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Courtesy photo

The Hotel St. Bernard, an iconic fixture in the Taos Ski Valley, has been sold to the ski resort company owned by Louis Bacon, a friend of the hotel's late founder Jean Mayer.

The Hotel St. Bernard will be sold to Taos Ski Valley Inc., according to a press release from the Mayer family.

The summer before he died, Jean Mayer, a founding pioneer of Taos Ski Valley and owner/operator of Hotel St. Bernard, "approached his friend and owner of Taos Ski Valley, Louis Bacon, to let him know the time had come to unify" the hotel and the ski resort, according to the statement from both companies.

"Jean believed that Taos Ski Valley benefited from the soul of the Hotel St. Bernard and likewise, the Hotel St. Bernard benefited from a thriving Taos Ski Valley," the press release continued. "This union goes back to Jean's original intent in establishing the Hotel St. Bernard and the role he intended it to play in both meeting the heartfelt desires of his guests and as an indelible icon and pillar of the spirit of the mountain."

Monique Mayer Jacobson, Jean's daughter and personal representative of his estate, said by email the family's remarks in the press release "really came from the heart."

"Our father is the smartest businessman I have ever known," Monique said in the press release. "He had the unique combination of an incredibly empathetic heart and a razor-sharp mind. I believe the arrangement he crafted reflects both his intellect and his intuition. It cements the Hotel St Bernard's role as the soul of Taos Ski Valley."

According to the hotel's press, Jean Mayer and Louis Bacon formed a "joint venture" last summer where Mayer would "continue to set the overall vision for the partnership, while Taos Ski Valley would assume day-to-day operations and management. The agreement specified that upon Jean's passing, Louis Bacon and the resort would purchase the lodge and Jean's vision would live on forever."

With Mayer's death Oct. 9, 2020, TSV Inc. will purchase the hotel, which was built in 1960, and continue to honor its legacy as the "soul of Taos Ski Valley."

"I'm humbled to have Jean Mayer's confidence and trust," Bacon said in the release. "Jean and I spoke at length about his vision of how the St. Bernard and Taos Ski Valley are bound by the same founding principles. The hotel will remain a vital and integral part of Taos Ski Valley. Everyone at the resort is committed to ensuring Jean's spirit, legacy and memory are preserved. We are grateful to Jean for his vision, and to the Mayer family for the opportunity."

Dadou Mayer, Jean's younger brother and renowned ski instructor, said in a phone call from Hawaii on Oct. 13, "My intent is to keep my brother's spirit alive. I look forward to honoring my brother's dream for the mountain, the hotel and Taos Ski Valley, by continuing to serve our guests and working alongside the incredible staff of the St. Bernard."

Dadou Mayer said he and the St. Bernard's staff of familiar faces will continue to welcome guests and bring to life Jean's vision.

Andrea Heckman, a more than 40-year employee of the St. Bernard, said in an email last week, "The staff of the St. Bernard are still grieving the loss of Jean with the fondest memories of our years with him. Today, Friday, Nov. 13, as the state of New Mexico goes into lockdown again, it is hard to imagine our future at this time.

"Jean had a good relationship with Louis Bacon and hopefully this will be a positive transition for Jean's children," Heckman said. "As one of his longest staff members, I think the greatest gift is to honor Jean's incredible legacy and years of contributions to Taos Ski Valley. He should always be remembered at the guiding force behind ski school and as the heart of TSV as it grew over the years."

Evan Blish also worked decades with and for Jean Mayer and emailed this comment Monday (Nov. 16): "So happy to hear that the wonderful legacy that Jean created will continue. I had the honor and the privilege of working there for 40 years. It was a special time and wonderful to be a part of the St. Bernard family. Jean was more than the boss, he was a great friend. Hope the transition goes smoothly and magic continues."

"We are proud that our Pop's legacy will continue to thrive in Taos Ski Valley," Mayer Jacobson said, "and that the families who have visited for decades will have the opportunity to do so for years and years to come."

At press time, and COVID-19 protocols permitting, the hotel is scheduled to open Dec. 19 at 25 percent capacity, or as allowed by state law. No outdoor or in-house dining is allowed from Nov. 16 through Nov. 30, 2020.

For more information, see stbernardtaos.com/ or call (575) 776-2251.

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