Posted on Tuesday, March 27th 2012 at 11:17 am
I was skiing in Taos New Mexico last week. I first skied there 35 years ago and met Ernie Blake, the founder and owner, shortly after that. Ernie was an amazing man. Ernie was born in Germany, but grew up in Switzerland and served in the Swiss Air Force. He was an excellent athlete and would have easily qualified for the German Olympic Hockey team in 1936 had he not been Jewish. After the war he came to the United States and managed 2 ski areas, one in Colorado and the other in Santa Fe. He was a pilot and flew back and forth between the 2 ski areas. He would fly different courses searching the rugged mountains for the perfect place to build his own ski resort. On one of those trips he spied Taos. He purchased the land that is now the ski valley and began building Taos Ski valley in 1955. They lived without power until 1963 and did the work themselves with help from friends. Soon friends from Europe joined them as ski instructors, restaurant and shop proprietors and Taos Ski Valley took off. It is now one of the most successful privately owned ski resorts in the world. Ernie was a great example of what our free enterprise system is all about. If you have a dream, work hard you may succeed. In the process Ernie created jobs and business opportunities from hundreds of other people. This is truly what makes America the shining city on a hill.