Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

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Taos Ski Valley
Taos Ski Valley from Wheeler Peak
Taos Ski Valley from Wheeler Peak
Location of Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
Location of Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
Taos Ski Valley is located in the United States
Taos Ski Valley
Taos Ski Valley
Location in the United States
Taos Ski Valley is located in New Mexico
Taos Ski Valley
Taos Ski Valley
Location in New Mexico
Coordinates: 36°35′52″N 105°26′42″W / 36.59778°N 105.44500°W / 36.59778; -105.44500Coordinates: 36°35′52″N 105°26′42″W / 36.59778°N 105.44500°W / 36.59778; -105.44500
CountryUnited States
StateNew Mexico
 • TypeElected city council
 • MayorNeal King
 • Village AdministratorSusan Steele
 • Total2.85 sq mi (7.39 km2)
 • Land2.85 sq mi (7.39 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
9,321 ft (2,841 m)
 • Total69
 • Estimate 
 • Density24.89/sq mi (9.61/km2)
Time zoneUTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)575
FIPS code35-76480
GNIS feature ID0899303
Vertical  3,281 feet (1,000 m)
Top elevation12,481 feet (3,804 m)
Base elevation  9,200 feet (2,804 m)
Skiable area1,294 acres (5.24 km2)
Runs110 total
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg - 24% beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg - 25% intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg - 51% advanced
Lift system14 lifts:
1 gondola lift,
1 double lift,
4 triple lifts,
4 quad lifts,
4 surface lifts
Terrain parks2
Snowfall300 inches (25.0 ft; 7.6 m)

Taos Ski Valley is a village and alpine ski resort in the southwestern United States, located in Taos County, New Mexico. The population was 69 at the 2010 census. Until March 19, 2008, it was one of four ski resorts in America to prohibit snowboarding.[3][4] The Kachina lift, constructed in 2014, serves one of the highest elevations of any triple chair in North America, to a peak of 12,481 feet (3,804 m) above sea level.[citation needed]

The village was originally settled by a group of miners in the 1800s, but in 1955, Ernie and Rhoda Blake founded the area as a ski mountain.[5][6] The village was incorporated in 1996.

In 2013, Taos Ski Valley, Inc., was sold by the founding family to billionaire conservationist Louis Bacon.[7] It has 110 trails with 24% Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svgbeginner, 25% Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svgintermediate, and 51% Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svgadvanced/expert. The Ernie Blake Snowsports School is one of the highest rated ski schools in North America.[8]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2), all land.

Taos Ski Valley is one of the highest municipalities in the US,[9] sited at an elevation of 9,321 feet (2,841 m); however, the village limits reach 12,581 feet (3,835 m) and the highest residential dwelling is at 10,350 feet (3,155 m). Kachina Village, also at over 10,350 feet, houses Bavarian Restaurant and two condo complexes and accommodates six permanent residents and visitors in 30 condo units; 70–80 home sites are planned for development. Wheeler Peak, the tallest mountain in New Mexico at 13,161 feet (4,011 m), overlooks the village.


In the 1800s, present-day Taos Ski Valley was the site of a small copper mining town called Twining, New Mexico, though it was later abandoned. Present day Taos Ski Valley was founded in 1955 by Ernie and Rhoda Blake. They lived in an eleven-foot camper in the absence of any buildings in the area except almost-completed Hondo Lodge (now Snakedance Condominiums). Even after moving into the lodge, they lived without power until 1963. Ernie and Rhoda had been living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ernie was managing the Santa Fe Ski Basin.

The first ski lift, a J-bar, was installed in 1956. Until 1957, the ski resort featured only one ski slope, Snakedance. In 1957, the resort installed a second lift—a Poma (platter) lift.[10] Blake was for a time involved in the day-to-day management of the resort, answering the phone and telling prospective visitors whether the skiing was expected to be good in advance of weekend trips.

