This High Desert Town Is a Skier's Dream — and It Has the World's Only Certified B Corp Mountain

With about 300 bluebird days a year it's a skier's paradise.

Looking over at Taos Ski Valley

Courtesy of Jamie Aranoff

While looking down the face of Powderhorn trail, I abruptly stopped. The air was still as I took off my goggles to ensure my lenses weren't deceiving me. No, it was true. The view really does go on forever, and the sky truly is, as the skiing saying goes, absolutely bluebird. And it's a scene Taos Ski Valley wants to protect forever. 

On a beautiful December day, I made my way to Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico to discover what makes this place so special. It's a resort town, to be clear, but it's one that has readjusted to the times and is now the only certified B Corp mountain on earth. 

"Somebody asked us, you sound like a B Corp, and we started to investigate what is a B Corp and realized that yes, the work that we're doing is the work of a B Corp," David Norden, the CEO of Taos, shared as we sat together mountainside. "When we learned more about the B Corp movement, we felt it would be appropriate for us to look into certification."

It's no easy task to become B Corp certified for any business, let alone as a mountain. Companies must show total transparency on employee pay, philanthropic pursuits, supply chains, and input materials, according to It's a distinction held by brands like Patagonia, Athleta, and Ben and Jerry's. 

For Taos, becoming a B Corp organization means "that we place environmental and social responsibility at a very high level, we surround ourselves with other B Corporations, and we learn from those organizations so that we can advance in some of the work that we're doing," Norden said. "It has driven us to decisions like ensuring we have pay equity across all positions regardless of gender, race, or age and ensuring we pay a liveable wage, not just the minimum wage, [and provide] our staff with time to volunteer for local non-profits." 

Jamie Aranoff Skiing

Courtesy of Jamie Aranoff

Though it's not a one-and-done process. Like all B Corps, the mountain must recertify every three years and is currently under its second recertification process. And while Taos is the only B Corp mountain, Norden believes (and hopes) that others are not far behind. 

"I do think you'll see some more ski resorts go this direction as they see the benefits of it," he said. 

So, how exactly do guests at Taos see this all come to life? On my trip, I saw it in ways both big and small. For one, the Gatorade comes in cans, as there's no plastic here, and every single-use item is made from recycled products. Behind the scenes, all the grooming machines are electric, and by the end of the 2022/23 season, all snowmobiles will be too. 

In 2022, the mountain also gained carbon neutral certification by Climate Impact Partners, eight years ahead of its scheduled goal. This means that all emissions from the mountain are offset by either natural carbon sinks or via carbon credits, "almost like a carbon tax," Norden explained. 

 "We now understand what our carbon footprint is, we understand what our emissions are, we understand we need to utilize offsets to become net zero," Norden said, adding that the ultimate goal is zero emissions.

A famous sign in the Taos Ski Valley

Courtesy of Jamie Aranoff

This love and care for the environment also extends well past the mountain peaks and into Taos Ski Village businesses. 

At the Blake Hotel, aptly named after the Swiss-American mountain founder Ernie Blake, luxury and eco-friendly meet. Key cards are made from recycled wood, as is the do no disturb sign on the door, and there are no plastic lids to be found, only real glass mugs and cups. There's even a potted Christmas tree in the lobby with a sign that tells guests that come spring, the tree will have a permanent home out in the forest. 

"If you're staying at The Blake, you'll learn about things like heating and cooling with geothermal well fields. You'll notice things like there are no straws in the restaurant and [that there are] places to refill your water bottle," Norden said.

One more way Taos is helping to keep its environment pristine is by limiting the number of guests to just 5,000 riders per day. By doing so, the mountain isn't overburdened, and every skier and rider has plenty of space to make big, open turns. 

"We feel that growth in skier visits is not the best approach for us. We always look to improve the experience," Norden said. "If we can refine [our facilities] and really focus on an improved and heightened experience, then that is more important than just pure growth."

As I began my final run of the day, I took a minute to reflect on my short time in Taos. Overlooking the ski valley, I could make out the road leading back into Taos and realized that this mountain hidden in the Rockies is more than just a place to ski. It is a catalyst for change. Places like Taos, with its staff of passionate and caring individuals, are putting in hard work to preserve these destinations. And because of them, the future of skiing sure does look bluebird bright. 

How to Ride

Grab tickets via the Ikon pass (be warned, there's a capacity cap for Ikon skiers), use the Mountain Collective pass, or purchase a day lift ticket starting at $95 for adults and $65 for children.

Where to Stay

The Blake Hotel: The Blake Hotel is a 4-star, 80-room hotel that offers guests everything they could want from a mountain getaway, including two outdoor hot tubs, a pool, a fitness center, and a spa. The hotel features a "ski valet" where guests leave their gear in locked shelves and, come morning, have a comfortable place to strap into boots, grab skis or boards, and walk precisely one minute to the mountain.

Edelweiss Lodge & Spa: Across the street from The Blake is another family favorite, the Edelweiss. Here, guests have front-door access to the "gondolita," a miniature gondola that brings skiers to and from the children's ski school area. The hotel offers room options for one, two, and three bathrooms and even a "lock off" option where guests can rent a singular bedroom part of a larger condominium. 

Where to Après

 Taos Ale House: If you're looking for a low-key beer, burger, or pizza post-ski, this is the place. The Ale House is everything you need after a long day on the mountain — good food, great drinks, and a warm environment. Get in early, as it can get crowded, and the specials go quickly. 

The Lounge by Rolling Still Distillery: Taos' newest distillery features house-made vodka infused with flavors of the area, including red chile, green chile, and lavender. Stop in for a cocktail or a small bite in its warm and welcoming lounge. Plus, where else can you get a cocktail on draft? You can even purchase bottles to bring back home.

Getting there

Taos is remote but well worth the trip. For a seamless experience, fly Taos Air from Austin, Burbank, Dallas, or San Diego. And if you know the way from Santa Fe, you can always drive from there (or anywhere else).

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