Taos to Open to Snowboarding

27. Taos Ski Valley, NM

After five decades of being one of the few remaining mountains open exclusively to skiers, New Mexico's Taos Ski Valley announced this week they're going to change history. Taos will invite snowboarders to its slopes beginning March 19, 2008.

"It's something we've been talking about forever, said Adriana Blake, marketing director and granddaughter of the founder of Taos Ski Valley. "We made the true decision in July 2007, but the change has been something we have discussed constantly.

Why March? That's Taos founder's Ernie Blake's birthday. "In a way it's ending one era and beginning another, and also incorporating his birthday into the celebration, Adriana said. The fourth weekend in March will be one of celebration: a fireworks display, torchlight parade, and music. And don't forget about the pond skimming championship, which promises to be a spectacle with an 80-foot pool of ice-cold water.

Not only is it the founder's birthday, but March also gives the Taos staff two and a half weeks to test run the addition of snowboarders before they end their 2007-2008 season. "You think you know everything that's going to happen but really you don't, Adriana said. "It gives us three weeks to see what the issues are with the additional traffic and deal with that over the summer.

Since its opening in 1955, Taos has been a family resort. Many of the first employees at Taos still work there, including Jean Mayer, the technical director of the ski school, who began in 1958 and Walter Ruegg, head of lift maintenance since 1967.

The staff at Taos met this week to tell their staff about the decision. "The staff was shell-shocked at first, Adriana said. "It's kind of sad because we're ending what we've been doing for a really long time. But after the shock settled, our staff was like 'bring it on.'

The community has been buzzing about the news. Linda Mogetz, one of the owners of The Boot Doctors, said she was happy to hear Taos is inviting snowboarders. She's been trying to persuade the resort to include snowboarders for the last 10 years. "Even people who are just there for skiing are happy because they realize that it's going to be better for the community, Mogetz said. "Because if one person in the family snowboards, the family won't come to Taos.

Many of the people in the community are ready for the change, Adriana said. "We're ready for this, we're psyched for this change and we're ready to share the mountain with everybody, Adriana said. "I almost wish we could have snowboarders this weekend because of all the snow we got this week.



The Day Taos Opened to Boarders

On March 19, a.k.a. T-Day, Taos Ski Valley officially opened its slopes to snowboarding. Skiing Magazine sent one skier, dressed him as a knuckle dragger, and waited for the punches to fly.

Skier Emanuel Hedvall boosting next to a snowboarder retaining wall. Read the full article here.

Snowboarding Taos (Gallery)

Photos from the day Taos opened to snowboarders.

This sign is posted at the base area to comfort cowering beginners who stare two black diamonds in the face as they load the chair. It's incredibly cliche, but every time I see it I chuckle.

Taos Ski Valley - Opening Day 2009-2010 Season

Taos Ski Valley kicked off its 2009-2010 season on Thanksgiving with one of their biggest openings ever. It's game on for the best terrain the Southwest has to offer. Enjoy a few shots captured from the day.

Located on the West Ridge at Taos, the Elevator Chutes are often home to extreme freeskiing competitions. Elevator and the other chutes on the West Ridge showcase Taos' toughest terrain, which would be a feat on any resort, but Taos has been ranked consistently by SKI and Skiing magazines for having some of the steepest terrain in North America.  Taos' steepness requires more snow, as well. Locals go by the "75-inch rule" where the base has to be at least 75 inches deep before you can put away the rock skis. If going for a visit, don't miss Kachina Peak as well as it has also been ranked as very extreme and is an honorable mention for our list.

Sochi, Squaw, Chamonix, Verbier…Taos?

Qualify for the 2010 World Freeride Tour events at Taos Ski Resort, March 10-13, and compete for the $12,000 purse.