) to find those cherished stashes of powder.And Taos welcomes snowboarders with open arms—the resort offers a variety of snowboard-centric events, including Women’s Snowboard Camp, which take place on various weekends throughout the season. Expert instructors offer daily snowboard lessons for riders of all ages.