Friday, December 14, 2007

Taos will Allow Snowboarding starting March 19, 2008

For the first time in the 51-year history of Taos Ski Valley, the resort will welcome snowboarders.

by Lauren Traub Teton

This bold and unprecedented move takes a bit of wind out of the sails of the Burton campaign to poach, on film the 4 skier-only mountains left in the US. (see our last posting.)

We applaud this decision and look forward to riding Taos as soon as possible. It's a step for harmony and inclusiveness in the world instead of the "them and us" attitude that divides the people of the earth and leads to alienation, discord, and war.

Taos chalks up the decision to keeping families together, when so many families now contain snowboarders who would not have been welcomed at Taos. Surely economics were a consideration too, but since Taos is truly a family-owned and operated resort with four generations of Blakes in charge, we believe that they believe in family. Viva Taos, Viva the Family! The family that rides or skis together is a pretty healthy family!

Here is the ground-shaking quote from today on the Ride Taos website:

"For a long time the discussion has been more focused on when we would open, and we feel like now is the right time. Taos has a long-standing tradition of being family oriented, and now with so many young people snowboarding, we are turning away more and more families, particularly families that traditionally come to Taos. Opening to snowboarding allows us to refocus on being a family oriented mountain.

Additionally, as Taos Ski Valley, Inc. began to consider expansion and it's base area redevelopment plan, it was clear that the "snowboarding question" would have to be given real consideration. It was determined by the Blake family and administrative staff that snowboarding would become an intrical part of Taos Ski Valley's future. We look forward to sharing our storied resort with this brand new audience."

(from a letter to the media)
We are pleased to make you one of the first to be know that Taos Ski Valley will open to snowboarding beginning March 19, 2008.

There will be events and festivities to kick off this new era during the final 2 ½ weeks of the season (more details to come). We’ll plan to spend the summer addressing any issues that arise and continuing to prepare our facilities and staff to take care of both our new guests and our long time friends. We’re committed to attending to all of our guests in the personal manner that TSV is known for, and which the Blake family is committed to preserving.

Taos Ski Valley History Facts:

In the early 1950's Ernie and Rhoda Blake were living with their children in Santa Fe where Ernie was managing the brand new Santa Fe Ski Basin. As part of his job Ernie would fly his Cessna 170 into Southern Colorado to work at Santa Fe's sister ski area, Glenwood Springs. His dream was to have a ski resort of his own, so as he flew he searched for a place where he could begin building his vision. Eventually, he found an ideal spot, "the big snow basin north of Wheeler Peak in La Cal Basin. There was a tremendous snow basin...I thought it was an optical illusion." (Ernie Blake, Ski Pioneers)

After finding the perfect spot, Ernie moved his family to Taos Ski Valley in 1955. From a camper in the base area where they lived, the Blakes began to build what is now a world-class ski resort. The following are a few facts and stories about how TSV grew and about the people and experiences which give Taos Ski Valley its individual character.

Taos Ski Valley History Facts:

* The first lift was a Bridger-Boseman J-Bar which was installed in the fall of 1956 by Ernie, sixteen men from Taos Pueblo, and a mule named Lightening. After one day of dragging lift and tower parts through the snow up what is now Al's Run, Lightening quit.

* Rancher Chilton Anderson, after 37 years of service, retired from the Ernie Blake Ski School at the close of last season. Chilton, hired in 1956, is extremely tall and was in charge of lifting the cable back on to the towers when it would fall off, which it did regularly.

* The only run down the mountain in 1956 - 57 was what is now Snakedance.

* In fall of 1957 a Poma (platter) lift went up Al's Run and ended where Tower 8 of Lift One is now. The lift pulled passengers along the ground at twice the speed of a modern lift. People would ski down around the lift riders because the run was so narrow. Small people were lifted completely off the ground in certain spots and hung spinning in the air.

* The first rental fleet was purchased from the army at Camp Hale when the base there was closed. The skis sold for $1 per ski and had holes in the tips through which a rope could be strung so the skis could be used as a sled. Rhoda was in charge of mounting bindings on all the skis because Ernie wasn't handy with mechanical objects.

* Many of the original staff of Taos Ski Valley, from Jean Mayer (the technical director of the Ernie Blake Ski School who came to TSV in 1958) to Walter Ruegg (the head of lift maintenance since 1967), still work on the mountain. Look for them as well as four generations of Blakes working and playing on the slopes.

* TSV remains one of the few family owned and operated ski resorts in North America. To this day it is still run by the founders' children and grandchildren. Because of this long tradition of family, no other ski resort can make you feel as welcome.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Burton Encourages Poaching the 4 All-Ski Mountains

Burton Offers $5000 reward for Best DVD of Snowboarders Riding at Off-Limits Ski Mountains: Mad River Glen, Alta, Deer Valley, and Taos

by Lauren Traub Teton
Editor SnowboardSecrets,com

Burton is offering a $5000 reward for the best video of snowboarders poaching the 4 skier-only mountains in the US. There is a fun film with music, of poachers "doing tha thang" posted on their site and on YouTube.

Make no mistake, this particular film was not made and submitted by amateurs. Burton riders Luke Mitrani, Keegan Valaika, and Yale Cousino poach Mad River Glen in VT. Jeremy Jones of Utah stars in another seg. Check it out, the whole concept is causing quite a ruckus in the media and was written up in the Boston Globe, The Burlington Free Press, Vermont Public Radio, and undoubtedly more coverage will follow. What a great publicity coup!

Personally and frankly, why would I want to ride somewhere I'm not wanted when 99% of resorts are courting my business? But it is amusing to see these snowboarders poach and to see the ski patrol get all sputtery.

Here's the YouTube link, the one on the Burton page was not working well for me when I tried.

This article is from the Snowboard Szine 12.13.2007, an occasional email szine about important and super fun things happening in snowboarding.
Here's the table of contents for the rest of this issue. You can sign up for your own free subscription on any page of in the top nav bar.
Read the szine here.

The Snowboard Szine (say "zeen)
Issue #54 12/13/07

In This Issue
(Read the szine here.)

1. Go Out Riding NOW!!!
2. I Was Teased Online for Being Safety Conscious
3. Winter Park, Colorado. Feb 6 - 10 Snowboard Trip. Join Us!
4. Dec.15 Big Rail Jam Quali at Mountain Creek, NJ
5. Burton Encourages Poaching the 4 All-Ski Mountains


Read this issue of the Snowboard Szine here.