It’s bracing up to be another amazing winter at Taos Ski Valley. After a snowy 2022-23 season, the New Mexico ski resort has invested heavily since last winter in various infrastructure projects, which include enhancing its sustainability goals.
A couple of weeks ago, Taos Ski Valley announced all the new additions coming during the 2023-24 season. Here’s a recap of the major investments:
Upgraded Lifts: This offseason, two lifts at Taos are being replaced: Lift 4 & Pioneers.
For years, the ride up to the top terminal of Lift 4 has been slow due to it being a fixed-grip quad. The new Lift 4 will be a high-speed detachable quad from Leitner-Poma, reducing the ride time in half. Work is well underway, they had their last concrete day around two weeks ago. Next up are the helicopter days for installing the lift towers. Load testing days are scheduled for November.
For the beginner area, the Pioneers lift had reached the end of its operational life. Its replacement will be a fixed-grip triple chairlift. The original lift was at the looker’s right while this new Pioneers is at the looker’s left. In addition, the trails around this chairlift have been regraded, allowing for better rider flow. In addition, they’ve moved back the magic carpets and have added new high-efficiency snowmaking guns. In terms of the construction process, work on the chairlift is basically complete. The terminals, lift towers, haul rope, and chairs have been installed, and load testing was completed in August.
The old chairs from Pioneers were sold, with the proceeds going towards the Taos Regional Ski School Program facilitated by the Taos Winter Sports Team (TWST). The 42 chairs that were sold will benefit kids who need scholarships for their winter program. Local children get five weeks of transportation to the mountain, lift tickets, lessons, and rentals.
New Trails: Three new trails will officially join the terrain network this winter at Taos. Two pistes, Ponsse Scheme and Cache Stash, are single black diamonds. These two trails had a soft opening last winter and now have officially joined the lineup. These trails are the result of tree cleanup due to a 2021 wind event. Ponsee Scheme is located right next to the base of Chair 7 and connects to the return trail. Cache Stash is over in the Lift 4 terrain pod and near El Funko.
The new double-black diamond trail, Dadou’s, will be on the looker’s left on the notorious Al’s Run. This is named after beloved Taos ski instructor Bernard “Dadou” Mayer, who passed away in 2022. This glade was created from forest thinning and mitigation with collaboration from the US Forest Service.
The Return Of Martini Tree Bar: After years of being on hiatus for a couple of years, the Martini Tree Bar will return for the 2023-24 season. Its operating times will be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons and evenings. The bar has undergone a minor renovation and will offer live music, sporting events, pool tables, and fun for all ages.
The history of Martini Trees at Taos is pretty fascinating. Legend has it that Ernie Blake was teaching a lesson one day, and a woman believed that she couldn’t make it down. Ernie sent one of his kids down to get a Gin Martini for her, and after she drank it, the woman skied down like an angel. Over time, Ernie would stash glass porrons filled with gin martinis in the trees throughout the mountain for visitors who needed a quick swig of liquid to pump themselves up before attempting Taos’ most daunting trails. It’s kind of like an alcoholic version of Popeye eating a bunch of spinach.
Sleigh Ride Dining Experience: A new dining experience will give homage to Europe. Taos will be offering a magical sleigh ride dinner to the famed Bavarian. Guests can relax in comfort as they are snow-catted to the mid-mountain restaurant from the main plaza.
Going Green: With the New Mexico ski resort being the world’s first and only certified B Corporation® ski resort, their sustainability work remains a core focus. Taos will have the first electric snowcat of any ski resort in North America, and they will also be operating a hybrid snowcat. Last year, Taos purchased nine electric snowmobiles, which will be operational for the opening day of 2023. They have purchased eight more electric snowmobiles.
There are also some packages that will be available this winter. Taos is the only ski resort in North America to offer a Ski Week. This is where you get ski instructions in the morning, and then ski for free in the afternoon. There are two packages for Ski Week. The first includes just lessons, while the second one includes lodging, demos, lift tickets, lessons, and breakfasts.
For first-time skiers or boarders, they’ll be offering a heavy discount. This package includes instructions, a novice lift ticket, and equipment rental from Taos Sports.
John Kelly, Taos Ski Valley’s Chief Operations Officer, described what guests can expect at Taos this winter:
“This winter, guests can look forward to all the nostalgic magic of Taos Ski Valley, combined with upgrades that will significantly improve the guest experience and continue to make us a more sustainable destination into the future. We are focused on maximizing traditions that bring people together for truly memorable mountain experiences – such as our signature Ski Weeks and the return of the longtime favorite gathering spot, the Martini Tree Bar. Additionally, we are excited to extend free programming and community events that introduce our mountain to more local visitors, including those who don’t ski or ride.”
Taos’ opening date for the 2023-24 season is scheduled for November 23rd, and its closing day is currently anticipated to be on April 7th.
About Taos Ski Valley
Nestled among the highest peaks of New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo mountains, Taos Ski Valley is a year-round destination that delivers a pure mountain experience. Independently owned and operated, Taos Ski Valley strives to be better, not bigger. Whether skiing, riding, hiking, biking, or more, visitors of Taos Ski Valley are invigorated by the essence of the outdoors and inspired to make memories that last a lifetime.
Taos Ski Valley is the world’s only Certified B Corporation® ski resort, making it a leader in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative society. Its commitment to protecting the environment is demonstrated by its effort to become a CarbonNeutral® certified business since 2021 and its goal to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2030.
Taos Ski Valley is proud to participate in the Mountain Collective and Ikon Pass programs, and to be a Fast Company 2023 Most Innovative Company. To learn more about Taos Ski Valley, visit www.skitaos.com
Image Credits: Taos Ski Valley