After moving from the Santa Fe area to Embudo (Taos area), about four years ago, myself and wife Kathy began working as ski instructors at Taos Ski Valley. Recently described in a ski mag as a “quirky” ski area, it definitely has it’s very own and very distinctive culture. It was owned and operated by the Blake family, and founded by Ernie Blake (nee Bloch), a German-Swiss Jew who worked for the OSS in WWII. Ernie gave the place it’s special character, and his descendants labored to preserve that character after his demise. His widow, Rhoda, still lives at the area, in an apartment that looks out at the base of Lift #1.
It was clear to me that the area needed some financial help, to remain competitive in the modern skiing era. Mountain and Village improvement plans had been approved by all parties. All that was needed was the money. But TSV (we were told) had always been run on a cash basis, avoiding debt. This made it easier to get through bad winters, but didn’t lead to enough accumulation of capital to embark on ambitious projects.
Now these improvement plans are much more likely to go ahead: a redesigned village/base area, a lift up Kachina Peak etc. What I would like to see is a much improved beginner area, that incorporates terrain park-type features that reduce fear in the learning experience. This is achieved by building counter-slopes that allow students to come readily to a stop. And, BTW, is all the rage now in official ski pedagogy. It’s called TBT – Terrain-based teaching. It’s a no-brainer. All that’s needed is sufficient very low-angle terrain (think Breckenridge). But that’s something that is in very short supply at Taos Ski Valley. And we’ve even lost some of that terrain to a snow-tubing run!
So … we’ll see what develops at TSV. I hope to still be skiing when some of the plans are realized.