Just 20 miles southeast of Taos, Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort is Northern New Mexico’s oldest ski area, and it built its legacy on an unparalleled commitment to being the most affordable, family-friendly resort in the Rockies.
But this unassuming and undeniably old-school ski area has been working on a new snow sports learning experience for kids, and resort officials say they are ready to start unleashing it on Nov. 22 (when Sipapu clenches the “first to open in New Mexico” title for the 17th consecutive winter season).
Sipapu offers a unique experience. The mountain is a low-key atmosphere that’s attractive for families as well as skiers and snowboarders looking for untracked snow along with an unbeatable value. Variable lift-ticket prices start as low as $29. And be sure to check online for information about the popular free lodging program. Over specific dates throughout the season, guests can stay for free with the purchase of a full-price lift ticket.
New for this season is Camp Bigfoot — a multiweek, Saturday-only progressive children’s skiing and snowboarding program. A great way to start kids on a lifelong love of snow sports, this 4-session program introduces kids to snow sliding and progressive skill development.
Camp Bigfoot is open to youth, ages 5 to 12, of any skill level with an interest in learning snow-sliding skills. Full-day lessons begin at 10 a.m., with a one-hour lunch break. Classes resume until 3 p.m. Registration is Oct.15-Jan. 24.
Session 1: 4 weeks, Saturdays only from Jan. 25-Feb. 15 ending with the annual February Fun Fest. Instructor and group come up with a theme for the fest where they join in on the parade during the last day of lessons. Free hot cocoa at the end of each class.
Session 2: Pre-Spring Break Session, March 2-5 and March 4-8
Another new event being unveiled this winter is free s’more and family movie nights held on alternating weekends throughout the season.
Sipapu has always been about family, but don’t let that fool you: on Sipapu’s slopes, guests will discover incredible steeps, untracked powder (that locals know will stick around for days after a storm), multiple terrain parks and some of the best tree skiing in the state.
Lloyd Bolander, founder of Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort, is heralded as a true New Mexico pioneer. Raised in nearby Peñasco, New Mexico, Bolander began skiing as a toddler on a wooded hillside near Taos.
In 1950, with his wife, Olive, he bought 13 acres of Río Pueblo property in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, intending to live a sustainable lifestyle. In 1952, they installed a 100-foot portable rope tow and opened for business. Lift tickets were 50 cents. It was the first lift-served ski area in the state. Sipapu is a word used by ancient cultures that refers to portals, which mark a place where their ancestors came to consciousness or “a place of emergence.”
The Bolanders were inducted into the New Mexico Ski Hall of Fame in 2004.
Sipapu is one of seven total ski areas now owned and managed by Mountain Capital Partners.
On-site amenities include slope-side lodging, a full-service ski shop, ski school and riverside dining experience at the Riverside Café, and Paradise Riverside Bar and Grill.
— Staff report
Season Dates: Nov. 22-April 5 (Wildcard Weekend, Nov. 15-17)
Average annual snowfall: 190 inches
Average days of sunshine per year:
Number of trails: 41 trails
15 percent expert
25 percent advanced
40 percent intermediate
20 percent beginner
Number of Lifts: 6 total
1 quad chair
2 triple chairs
1 platter lift
2 magic carpets
Base elevation: 8,200 feet
Peak elevation: 9,255 feet
Vertical drop: 1,055 feet
Information: sipapu.ski; (800) 587-2240
Winter special events
Nov. 22: Opening Day with Sierra Nevada
Dec. 7-8: Stefan Seigman Memorial Race Weekend
Dec. 24: Christmas Eve party
Jan. 11, Feb. 15, March 14: Happy Hops Hunts
Jan. 12: Don Diego Slopestyle Competition
Jan. 18: Battle at Badgers USASA Rail Jam
Feb. 2: Super Bowl Celebration
Feb. 8: Moonlight Hike & Campfire
Feb. 8-9: Ski Bike Rally
Feb. 14: Love on the Lift
Feb. 15-17: February Fun Fest
Feb. 29: 6th Annual Lloyd Bolander Memorial Day & Race
March 7: Hawaiian Day
March 7: Moonlight Hike & Campfire
March 15: 16th Annual Cardboard Derby
March 21: 15th Annual Pond Skim
March 22: Last day of daily operations
March 27-29: Open Friday-Sunday
April 4-5: Tentative closing weekend
Saturdays, Dec. 14-March 30: Open Mic Night
Fridays and Saturdays: Ski with a park ranger
Every other Saturday, Nov. 23-April 4: S’mores on the Patio
Every other Saturday, Nov. 30-March 28: Family Movie Night
Dec. 13, Jan. 24, Feb. 7 and march 20: Monthly bingo for prizes
Dec. 27, Jan. 10, Feb. 14 and March 13: Free Music Fridays