The owner of Taos Ski Valley has purchased a 30-seat passenger jet and will begin regular flights to and from Texas to the airport serving the northern New Mexico resort.
Another small ski and snowboard area in the southern Rockies is ready to expand: Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort has announced projects to add lifts, trails and more on-mountain dining.
Rock climbing is a specialized sport, with its own equipment and techniques. But European-based via ferratas have begun to spring up in the U.S. mountain country to make the sport more accessible to more people.
Group lesson at night at Angel Fire. (Angel Fire Resort)
Unseasonably mild evening temps have prompted Angel Fire Resort to extend skiing and riding under the lights for the rest of the season.
Taos kids' teaching area gets makeover. (Taos Ski Valley/Facebook)
A reconfigured beginner slope and lifts highlight the latest round of upgrades at Taos Ski Valley, as other resorts along the southernmost tier of the Rockies also add lifts, trails and services.
Mountain biking is king at Purgatory. (Purgatory/Facebook)
As Durango businessman James Coleman bought five southwest Rockies resorts, he promised to put significant money into improvements at these mountains in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.
Hesperus Ski Area – the town hill for Durango-area skiers and riders – has closed down to address long-overdue repairs to the only chairlift and other infrastructure.
Mountain officials say they expect to reopen the second week in March, but are unsure how long repairs will take. The mountain closed on March 7 last season.
That mean’s southwest Colorado skiers and snowboarders won’t be able to sneak out of work for few turns at noon or carve under the lights after work - or tube. Ski Hesperus operates half-days on Mondays through Fridays, and full days on Saturdays and Sundays, with popular night skiing until 9 p.m. except on Sundays.
A major portion of the maintenance is the main double chairlift, installed in the 1960s, including the condition of a number of the assemblies that connect the chair to the cable. A report following an unannounced inspection by the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board on Feb. 20-21 revealed issues with signage, record-keeping, lift maintenance and employee training.
Hesperus’ Greg Ralph said that new “clips’ have been ordered and should be installed in the next weeks. Repairs have been made to the emergency braking system, and updating of signs and training of workers is underway, Ralph said.
Durango businessman James Coleman bought Hesperus in 2016, adding it to his regional portfolio that includes Purgatory, Arizona Snowbowl, Sipapu and Pajarito. Hesperus opened in the 1960s and was run by Jim Pitcher as a “one-man show” for three decades – with hand-painted signs and a Quonset hut base lodge.
Long a local’s favorite, Hesperus sits 11 miles west of downtown Durango with 60 skiable acres, 700 vertical feet and 26 trails.
Hike the bowls at 'green' Taos (Taos Ski Valley/Facebook)
Environmentally conscious skiers and snowboarders who want to “walk the talk” can do so by taking to the slopes at Taos Ski Valley.
The New Mexico resort just became the first winter resort in the world – and the fifth company in its home state – to qualify as a “B Corp” for adhering to rigorous standards of “social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency,” according to the nonprofit B Lab that issues the designations worldwide.
“The people who live and work at Taos Ski Valley have long known about our commitment to the community and our investments in the ongoing health of our mountain ecosystem,” said CEO Dave Norden. “Visitors that choose Taos Ski Valley for their next vacation will be doing so with the knowledge that they’re supporting the ethics and commitment of a Certified B Corporation.”
Among Taos Ski Valley’s efforts that led to the certification were:
· Discontinuing sale of disposable plastic bottles, replacing with reusable containers.
· Moving freshly fallen snow to highly trafficked and shadier locations – and placement of snow fences to hold snow -- to save on snowmaking costs.
· Serving locally sourced food at the resort’s five restaurants.
· Retrofitting facilities with low-flow fixtures, waterless urinals, and dual-flush toilets to reduce water consumption.
· Heating the new Blake Hotel through a geothermal system.
· Paying a minimum of $10 an hour for all employees.
Other B Corp certified companies related to the ski and snowboard industry include apparel maker Patagonia, craft beer brewer New Belgium Brewing and Vermont’s Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. More than 1,600 companies in 42 countries have received the honor.
While resort owner and conservation advocate Louis Bacon’s money have paid for much of these efforts, the Blake family that owned the mountain since its inception had begun reducing the resort’s carbon footprint in the years prior to the sale in 2013.
Taos Ski Valley's first resort hotel. (The Blake/Facebook)
The first resort-owned hotel at Taos Ski Valley opens for business in February, replete with contemporary luxury and a strong sense of its history.