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Working together to protect community, culture and environment

By David Norden
For The Taos News
Posted 1/16/19

Some people say nature takes care of itself, and it's true that, given a chance, our forests and rivers and wildlife have extraordinary powers of rejuvenation. At Taos Ski Valley Inc., we exist side …

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Working together to protect community, culture and environment

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Some people say nature takes care of itself, and it's true that, given a chance, our forests and rivers and wildlife have extraordinary powers of rejuvenation.

At Taos Ski Valley Inc., we exist side by side with our natural resources, and many of us depend on them for our livelihoods, while visitors come to marvel at our mountains, our powder, our culture, our hospitality and our region's sheer natural beauty.

We interact with our environment daily, so for TSVI, protecting our natural resources, strengthening our community, preserving our culture and practicing responsible stewardship is not an après ski indulgence. It is imperative. We strive to make renovations that improve TSVI facilities and the sports experience while respecting our region's history, culture, natural and human resources. Our funding priorities show our respect for protecting Taos's integrity and encouraging stewardship of land.

That's why TSVI embraces a business-conservation ethic, illuminated by the fact that we are the only ski resort worldwide designated a Certified B Corporation - we are committed to using business as a force for good.

When TSVI owner and conservation philanthropist Louis Bacon purchased TSV in 2014 from the family of its legendary founder, Ernie Blake, Mr. Bacon created the privately funded Taos Ski Valley Foundation, an affiliate of his Moore Charitable Foundation. TSVF supports local organizations which protect the community, landscapes, habitats, wildlife and waterways that help make our magnificent ski area and town one of the great recreation destinations in America.

TSVI and TSVF both support the visionary Rio Grande Water Fund, a collaborative, public-private forest and watershed management effort of The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico that will help protect our communities and forests from catastrophic wildfires and help secure water for 1 million people - half of New Mexico's population - for generations to come.

TSVF also supports local organizations like the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, which trains young adults in the importance of community engagement and service, and the Taos Land Trust, which seeks to preserve natural land for future generations, and which is restoring the Rio Fernando Park for the benefit and enjoyment of all Taoseños.

But TSVF's work extends far beyond preserving our natural resources. The foundation is actively involved in supporting organizations that strengthen the fabric of our community and nurture our local culture such as Taos Feeds Taos, which helps feed struggling families; HEART of Taos, which empowers women who are experiencing homelessness; Habitat for Humanity of Taos, which builds affordable housing for people in need; and Twirl, a non-profit that provides children a place to learn and play.

TSVI has also similarly helped shape our community by working with the United States Forest Service, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative and New Mexico Gas Company to provide underground electrical and natural gas service to the ski valley along State Road 150, utilizing Taos-based contractors for many of the projects in the ski valley and committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Our Blake Hotel is one of New Mexico's first LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) hotels.

We all love the synergy that exists between our town and the ski slopes, our visitors and residents, our natural resources and culture, our work and our play. At TSVI and TSVF, we hope our business-conservation ethic and philanthropic mission help deepen the partnership between us all.

David Norden is the CEO of Taos Ski Valley, Inc. Ann Colley is executive director of the Taos Ski Valley Foundation.

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