Texans have long chased the thrill of skiing and snowboarding, but have had to endure airline connections, rental car hassles or a laborious car ride to feed the endorphin monster. Now there’s a new air service that allows Texans to have their mountain and ski it too.
Taos Air launched December 2018 and speeds Texans from their doorstep to the chair lift in about 3-4 hours, depending on the commute time to their home airport.
Private jet ownership, glamorized in movies and music, is often seen as out of reach for the average Texan. However, Taos Air gives you the private jet experience at a similar cost to a commercial airplane ticket. Depending on when you book your ticket, a round trip from Austin or Dallas to Taos is around $400, which is in the ballpark of a commercial airplane coach-class ticket and less than a first-class ticket.
The price may get your attention, but the speed, service and convenience will absolutely blow you away! For a typical commercial flight, a passenger leaves at least 1.5 to 2 hours prior to departure so there’s time to park, shuttle to the terminal, go through security and find the departing gate. With Taos Air, departing out of the Signature Support terminal in Austin, the time to park and check-in takes less than 3 minutes. When you’re heading home to Texas, typical arrival is 15-20 minutes prior to the flight departure. Yes that’s right, it’s not a typo.
Passengers are whisked up the mountain to Taos Ski Valley in about 30 minutes on a complimentary shuttle from the Taos Regional Airport. With some help from Rossignal and Burton as Taos Air sponsors, demo skis/board, boots and poles are complimentary when booking air travel on Taos Air.
If it’s been a while since your last trip to Taos, either in summer or winter, it’s worth another look to see all the changes.
The Blake opened in February of 2017 and has 80 spacious rooms along with a heated pool, 2 hot tubs, full workout facility and a spa. Perhaps the best service at The Blake is provided by the ski valets. There’s no lugging around boots and skis all over the village, just drop them off at the ski valet and your boots will sit in heaters all night so they will be toasty when you pick them up for skiing the next day. Right after you slip on some comfortable shoes, then just stroll over to the 192 at the Blake for a cold beverage and appetizers. The highlights on the 192 menu includes the Charred Brussel Sprouts, South Texas Antelope, Bianco pizza and The BIG Cookie, which lives up to its name, and could be an entree for chocolate lovers.
The Taos ski village is an quaint and intimate as it always has been. Now, it just has a better flow and everything you need is literally steps away, including the new high-speed quad lift. Just in time for this year’s ski season, a 4-person high speed quad was installed up Al’s Run and extends further up the mountain to access more terrain from the base lift.
Taos Ski Valley isn’t just content on elevating the village and mountain experience in the winter, they have their sights on making Taos Ski Valley a four-season destination. Starting in May, construction will begin on 6.5 miles of beginner and intermediate mountain bike trails that will feature berms, rollers and bridges. The launch date for these trails is penciled in for late summer. These trails are just the beginning: there will be six advanced trials added in the near future.
There are also plans to install a Via Ferrata close to the chutes by Lift 4. Italian for iron path, a Via Ferrata is a protected climbing route with steel cable wire attached to the rock to allow novice climbers to access high altitude climbs safely. Also in the works is a 10km nordic course for public use and racing. These trails would be used in the summer months as mountain biking trails.
The $300 million revitalization has been carefully planned out so the mountain and the village maintain its roots that started in the 1950’s when Ernie and Rhoda Blake built Taos from the ground up. Those roots are connected with the culture, the people and the environment. Honoring that heritage, Taos Ski Valley is the world’s first Certified B-Corporation ski resort. Certified B Corporations take a holistic view of balancing profit with purpose. They purposefully legally bind the organization to consider the impact of their decisions on their employees, customers, suppliers, community and environment. Some other notable B-Corps are Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s and New Belgium Brewing.
Taos is not only building a way for skiers and boarders to quickly and efficiently get to the mountains, but they are doing it in a way that embraces the history of its founder and embracing the responsibility of passing it on to future generations.
Cover photo courtesy Taos Ski Valley
An avid skier, Doug Flatt is the co-founder of Texas Lifestyle Magazine.