The time is ripe for a master plan rewrite in Carson National Forest. Taos Ski Valley opened under a U.S. Forest Service permit in 1955, with the latest master plan submitted in 1980. It was time for a redo said Taos Marketing Director Adriana Blake.
"We had to think - in the next 15 years, what will you do?" she explained. They threw in everything they could think of. The new proposal includes lift changes, mountain bike trails, glading within the boundaries, and, yes, a new lift to the top of 12,481 feet Kachina Peak with acres of lift-served skiable terrain.
But Blake said a chair in the near future is unlikely. The Forest Service looks at everything and may approve a few "easy" items such as mountain biking and tubing but things like chairlifts take years.
"The North American run was in the original master plan and it took five years to gain permission to cut. We had to count red squirrel nests," said Blake about the intricate process involved with meeting the Forest Service's requirements.
Taos has 13 ski lifts with an uphill capacity of 15,000 people per hour with a vertical drop of 2,612 from the highest lift.
Currently, Lift 4 reaches the highest elevation on the mountain at 11,819 feet then skiers hike about 40 minutes to reach the shots under the Peak. There's 3,274 of vertical feet from the top of Kachina.