Taos Ski Valley purchaser Louis Bacon is founder and CEO of Moore Capital Management, a hedge fund company.
He is an avid conservationist, having donated conservation easements on more than 100,000 acres in Colorado to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to Forbes magazine website, Bacon is number 371 of the 400 richest people in America, with a net worth of $1.4 billion as of September 2013.
Bacon said he got his start in investing with a $25,000 inheritance from his mother, who died when he was young.
Originally from North Carolina, he has a Bachelor of Arts in science from Middlebury College in Vermont, and an Master of Business Administration from Columbia University.
He said he learned to ski when he was a student at Middlebury College. He had a season pass at Mad River Glen in Vermont. Bacon said he especially likes Taos Ski Valley, because it reminds him of Mad River.
His first foray into conservation projects was when he gave the development rights of an island off the coast of New York to the Nature Conservancy.
He said that at that point he realized how important it was for communities to “have open space for sanity.”
In 2007, he purchased the Trinchera Ranch in southeastern Colorado from the Forbes family for $175 million. Forbes magazine said that was the largest residential sale in the U.S. up to that time.
Forbes magazine said that after purchasing the Trinchera, he found that Tri-State Generation and Transmission and Xcel Energy planned to build a power line across the pristine land of the ranch. He caused the energy companies to back down from their plans.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service now holds a conservation easement on the Trinchera Ranch.
Bacon first bought property at Taos Ski Valley in 1996. His land is contiguous to the U.S. Forest Service boundary near the El Funko ski run, above the Bavarian restaurant.
He also owns property to the north of the lift ticket offices at TSV, formerly belonging to Tony Bryan and the Thunderbird Chalet.
He said he began working with Mickey Blake on the village master plan. “It was he who asked us to see if we were interested in taking over the reins of the ski area. At first I was dismissive.”
But Bacon said that TSV reminded him of Mad River Glen. “I realized that we could do it, that we were already invested in the base area.”
He said he realizes it is a “burden” to run a ski area. Bacon has not invested in any other similar ventures. “This is kind of a first, not a business I was hankering toward.”
Bacon said he realizes Taos is a special place.
He plans to make improvements to the area, but changes will start slowly, with Blake being a “senior member of the team.” Bacon will lean on Blake for advice about “local sympathies.”
Plans are not to over commercialize TSV. He said the challenge will be to safeguard “special things” at the ski area: “It will be a balancing act.”
He said he hopes a new lift to the top of Kachina Peak “will make it easier for those older legs to make it.” Bacon is in his mid 50s.
Bacon said that climate change concerns him, although he is hoping that Taos will benefit from more cold, snowy winters similar to this one.
Having “loved spending time in and around the area,” he hopes to make TSV an economic driver for the region.
“TSV is an iconic ski area both because of its expansive mountain terrain and the first-class team of management,” he said.