The best ski town in North America is in Northern New Mexico, according to a recently released USA Today Top 10 list, and it might not be the one most skiers and snowboarders would expect.
It wasn’t Taos, but Red River that finished in first place in the publication’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards list for 2021. North Conway, N.H., last year’s winner, finished second in the voting and Rossland, British Columbia, was third.
"The Town of Red River is honored to be named “Best Ski Town” in North America by USA Today’s 10 Best," said Red River Mayor Linda Calhoun in a statement to the Taos News. "Red River was voted #1 from criteria that included 'convenient access to the slopes, fantastic restaurants, bars and shops, topped off by great accommodations and a cool small-town vibe and/or a historical atmosphere.' Red River checked all these ... boxes. Our proud locals and loyal guests take pride in their love for Red River, and it sent us to the top. Not only did we score serious bragging rights, but this will also get us new eyes from visitors far and wide. We may be small, but we are mighty."
A panel of experts selected 20 nominees for best ski town in North America and readers then voted for the 10 best.
Red River’s short lift lines and its variety of ski runs were highlighted in the publication’s writeup on the town:
“Red River invites visitors to visit the ‘Ski Town of the Southwest’ and take a skiing vacation in this community located in the Southern Rockies just north of Taos, New Mexico. Their ski schools offer learning experiences for everyone, and the ski area promises minimal lift lines and fresh powder that lasts days after a storm. With an average annual snowfall of over two hundred inches, over fifty trails for intermediate, expert, and beginners, and Saturday night torchlight parades and fireworks, Red River offers the perfect getaway for skiers of all ages and expertise.”
Taos — which topped the list in 2016 — wasn’t ranked among the top 10 ski towns this year, but it received recognition in other categories.
The Bavarian Restaurant at Taos Ski Valley was selected as the No. 1 on-mountain restaurant in North America. The Blake, meanwhile, was chosen as the second-best ski hotel behind Viceroy Snowmass at Aspen, Colo.