In December 2013, the billionaire Louis Bacon purchased Taos Ski Valley from the Blake family, who had owned it since 1954.[11]

In 2018, Taos Ski Valley, Inc. started Taos Air, a virtual airline which operates scheduled public air charter service at Taos Regional Airport during ski season. Taos Air began operations to destinations in Texas, offering shuttle service between the airport and the resort, with the Town of Taos providing terminal access, marketing, de-icing service, and a hangar.[12][13] In 2020, destinations in California were added.[14]


Tourism is the village's main industry. As of the 2011–2012 season Taos Ski Valley Corporation employed approximately 700 people during winter months. In an average year $47 million are spent in the local economy of Taos Ski Valley. About $12 million is from ski operations alone. The community is a popular summer and fall vacation destination.[citation needed] In 2005, 55 businesses operated in Taos Ski Valley. Lodging options include hotels, private home rentals, condominiums and alpine styled bed and breakfasts. The town of Taos, located 30 minutes drive down the canyon, provides year-round services.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)71[2]2.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

As of the 2010 census,[16] the Village held 69 people and 272 housing units, with only 14.3% occupied. From 2000 to 2010 population increased 23.2%. The population density was 28.75 inhabitants per square mile (11.10/km2). The racial makeup was 75.4% White and 24.6% Hispanic or Latino.

In 2000, 12.5% of 32 households had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.5% were married couples living together, while 59.4% were non-families. 46.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 3.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.75 and the average family size was 2.46.

Only 4.3% were under age 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 33.9% from 25 to 44, 50.0% from 45 to 64, and 1.8% who were 65 years or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females, there were 166.7 males. The ratio of males to females was 1.66.

The median household income was $67,708, and the median income for a family was $103,422. Males had a median income of $65,833 versus $24,375 for females. The per capita income for the village was $43,143. None of the population were below the poverty line.


Almost all of the CDP is within Taos Municipal Schools, with a very small remainder in Questa Independent Schools.[17] The former operates Taos High School.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ "SkiTaos (official website)".
  4. ^ "Taos Ski Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center (official website)". Retrieved 2007-12-13.
  5. ^ Gordon, Paul (October 1966). "Taos: the kingdom of Blake". Skiing. p. 82.
  6. ^ "I abolished lift lines!". Skiing. (advertisement). October 1966. p. 44.
  7. ^ Jason BlevinsThe Denver Post. "Blakes sell Taos Ski Valley to billionaire conservationist Louis Bacon". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  8. ^ New Mexico Magazine, October 2006, Volume 84, Number 10
  9. ^ "About Taos Ski Valley". Taos Ski Valley Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
  10. ^ [1] Archived February 17, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Rohwedder, Cecilie (April 24, 2014). "Louis Bacon Tries to Turn Around Taos Ski Valley". WSJ. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  12. ^ Moya, Jesse. "New charter flight service for Texas skiers generates buzz". taosnews.com. The Taos News. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  13. ^ Moya, Jesse. "Taos Council OKs liquor license, property transfer and revises Taos Air". taosnews.com. The Taos News. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Taos Air launching round-trip flights to LA and Carlsbad, Calif". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque, New Mexico. 20 November 2019. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  17. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Taos County, NM" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2022-07-12.

Further reading[edit]

  • Beardsley, Davis Associates (1973). Taos Ski Valley: Kachina Village Master Plan
  • Carson National Forest (1981). Taos Ski Valley Master Development Plan: Environmental Impact Statement, USFS
  • Flannery, Nathaniel. "Colorado Hedge Fund Billionaire Louis Bacon Buys Taos, New Mexico, Ski Resort". Forbes. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  • Jordan, Louann C. (1978). The Legend of Taos Ski Valley
  • Needham, Richard (2006). "Ernie Over Easy" Skiing Heritage Vol 18 #4:13-17
  • Nathanson, Rick. "Taos Ski Valley Founder Happy To Add Intimate European Ambience to N.M.'s Skiing Scene". Albuquerque Journal, December 15, 2005.

External links[edit]