Jean-Marie Henri Louis Mayer

Jean-Marie Henri Louis Mayer

Of Taos Ski Valley and Taos died peacefully after a battle with cancer on the evening of October 10th,2020 at the age of 85. Jean was a proud father and family man, an exquisite chef, and an accomplished athlete. Born in Paris, France, he was raised in Nice where he came to be a top ski racer as a member of the French junior ski team and a national champion. At the age of 18, Jean came to the US where he began his hospitality career working at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. After directing the ski patrol as a member of the 10th Mountain Division of the US Army while stationed in Garmisch, Germany, he was recruited by Ernie Blake to develop the ski school at Taos Ski Valley. By 1960 he had built and established his life’s work, the Hotel St. Bernard in Taos Ski Valley, where for the following 60 years he served as a lifelong ambassador for French Alpine ski culture, hospitality, and cuisine. He spent his winters giving daily expert ski instruction as the technical director of the Taos Ski School while hosting young chamber musicians of the Taos School of Music during the summer months at his hotel. With an unwavering commitment to community, skiing, friendship, and hospitality, Jean garnered the reputation as TSV’s Patron Saint of Skiing and in 2008 was inducted into the New Mexico Ski Hall of Fame. Jean is preceded in death by his parents Charles “Papa” Mayer and Nicole “Maman” Mayer, and his twin sister Chantal. He is survived by his life partner of 18 years Elise Waters Olonia; his children Michael, Sacha, Ryan, Monique, Kihei, Krizia, KaiLani, and Kody; his younger brother, Dadou, and sister, Tiki; and his seven wonderful grandchildren Drew, Reid, Brody, Giles, Elijah, Aubrey, and Devin. He is remembered by many beloved friends and a rich community that extends across the globe. Jean’s legacy will always live on through those who knew and loved him. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the “Ski New Mexico Jean Mayer Fund” which has been set up to ensure New Mexico’s children have access to our beautiful slopes. Checks can be mailed to: Ski New Mexico, PO Box 90037 Albuquerque, NM 87199. A virtual public memorial service is planned for October 18, 2020 at sunset (5:30 PM MST). Information can be found through the Hotel St. Bernard website: and the Hotel St. Bernard Facebook Page.   Arrangements by Rivera Family Funeral Home, Taos.  To share a memory, please visit our website at

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Always a joy and inspiration to see Jean on the mountain and in the St. B. A life well lived.

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