Set high above an arid New Mexico valley, Taos Ski Valley is the most southerly of North America's major ski areas, though on good seasons the skiing, and snow can be spectacular. The resort manages to simultaneously receive almost 8m of snow annuals alongside more than 300 days of sun.
It offers some good expert terrain. There are numerous long steep runs through the trees, and many of the best runs require a hike from the top lifts. A whole half of the trails are graded as black of double black, plus an extensive range of chutes and other off piste. And there's enough to keep intermediates happy for a few days too. Beginners have their own dedicated area, though a lack of easy blues mean they need to be dedicated and willing to progress fast. Snowfall averages over 300 inches but because it is so far south, snow can be bad here when it's good elsewhere (and vice versa).
At the foot of the slopes there are a handful of hotels and condos with a strong European influence. Down the valley the traditional adobe town of Taos, with its art and craft galleries and shops, makes an alternative, and affordable base.