Day Trip: Ski Apache opens Dec. 17

Courtesy Photo
A skier hits the powder at Ski Apache. The southern New Mexico ski resort opens Dec. 17.

Compiled by Mike Jimenez

It’s time to think skiing for those who have been anxiously waiting for the season to begin. Dec. 17 is the scheduled date for Ski Apache to officially open, according to the latest information from Ski Apache’s online publication, Ski E-News. According to Marketing Manager Ross Anderson, himself a world class speed skier, this year the resort is focusing on the whole ski experience like never before.

WHAT IS IT
Ski Apache is one of New Mexico’s larger ski resorts offering New Mexico’s only gondola as well as triple and quad chairs that assist in eliminating long lines, according to their website. Ski Apache offers skiing and snowboarding for all levels, with 55 trails, 850 acres of skiable terrain and a fall line of over 1,800 feet which begins at 11,400 foot elevation. From Easy Street to the Snow Park, no two runs are alike.

In 2004, a new area opened called the Boneyard Terrain Park that features rails, jumps, and cool music for the extreme snowboarders and skiers.

WHERE IS IT
The Mescalero Apache tribe owned Ski Apache resort is located on Sierra Blanca, just a short drive from Ruidoso. Driving from Portales is easy as it is located on Highway 70, traveling west. It is approximately 170 miles to Ruidoso from Portales and you should allow a minimum of 3 hours of driving time one way. Locating the ski resort from Ruidoso requires that you enter Ruidoso on Sudderth Drive, turning right on Mechem and following the signs to the ski area 14 miles from town. From Ruidoso you can also take the Ski Apache Express shuttle service that departs at 7:30 a.m. and returns at 4 p.m. daily.

WHAT TO DO
The Ski Apache Web site indicates that to kick off the season, the resort will feature the band Bad Chili at the lodge.

The main lodge has been recently upgraded, and the Web site says that 13 runs will be ready to go, and if mother nature lends a hand, there will be more by opening weekend. According to Ski E-News the terrain park will be groomed and ready on opening weekend.

Speed skier Anderson will be available for signing posters on opening weekend. Anderson is seeded number three on the World Cup tour for speed skiers in 2006.

There will be a special promotion to say thanks to the members of the Homeland Security forces. Please see the Web site for further details.

There are many options for lodging at local hotels and motels in Ruidoso, along with the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino on mountain. Prices can be viewed at their Web site.

WHO TO CONTACT
For further information, please see their website at www.skiapache.com or call them at 505-464-3600.