Finally, chance to ski Taos, N.M.

I'll be in New Mexico this week checking out the snow there, which is supposed to be pretty good. We'll hit four resorts, winding up at the famed Taos Ski Resort, not to be confused with mountain resort. No need to change the name to accommodate snowboarders, who aren't allowed on the slopes there anyhow. I've never skied New Mexico and didn't even know the state has at least four resorts .

Weather forecasts call for fresh snow there Tuesday and Wednesday and again on the weekend. Too bad more isn't coming our way, although last weekend the trails were holding up quite well.

I skied Heavenly on Friday and Saturday and hit Boulder base Monday for a story. The ride up from Boulder is a long one on the Boulder chair, a fixed three-seater; the North Bowl Chair, ditto; and then on to either Dipper and Comet or to Olympic. Saturday, the slopes jammed up in a hurry, suggesting an early retirement. So I did.

Here's some of the action around the area:

KIRKWOOD

Time was when Kirkwood was a rugged resort for locals. But times change. Kirkwood's Valentine's Day Ski Package includes one night's lodging, two all-day lift tickets and a fine-dining experience at Off the Wall.

Couples can also enjoy other bonding activities such as ice skating, tubing, snowshoeing and hot tubs. For those seeking a more mellow experience, there are yoga classes; massage therapists and nearby hot springs.

The Valentine's Day Ski Package price of $297 is based on a stay in a standard studio with Kirkwood Vacations and is valid Feb. 13-15. Reservations are required. Snow conditions, resort operations and road conditions are at (877) KIRKWOOD or www.kirkwood.com.

NORTHSTAR

Northstar-at-Tahoe is introducing a new innovative signature terrain park feature. Skiers and riders will now have access to even more unique features.

The Seagle Car by Nike 6.0 is the action- sports division of Nike. The Seagle is two vintage AMC Eagles slashed, mashed, and reincarnated into the ultimate action sports vehicle.

Nike 6.0's new feature is in the terrain park on Pinball, off of the Vista Express chairlift. It is an 18-by-41Ú2-foot box feature that is a replica of the Seagle car Nike 6.0 is touring this winter. There are three entrances: two side takeoffs and a front takeoff that riders can ollie off and air to the roof or the back of the feature. All angles of the car can be jibbed, making this a unique addition. Signature features that are already part of the terrain parks include the Matrix, three-option stair feature, DC Shoebox and Dragon Octagon Box.

SQUAW VALLEY

Squaw welcomes all beginner and first-time skiers and riders to its Learn to Ski and Ride Days today and Sunday. The $35 Learn to Ski & Ride beginner package includes a single-day beginner lift ticket, equipment rentals and a beginner lesson.

When arriving at Squaw, beginners aged 13 and up should follow the green balloons to the Papoose Learning Center for level-one and -two lessons, lift ticket and rentals. Reservations are not necessary.

At the end of the lesson, participants receive a discount coupon for a level-two lesson, lift ticket, and rental package for $89 (a savings of $45 off regular package price). This coupon is unrestricted for level two and can be used on Saturday or any day throughout the season. Guests will also be able to use their beginner ticket to ride the Cable Car ride to High Camp and (if skill level permits) enjoy the mountaintop beginner terrain.

Call (530) 583-6985 or visit www.squaw.com.

sunset at DIAMOND PEAK

Last Trails returns to the Peak on Feb. 10 for one of the most pleasant end-of-a-snow day around. It's a chance to enjoy and sip wine and choice appetizers at the Snowflake Lodge perched up at the top of the Lakeview chairlift.

The idea is that when the lifts stop running, you grab a last chair to the lodge, settle down, and watch the sun go down over Lake Tahoe while sipping something tasty. After the sun's gone, you join the ski patrol for a run down a blue trail to the base lodge. If there's anything more romantic it's hard to say. Fee is just $25, and a steal.

• Contact reporter Sam Bauman at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.

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