Apache Arrow Gondola Ready To Fly In New Mexico Friday
The devastating wildire that ripped through the Ruidoso area of Southern New Mexico in June didn’t spare Ski Apache, a favorite of West Texans and locals. Those summer flames led to $15 million in improvements, including a new Apache Arrow Gondola.
The Apache Arrow is the only passenger gondola in New Mexico and grand opening ceremonies are set for Friday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. Ski Apache is located on the flank of Sierra Blanca 12 miles above Ruidoso and is owned by the Mescalero Apache Tribe.
Dignitaries set to be on hand for the launch include Mescalero Apache Tribe President Frederick Chino Jr., Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort and Casino CEO Frizzell Frizell Jr., and local and regional officials.
The Doppelmayer-built gondola will carry eight passengers in each car, climbing 1,646 feet in eight minutes. That’s nearly twice as fast as the previous gondola. It can carry 2,000 skiers per hour.
Fire damage caused the ski area to replace two lifts and those, combined with the new gondola, give the resort the highest lift capacity in the state at 3,600 people per hour.
The tribe approved the investment shortly after the fire damage had been assessed. The summer season was eliminated and construction work begun as soon as roads could be opened. The Ski Run access road is long and windy and was not open to the public until fall.
Residents and vacation planning families have been waiting anxiously for a formal announcement of the launch date for the gondola and it came via email to lodges, chambers and tourist operators in the Ruidoso area.
Top Photo: Apache Arrow Gondola, Ski Apache; Bottom Photo: Little Bear Fire, Ruidoso, NM (Facebook)