Like many of the small communities that dot the mountain passes of Northern New Mexico, the Village of Taos Ski Valley was born from timber and ore mining.
In the 1600s, Spaniards extracted ore from the rugged terrain until their limitations caught up with them. The area was re-opened to industries in the early 1900s after new mining methods were invented.
Three mining companies were operating in the valley in the early 1900s and mining continued to be the primary activity until 1906 when it declined due to other limitations — this time because of the weather. The village sprung shortly after World War II when Orville E. Pattison purchased land in what is now part of Carson National Forest. To the south, the village is bordered by Wheeler Peak Wilderness.
Ernie Blake initiated the development of the ski area in the mid-1950s. Blake’s vision incorporated his European heritage.
In its 50-plus years, Taos Ski Valley has become synonymous with steep-and-deep skiing with every kind of terrain, short lift lines, tree-skiing and gullies, cheese fondue and German brews found at The Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant. A hot spot for aprés ski, The Bavarian hosts live music and events on its popular deck at the bottom of the breathtaking Kachina Basin. The Bavarian offers an array of authentic German fare and a compelling list of unique German beers.
Taos’ 12,481-foot Kachina Peak, which is lift accessible, is a playground for experts looking for face shots, moguls, cliffs, chutes, cornices and steep glades. And if challenging skiing makes your muscles quiver, that’s OK, because Taos Ski Valley has miles of groomed slopes. Beginners will be pleased to discover they can experience all the iconic views of the valley, since the green runs aren’t relegated to the bottom of the mountain. First timers also have ample facilities and “learn to ski” zones located at the base of the mountain, taught by some of the best in the biz.
Taos Ski Valley has been undergoing a renaissance of sorts since billionaire hedge fund conservationist Louis Bacon purchased the resort in 2013, including The Blake 80-room hotel, new gondolas, a high-speed lift completed this fall, restoration of the Río Hondo, new air service and future condominium construction. The upgraded mountain of Taos Ski Valley’s one-of-a-kind-old-world meets New Mexico atmosphere.
The slopes aren’t just for skiing and boarding; sledding and tubing is a family favorite at Taos Ski Valley.
Opening day is Nov. 22 and closing weekend is April 6-7, 2019. The New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks display is a year-stopping and starting spectacle. Beer lovers won’t want to miss the annual Brewmasters Festival on Dec. 15. Other special events include the Not Forgotten Outreach Week honoring military families on Jan. 22-27; the Winter Wine Festival Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, 2019; Shred the Love breast cancer fundraising events on Feb. 23; the Taos Freeride Championships from Feb. 26 to March 2, 2019; TSV founder Ernie Blake’s Birthday Celebration and Fireworks on March 9; and the Ridge-A-Thon on March 15-16, 2019, to name a few.
For more information about Taos Ski Valley and upcoming events, visit skitaos.com.
Season dates: Nov. 22, 2018-April 7, 2019
Average annual snowfall: 300 inches
Average days of sunshine: 300+
Total acreage: 1,294 acres
Number of trails: 110 total
51 percent expert
25 percent intermediate
24 percent beginner
Number of Lifts: 14 total
1 high-speed quad chair
4 quad chairs
3 triple chairs
1 double chair
4 surface lifts
Base elevation: 9,200 feet
Summit (Kachina Peak) elevation: 12,481 feet
Vertical drop: 3,281 feet
Uphill capacity: More than 15,000 skiers per hour
Snowmaking capabilities: 100 percent of beginner and intermediate slopes
Hours of lift operation: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Information: (866) 968-7386; skitaos.com
Taos Ski Valley special events
Nov. 22: Opening Day, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Dec. 8: Christmas Tree Lighting at the Plaza, 3-7 p.m.
Dec. 14-15: Public Demo Days (base area of Lift No. 1), 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Dec. 15: Annual Christmas Tree Lighting (TSV Plaza), 3:30 p.m.
Dec. 15: 23rd Annual Brewmasters Festival, 4:30-7 p.m. (21 and older event)
Dec. 22-23: Holiday Market (TSV Plaza), 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (On Dec. 23, Santa’s little helpers anticipate Santa’s arrival in the early afternoon timeframe for pictures)
Dec. 29-30: Holiday Market (TSV Plaza), 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks, 5:30 p.m.-midnight
Jan. 11-13: Femme de Freeride, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Jan. 22-27: 6th Annual Not Forgotten Appreciation Week, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Jan. 26-27: U.S. Ski Mountaineering Nationals
Jan. 31-Feb. 3: Winter Wine Festival
Feb. 6-10: Junior Freeride (West Basin)
Feb. 14: B-Corp Celebration
Feb. 23: Shred the Love (K2 Bumps Challenge and Paint for Peaks)
Feb. 26-March 2: Taos Freeride Championships
March 9: Rally in the Valley by FITaos
March 9: Ernie Blake’s Birthday Celebration and Fireworks
March 15-16: Ridge-A-Thon
March 22-24: USSA Southern Series Championships
April 6-7: Closing Weekend