The History of Taos Ski Valley
The Village of Taos Ski Valley’s early beginnings are based in mining. In the late 1600’s, the Spanish mined the area until they were unable to extract any more ore. With new mining methods arising in the early 1900’s, the area was re-opened to industries. During this time, the Rio Hondo district was advertised for the mining of timber and ore (gold and copper) and as early as 1905, the American Consolidated Mines Company, Fraser Mountain Company, and San Cristobal Company were in operation. Mining continued to be the primary activity in the Village until 1906 when it dwindled due to weather limitations.
Shortly after World War II, Orville E. Pattison purchased land east of the Lake Fork reach of the Hondo River. The Pattison family still owns a large area of the Village of Taos Ski Valley. In the mid-1950’s, Ernie Blake arrived in the valley and developed the ski business, which created a demand for home sites and lodging. The Pattisons recognized this demand and began subdividing portions of their property into residential and commercial lots for sale. In the 1960’s, they began to develop the lower village, by selling and leasing lots for homes in the core commercial area. In the early 1970’s this group purchased water rights downstream and transferred them for consumption in the Ski Valley and worked with the Ski Valley Corporation (TSV) to develop Kachina Village. The Pattisons have continued to be involved in the development of the Village through present day.
Ernie Blake initiated the development of what is now Taos Ski Valley Resort in 1955. The first lift was installed in 1956, and in 1957 the first run was opened in the location of what is now the Snakedance run. In the fall of 1957, a Poma lift went up Al’s Run and ended where the Tower 8 of Lift One is now.
Finally, the Village was incorporated into a municipality during 1996, pushing it forward as one of the premier multi-season resort destinations in New Mexico and North America.
In December 2013 it was announced that the Blake’s were selling their ski resort to Louis Bacon. Bacon is founder and CEO of the hedge fund company Moore Capital Management and a resident of New York State. Louis Bacon is investing over $350 million into the ski resort over the next 10 years. Improvements include a Lift to Kachina Peak, which was completed in the summer of 2014. A new Hotel with Spa facilities and restaurant has been built. A new Gondala to take children from the resort center to the Children’s area as well as a total renovation of the Children’s Ski School and Day Care area was completed in 2017.
For the 2018/2019 Ski Season we have a brand new High Speed Quad which takes you from the base area to access the mountain and other lifts.
The developments are unfolding and today, TSV is one of the premier ski resorts in America.
The History of Amizette
The Austing Haus is located in Amizette, 1 mile from the Village of Taos Ski Valley
The Amizette area dates back to the romantic and exciting times of prospecting and mining for gold “in them there hills” of Sangre de Cristo mountains. About 1869 gold was discovered at various points along the Rio Hondo turning this small town overnight into a gold rush ghost town with saloons and dance halls. Its first post office — established in 1893 as a result of a gold rush — was discontinued in 1902. Then in the 1880’s and 90’s the mining camps of Amizette and Twining came into existence. During these thriving times the Amizette was joined to the Denver and Rio Grande railway station, located in Tres Piedras, by a daily stagecoach run.
A local miner owned and operated the town store. Visitors who came to the area stayed in the mining town’s hotel.
The innkeeper and first prospector, Al Helphenstines, wife became the namesake for the “Amizette” mining camp. Around about 1895 mining activity dwindled in the Amizette Valley and mining crews relocated to the upper canyon of the Rio Hondo. The gold was still there but the town (highest population 350) died for lack of a cheap way to get the gold out. The new mining camp was named “Twining” currently known as Taos Ski Valley.