Taos Ski Valley founder

Passing Date: 
Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rhoda Blake, 97, who helped her husband Ernie Blake to found Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico, died November 3, 2015, after a brief illness.


Rhoda Limburg was born April 8, 1918, in London and was orphaned during World War I.  She was adopted by a New York State supreme court justice, and raised in New York. While skiing at Stowe at Christmas 1940, she met Ernst Bloch (later Blake). They skied together in Colorado, and spent a summer in New Mexico, where she was taking art classes. They were married in 1942. 


After the war the couple returned to New Mexico and founded Taos Ski Valley in 1954. Locally, Rhoda was recognized as the practical implementer who enabled Ernie to function as a marketing genius. In addition to holding a variety of management roles, she taught skiing. In the 1992 book Ski Pioneers, Ernie called her his “co-conspirator” and trail designer and U.S. Forest Service snow ranger Pete Totemoff said that “Rhoda made it go…If Ernie hadn’t had Rhoda, I don’t think he would have made a success of it.”

“We went into it as a way of life,” Rhoda told author Rick Richards in Ski Pioneers (winner of a 1994 ISHA Award). “We liked living in the mountains, and all we required was sustenance and a roof over our heads. We never really anticipated it really being a big business.”


Ernie died in 1989, and the Blake family sold the resort in 2013. Rhoda is survived by three children and their spouses—Mickey (wife Ann), Wendy Stagg (husband Chris) and Peter, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.





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