Ernie Blake Ski School instructor Jeff Mugleston leads a class of skiers at Taos Ski Valley. (Courtesy Photo: Jeff Caven)
By Casey Peacock: Freedom Newspapers
With five ski resorts operating in New Mexico and more scheduled to open in the coming days, this ski season is shaping up to be much improved over last year’s, according to ski resort officials.
Officials said they hope the colder weather will bring more snow and improve snow-making and ski conditions this ski season.
Taos Ski Valley Marketing Director Adriana Blake reports the front side of the mountain is open for skiing from top to bottom and will be fully open on both sides by Saturday. The resort currently has a natural base of 24 inches with an additional 13 inches of manmade snow, bringing the total to 37 inches, said Blake.
“It’s all really well covered,” she said.
Citing a bad season last year, she said resort officials have high hopes the upcoming season will be much improved.
“Currently the weather is really cold, which is improving the conditions,” said Blake. “I think it’s going to be much better than last season.”
Ski Apache near Ruidoso reported 10 inches of new snow in the past week with a 10-inch midway base, according to its Web site. The Mescalero Apache tribe-owned ski area reported five trails and three lifts open with snow-making going on this week.
Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, near Los Alamos, is getting set to open as soon as possible, said Vice President and General Manager Tom Long.
The resort has a reported five to six inches of snow on the ski area, with six to eight inches being reported on top. Snow received from the last two snows have stayed on the mountain. The resort is set to open once the area is prepared and employees undergo training, said Long.
“As soon as Mother Nature smiles on us again, we will do our part,” said Long.
Red River Ski Area in northern New Mexico is 25 percent open, said Andi Barkis, guest services assistant. The resort has a 28-inch base, with 10 inches of snow received from the last storm. Eight runs are open, with more to be opened up this weekend, said Barkis.
Sipapu Ski Resort, near Taos, is 20 percent open, with more runs set to open soon, said Assistant General Manager Lisa Lopez. On Monday, the resort received six inches of new snow. The resort has two lifts open and 22 inches of manmade snow, said Lopez.
“I think it will be a good season,” said Lopez.
Opening last Friday, Ski Santa Fe has a 15-inch base with 10 percent of the mountain open, said spokesperson Debbie Owen.
She said Sandia Peak Ski Area at Albuquerque is set to open Saturday, and will add terrain as additional snow falls.
“We are off to a better start,” said Owen. “We have more natural snow this year than last year.”
Angel Fire Resort
Prices: $40 to $52
Pajarito Mountain Ski Resort
Prices: $23 to $43
Red River Ski Resort
Prices: $19 to $27
Sipapu Ski Resort
Prices: $15 to $38
Prices: $22 to $41
Prices: $16 to $32
Ski Santa Fe
Prices: $26 to $35
Taos Ski Valley
Prices: Lift ticket $59