Taos ski valley

Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

Taos Ski Valley from Wheeler Peak

Location of TaosSkiValley, 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

Country United States
State New Mexico
County Taos
 • Type Elected city council
 • Mayor Neal King
 • Village Administrator Susan Steele
 • Total 2.4 sq mi (6.1 km2)
 • Land 2.4 sq mi (6.1 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 9,321 ft (2,841 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 69
 • Density 28.75/sq mi (11.31/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code 87525
Area code(s) 575
FIPS code 35-76480
GNIS feature ID 0899303

Taos Ski Valley is a village and alpine ski resort in Taos County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 69 at the 2010 census. Until March 19, 2008, it was one of four ski resorts in America to prohibit snowboarding; officials announced the change several months in advance.[1][2]

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

The ski area, Taos Ski Valley, Inc., is still managed by the founding family. It has a one to one ratio of expert to beginner/intermediate terrain, and has the highest rated ski school in North America.[3]


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 the highest municipality in the US.[4] This village itself sits at an elevation of 9,207 feet (2,806 m); however, the village limits reach 12,581 feet (3,835 m) with the highest residential dwelling being at 10,350 feet (3,150 m). Kachina Village, at over 10,350 feet, housing the Bavarian Restaurant and two condo complexes, is home to six permanent residents and can accommodate visitors in 30 condo units; 70–80 home sites are planned for development in this area. Wheeler Peak, the tallest mountain in New Mexico at 13,161 feet (4,011 m), overlooks the village.


In the 1800s the area was a mining town that was eventually abandoned. Present day Taos Ski Valley was founded in 1955 by Ernie and Rhoda Blake. They lived in an eleven foot camper as there were no buildings in the area except an almost-completed Hondo Lodge (now the Inn at Snakedance). Even after they moved 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 trail (Snakedance). In 1957, the resort installed a second lift—a Poma (platter) lift.[5] Blake was for a time very involved in the day to day management of the resort, even answering the phone and telling prospective visitors whether the skiing was expected to be good in advance of weekend trips.


Tourism is the main industry in the Village of Taos Ski Valley. The ski area and surrounding village have long been a popular winter destination. As of the 2011-2012 season Taos Ski Valley Corporation employed approximately 700 people during the 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 quickly becoming a popular summer and fall vacation destination as well. In 2005, there were 55 active businesses in Taos Ski Valley. The Village has many lodging options from hotels, private home rentals, condominiums to alpine styled bed and breakfasts. The town of Taos, located 30 minutes down the canyon, provides year round services.


As of the census[6] of 2010, there were 69 people, 272 housing units, with only 14.3% being occupied in the village. From 2000 to 2010, the Taos Ski Valley village population growth percentage was 23.2%. The population density was 28.75 people per square mile (11.31/km²). There were 272 housing units at an average density of 113.3 per square mile. The racial makeup of the village was 75.4% White, 0.0% Native American, 0.0% Asian, and 0.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24.6% of the population.

In 2000, there were 32 households out of which 12.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.5% were married couples living together, and 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.

In the village the population was spread out with 4.3% under the age of 18 (2010 census), 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 of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 166.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 155.0 males.

The median income for a household in the village 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.


Further reading

  • Rick Nathanson, “Taos Ski Valley Founder Happy To Add Intimate European Ambience to N.M.'s Skiing Scene” Albuquerque Journal, 15 December 2005.

External links

  • Taos Ski Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • 3dSkiMap of Taos Ski Valley
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