Thursday, September 6, 2012

Forest Service Approves Taos Expansion

photo credit: Taos Ski Valley

First Tracks Online is reporting that the US Forest Service has approved a major expansion at Taos Ski Valley. More on the expansion after the jump.

The approved plan will increase Taos' lift-serviced acreage by almost 60 percent. The biggest improvement will be lift access to the terrain on Kachina Peak, which is currently accessible only with a long hike from the top of the resort's highest chairlift. The goal of the ambitions project is obvious - to resort Taos to the position the high position within the industry it held for many years.

While many Colorado resorts embarked on massive expansion project, Taos remained essentially unchanged since the 1970's, not allowing snowboarders until 2009. For many, that sense of nostalgia was something that make Taos unique and special. However, times change and Taos experienced a substantial drop in its skier visits. Management hopes this expansion - all of which is within the resort's existing use permit senior resort officials are quick to note - will help reverse the downward trend.

An anonymous high-ranking source at the resort told Ski, Esq. that he hoped "to have our skier visits move to 300,000 per year...[w]ell below the visit[s] had in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s."

Opposition groups have 45 days to appeal the Forest Service's decision. This tactic can be successful in delaying development and was used recently by an environmental group to halt, at least temporarily, an expansion plan at Aspen.

Click here for a super high res (15 MB) map of the approved development.

Additional Stories on Ski, Esq.

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