• Beyond the Border: Taos Ski Valley Adds Event Space

    FROM THE Fall 2018 ISSUE

    The Northern New Mexico ski resort looks to attract groups with a new on-mountain four season event space.

Taos Ski Valley is nestled in the Sangre de Cristo mountains 17 miles northeast of the high desert town of Taos. The ski resort was founded in 1954 by Ernie and Rhoda Blake in a snow basin Ernie discovered while flying his Cessna 170 across northern New Mexico. In 2014, after nearly 60 years of ownership and operation, the Blake family sold the ski resort to billionaire conservation philanthropist Louis Bacon. With the change in ownership, Taos Ski Valley set out to upgrade resort infrastructure and build new lodging, with the intention of honoring Ernie’s vision of a premiere ski destination.

One of the first projects was the construction of The Blake, an 80-guest room hotel, in the center of the resort village. The Blake provided the first traditional hotel in the valley and features a full-service spa, ski valet services and a restaurant, 192, which has a private dining area that can accommodate groups of up to 24 guests. The plaza, situated between The Blake and Lift 1, boasts a large fire pit and can be closed off for evening group receptions.

The children’s center was remodeled with a deliberate separation of the parent check-in area downstairs and the kids indoor class area and cafeteria upstairs. The project opened a large space on the second floor, which can be used for events and hold up to 120 people seated. Two additional smaller spaces on the second floor can each accommodate 40 people. A small gondola, called the Gondolita, was installed to connect the children’s center to the main base area.

The end of the 2017-18 ski season ushered in another flurry of renovation and construction at the resort. Renovations were made to the resort center, including dedicated meeting space. The kitchen of the on-hill Bavarian restaurant was overhauled. A new highspeed quad chairlift replaced Lift 1 and will reduce ride time to less than five minutes. The base areas around Lifts 1, 5 and 6 have been revamped, following the removal of the old lifts. An all-season adventure challenge ropes course was added near the Pioneer area.

Possibly the most comprehensive project undertaken at the resort this past summer was the remodel of The Phoenix building. The venue is undergoing extensive renovations to create all-season banquet and event space for weddings, conferences and meetings. Gables will be added to the west and north ends of the building to facilitate large windows. An outdoor patio/deck area will be constructed to serve as pre-function or reception space and will be easily accessible from the building interior. The Phoenix will accommodate up to 250 seated guests and is slated for completion in December. 

Planners can customize an itinerary to complement any group’s specific needs and create nontraditional breakout sessions or team-building adventures such as a group hike to William’s Lake or rafting the Rio Grande. The chefs and food and beverage professionals at Taos offer menus for groups of all sizes that reflect New Mexico’s unique culinary flair. The catering staff can provide everything from quick grab-and-go lunches to full-service seated dinners.

Several additional long-term projects are still in the planning stages, according to Taos Ski Valley CEO David Norden, that could include The Blake Residences with first-floor retail space and condominium living quarters above, as well as a possible conference center and additional residences near the old Lift 3 location on Strawberry Hill. “Beyond traditional meeting venues, Taos offers aweinspiring surroundings for business meetings, conferences and team-building exercises,” says Norden. “The rugged yet beautiful environment of Northern New Mexico’s natural landscape will ensure that any event at Taos Ski Valley will be a unique and truly memorable event.”

 Taos Ski Valley operates an airport shuttle providing year-round service from The Blake and in-season from the resort to Taos, Santa Fe and Albuquerque airports. Multiple convenient pick-up and drop-off locations allow guests to access lodging or hit the slopes quickly and easily.

Seven years ago, I moved to The Woodlands from out of state to be closer to family. What I was hoping to find was a familial connection that had been missing ever since I moved away from Indiana, where I was born and raised. What I found, however, was so much more: An eclectic, diverse and welcoming community that I am so proud to call home. I also found a wonderful destination for meetings and events.


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