Adriana Blake, Ernie's granddaughter and the resort's marketing director, said that the feeling today is "it is not so important how our visitors get down the mountain, as long as we can all enjoy this special place."
Special it is. This was clearly a decision that has been under discussion and scrutiny for years. One reason is that Taos is not a megaresort in the sense that the lodging is intimate, charming, and set in the gorgeous Sangre de Cristo Mountains, about a 90-minute drive from Santa Fe. The Blake family's approach always has been laidback and comfortable, very different from the hustle and bustle of the bigger destination resorts. Yet, the mountain is unparalleled and that's where much of the focus will remain.
"We have enjoyed a rich history enhanced by our returning visitors for the last 50 years," said Mickey Blake, Ernie's son and resort president. "We are now enthusiastically looking forward to sharing our unique, unspoiled mountain with an expanded audience, including snowboarders."
Events Director Alejandro Blake said the launch into snowboarding will be celebrated with numerous activities for skier and rider visitors to enjoy together.
"The festivities will be a show of appreciation to our loyal visitors and a warm welcome to our new guests," he said. Details of the welcome events will be available at a new Web site, ridetaos.org.
Resort renovations to improve rental facilities and the base area to accommodate both skiers and riders will be made over the summer. Taos Ski Valley will close for the season April 6, so there's five weeks of riding for the very first time on one of the world's most mystical mountains.
What it means: This decision was not made lightly and there is no way on earth the Blake family would do anything to harm their relationship with a loyal group of regulars and long-time guests. You can bet that those guests have been vetted and buy into the change. We won't admonish any of our snowboarding readers to not abuse the privilege – and it is a privilege. But, well, don't. We suspect old Ernie is taking a sip from behind a martini tree somewhere in heaven and probably smiling. (If you're not sure what we mean by that, ask a vintage Taos skier about one of the sport's most endearing traditions).