Lloyd Bolander Sipapu founderLloyd Bolander, founder of New Mexico’s Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort, has died, 62 years after he opened northern New Mexico’s oldest ski area.
Bolander died, Jan. 20, at his home in Vadito, just miles from the resort he founded. He was 86 years old. ??

“Lloyd was one of the last true pioneers of New Mexico. He and Olive had a vision for their family and community that they successfully brought to fruition through their vibrant spirits and sheer determination.That vision is carried on by his children and those of us that are blessed to be a part of his family,” said Sipapu managing partner James Coleman. “He never stopped learning and striving to be his best. He directly impacted the lives of tens of thousands and will be dearly missed.”
A New Mexico native, Bolander grew up in Penasco, and began skiing at age three, shooting the gaps between pine trees on U.S. Hill near Taos on skis purchased from Montgomery Ward. ?In 1950, Bolander and his new bride, Olive, bought 13 acres of riverfront property in the Sangre de Cristo mountains with a simple but meaningful desire to create a sustainable life doing something they loved in the valley they called home.

Two years later, he opened his ski area with a 100-foot-long portable rope tow and charged 50 cents per lift ticket. He christened his slope “Sipapu,” a Tewa word for “land of paradise.”??Over the years, Lloyd – with the support of his wife and children – added and replaced lifts, put in new trails, hand-built all of the resort’s slopeside lodging, and opened a rental shop, restaurant, and store.

He was most passionate about teaching others – especially children – how to ski. He founded the Sipapu School Program, which offers deep discounts to local schools who brought their classes to learn to ski (His daughter, Sue, Sipapu’s Ski School Director, carries on this initiative today).

Photo: Lloyd Bolander founded Sipapu Resort in 1952 (Sipapu/Facebook)