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Change has come to Taos Ski Val­ley. In 2013, hedge-fund bil­lion­aire Louis Ba­con bought the fam­ily-run ski area from the de­scen­dants of founder Ernie Blake, with a plan to in­vest sub­stan­tial re­sources into mod­ern­iz­ing Taos. A chair­lift up the iconic, hik­ers-only Kachina Peak ar­rived the next year, fol­lowed by a re­designed base area and the open­ing of The Blake, a new lux­ury ho­tel at the re­sort’s base. Those up­grades were much needed, and so far, vis­i­tors are im­pressed, re­ward­ing the ski area with high marks in Over­all Sat­is­fac­tion, Charm, Value, and Lo­cal Fla­vor. In­deed, the new own­er­ship seems de­ter­mined to main­tain the re­sort’s unique Old-World-meets-New-Mex­ico vibe while it puts new sheen on some old ve­neers. The small re­sort also goes big in the Chal­lenge depart­ment, boast­ing 74 black or dou­ble-black runs (not count­ing all the sweet lines in be­tween), which in­clude a phe­nom­e­nal di­ver­sity of pa­trolled, hik­ers-only tree- and chute-ski­ing. Taos is one of those rare, spe­cial spots where phe­nom­e­nal ski­ing in­ter­sects bril­liantly with the sport’s Euro­pean heritage, and in­jected, this year, with the buzz of Amer­i­can en­trepreneur­ship. —Han­nah Nord­haus

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