Dadou Mayer - Taos Legend

Passing Date

Bernard “Dadou” Mayer, Taos ski instructor and hotelier, died August 16 at age 85.

Mayer, with his older brother Jean, grew up racing in the southern Alps north of Nice, and was a regional junior champion. He trained as a chef and hotelier, and taught skiing at Club Med in Leysin, Switzerland. In 1958, with his parents and sisters, he followed Jean to New Mexico. The family built the Hotel St. Bernard at Taos, and Jean became technical director of the ski school. Dadou, after butting heads with Taos owner Ernie Blake, resumed his own career as a ski instructor and coach at Red River, where he became ski school director.

In 1961, Blake induced Dadou to return to Taos, in part by arranging purchase of a plot of land. On this property, in 1964 Dadou and his wife Ilse built the Hotel Edelweiss, which, with the St. Bernard, became a second locus of French/Swiss hospitality and cuisine at the resort.

As technical and assistant directors, Jean and Dadou then became the twin face of the Taos Ski School. Their dedication to efficient high-performance ski technique became a powerful influence on other Rocky Mountain region ski schools, helping to wean instructors away from artificial European-based national skiing styles.

Dadou was elected to the New Mexico Ski Hall of Fame in 2016.