Sufficient November snowfall and a steady diet of cold nights across the southern tier of the Rockies assured resorts in New Mexico and Arizona that they will open on time.
As tradition has had it, Sipapu was the first to open Nov. 16 with three lifts serving four trails. On the same day, Arizona Snowbowl raised the ropes. The Grand Canyon high-speed chair is delivering skiers and riders to three trails to start the season.
The big news in the region comes from Taos, where ownership keeps plowing money into the 65-year-old resort. The first high-speed chair on the mountain replaces a pair of fixed-grip lifts up iconic Al’s Run, running to mid-mountain. Also at Taos, two backside restaurants got overhauls, including a new kitchen and porch on the famous Bavarian with its steins of beer, wienerschnitzel and dirndl-clad waitresses.
The news at Sipapu is about the future. This fall, Durango-based owners unveiled a long-term master plan that would triple the skiable terrain, add three high-speed chairs and a mountaintop lodge – among others.
Also owned by Mountain Capital Partners in Durango, Arizona Snowbowl faithful will get to enjoy the second season of the Hart Prairie beginner lift and other improvements that have gone in since the group bought the Flagstaff day mountain in 2014. Kids 10 and under ski free without any strings.
Capital city Ski Santa Fe and Sandia Peak above Albuquerque are just happy that there’s snow on the ground this early season. Last year, both struggled to provide sufficient artificial snow, with Sandia Peak opening but closing shortly thereafter.