Taos Had History and Mystique, but Few Skiers. Can a New Owner Change That?

When reached on the phone, Matthew Zonghetti’s father, Michael Zonghetti, had only praise for Taos Ski Valley staff and Mr. Norden. The father of Corey Borg-Massanari did not respond to a request for comment.

“One thing that surprised me is the support from the people at the mountain and the hospital,” Michael Zonghetti said two weeks after the accident, adding that a connection had developed between the family and Taos. “That connectedness is helping.”

Mr. Zonghetti invited Mr. Norden to Matthew’s funeral in Mansfield, Mass, a Boston suburb, and, afterward, to speak at a gathering of 200-300 family and friends.

Taos is the first and only ski area in North America to earn the B-Corp badge, but across the winter sports industry, leaders are starting to make climate change and carbon reduction a priority.

As part of its B-Corp commitment, Taos is on its way to meeting an ambitious goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 20 percent by next year, through investments in more efficient snow-making and grooming, an electric fleet, and the purchase of carbon offsets for its Taos Air flights. You’re unlikely to find a plastic water bottle in the Blake (they’ll furnish you with a reusable container), which is heated and cooled geo-thermally. Taos has set a starting wage at more than 30 percent the state minimum wage of $7.50 an hour, and the ski valley’s charitable arm has donated an average of a quarter-million dollars a year in cash, goods and services to local causes since 2015, resort officials said.

Guests don’t get hit over the head with all this, but apparently they like it. An online B-Corp announcement in February 2017 resulted in the most lift tickets ever sold in Taos history. “We actually got messages saying ‘we’ve decided on you guys because you’ve gone to B-Corp,’” said Dawn Boulware, who heads up the area’s B-Corp efforts.

B-Corporation has also been good for the skiing. In a partnership with the Nature Conservancy and the National Forest Service that was part of its B-Corp application, the ski area has been selectively trimming hundreds of acres of forest. The trimming improves the forest’s resiliency to fire, and in the process protects water quality and enhances raptor habitat.