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Ernie Blake Ski School

Ernie Blake Ski School

Turning Points
By Stu Campbell
posted: 12/06/1999

Ernie Blake Ski School
Taos Ski Valley, N.M.

WHY IT'S GREAT The late Ernie Blake was a salty resort developer and teacher who resisted instructional convention, yet embraced international ski teachers who shared his love for Taos' steep, snowy, isolated valley. His family steadfastly preserves that legacy. Taos and its surrounding lodges have a special synergy. Your host or your chef may also turn out to be your instructor for the week. He or she will guide you down the scary-steep terrain for which the resort is famous. Taos instructors ski together, hold locker-room bull sessions and improve together. That's the culture, and you will benefit from it.

SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY "To instill a love for the mountain, the sport of skiing and the lifestyle of Taos." Like Vail and many of the other greats, Taos focuses more on the total experience and less on the nuts and bolts of technique.

DISTINGUISHING QUALITIES The variety and steepness of Taos terrain, small classes and technical training from skimeister Jean Mayer and Olympic medalist Debbie Armstrong combine to create an exceptional learning environment.

LEADER Max Killinger, Director

WHAT'S TAUGHT Taos Style, an amalgam of French, Austrian, American and Swiss systems adapted to the area's special terrain and snow conditions.

A GOOD DEAL The long-standing Taos Ski Week is relaxed, but provides a unique opportunity for skiers of all levels to improve. Offered every week throughout the season. Cost: $180 for six days.

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