Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
Taos Ski Valley, high in the Sangre de Christo Mountains a short drive from Taos, has been legendary among hard-core ski enthusiasts since its inception. The northern exposure of the slopes make it a natural "powder pocket" unique in the high desert of New Mexico.
Founder, Ernie Blake recognized the unusual opportunity provided by the location, terrain, and orientation of the valley as he flew his single engine plane over the Northern New Mexico Mountains in the early 1950's. The Blake family moved into an eleven foot trailer at the base of the mountain and began to build. Little did they know that fifty years later Taos Ski Valley would be a world class ski resort! Today it remains one of the few family owned ski areas in North America.
Though relatively small (1,294 acres of ski terrain) it is New Mexico's biggest resort. Historically known for its expert slopes and deep powder, over the years TSV has developed intermediate terrain to rival any area. Also, due to its excellent ski school, it is a perfect place for beginners to get started and improve their skiing.
Taos Ski Valley was one of the last hold outs as a "skier only" mountain. However, beginning March 19, 2008 snowboarders will be welcome to share the coveted experience skiers have kept to themselves. Taos has always been a family oriented resort and the fact is, most skiing families today have members who prefer to snowboard!
In the summer Taos Ski Valley is a cool escape from the lowland heat. Surrounded by national forest, it offers wonderful hiking, fishing, camping and other outdoor recreation. The Wheeler Peak Wilderness area, whose gateway is Taos Ski Valley, encompasses New Mexico's highest peak at 13,161 ft.
Taos Ski Valley was incorporated in 1996. The last official census report states the human population at 56. However, seasonal visitors and second home owners increase that number substantially. Although there are many more condominiums and single family homes than Ernie Blake might have thought possible, the fact remains that the amount of privately owned land is small in Taos Ski Valley and possibility for expansion is limited. The businesses in the Village of Taos Ski Valley are open year round providing lodging, restaurants, shops, lift rides, concerts and myriad other summer activities. The Ski Valley is also attracting more and more retreats, schools and workshops in the summer months.
Ski Magazine (January 2008) calls Taos Ski Valley one of the "next best places" and refers to its "retro" feel. Indeed, visitors who "discover" Taos Ski Valley are often reluctant to pass on the secret of their discovery. Change comes slow here and that holds a rare appeal in this fast changing world we live in.