A view of other mountains in the state to slide down

As temperatures continue to drop in New Mexico, the start of ski season draws near.

Here’s a look at the rest of the mountains you can slide down in the Land of Enchantment.

Ski Santa Fe


With Sandia Peak ski area closed for the second year in a row, local skiers must look north for quick access to the slopes.

Luckily, Ski Santa Fe has made a concerted push to increase its snowmaking efforts in recent years. And it pays off.

“Basically, we’ve been focused on improving our snowmaking capacity and efficiency for many reasons,” said Jack Dant, Ski Santa Fe’s mountain manager. “We can’t rely on natural snowfall.”

Since snowfall is always a dubious matter, it just makes sense, he said.

“In order to be able to open early and on holidays and to get the community on the slopes and into the winter fun, we need to be able to generate enough artificial snow,” he said. “In order for us to open the lower mountain and base, we need a significant amount of storage and water, power capacity for the water line, and enough for snow cannons. We needed to be able to do everything at once when the cold weather windows are here.”

To that end, about 6,000 feet of secondary power underground was operated this summer, eliminating the need to lug around portable generators, Dant said.

In the last five years, the ski resort has purchased 22 snow guns from Demaclenko, which are considered the best in the business. “They’re top-of-the-line snow guns that make more snow at a lower energy cost, and they’re more efficient at using water because they use 18 gallons per minute and really aerate the water to the point where we do with a gun, what you do.” You just couldn’t do it with a gun 20-25 years ago,” Dant said. “We make snow instead of ice and we do it with less water and less electricity.”

In addition, the ski resort has rights to 23 million gallons of water “and we’re hoping to get that water on the slopes by December 31 and hopefully by Christmas,” he said. “What we do is take a substance and create a third use for it, recreation. And we see all sorts of side effects from bringing people into the forest, learning about the environment and getting used to it. It’s great for the community, great for school classes and families and people from all backgrounds.”

Planned opening day: November 24th.

On Pajarito Mountain near Los Alamos, the slopes will soon beckon. (Courtesy of Pajarito Mountain)

Ski resort at Mount Pajarito


At the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area outside of Los Alamos, the focus is on its ability to enhance skiers’ appreciation and ability on the slopes with one of the top local ski schools, said Christiana Hudson, Pajarito’s director of marketing.

Four-week courses for skiers ages 5 to 12 are held every Saturday morning in February, she said, and a version for skiers ages 12 and up is held every Saturday afternoon in February.

Planned opening day: TBD.

Ski Apache


Down south, Ruidoso is more of a trek, but Ski Apache offers a style of skiing unique to the sport, said Ken Marlatt, director of operations.

“We have the best warm-weather ski resort in the world,” he said. “It’s the southernmost major ski area, so we have the best warm-weather skiing. Since the top of the mountain is 11,600 feet, it still gets cooler at night. The snow is getting harder.”

That means you can comfortably wear a T-shirt until mid-afternoon, Marlatt said.

“You can’t go anywhere else and get that,” he said.

Also, because the base of the mountain is 9,600 feet, it generates a significant amount of downhill momentum,” said Marlatt.

The mountain’s snowmaking has been underway since September, he said, meaning it should be open and ready for skiers before the holidays arrive.

Throw in a high-speed zipline that reaches speeds of 60 miles per hour over three spans, “and you’re in for some very high-quality fun.”

Planned opening day: TBD.

Ski Cloudcroft


A little further south at Ski Cloudcroft, fingers are crossed when waiting for a good snow dump, said the ski resort’s Jessica Beach.

“Last year we were open and it was a really great time,” she said. “We’re hoping to pick up momentum and do it all over again.”

Planned opening day: TBD.