Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort in New Mexico is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsSipapu Ski and Summer Resort is 20 miles southeast of Taos, New Mexico, in the small town of Vadito, along the banks of the Rio Pueblo. The resort is a little more than an hour from Sante Fe and less than three hours from Albuquerque or Santa Rosa. American Eagle Airlines in Sante Fe offers flights between Sante Fe and Dallas-Fort Worth or Los Angeles, but the nearest major airport is Albuquerque International Sunport, about 2 1/2 hours away. Sipapu has been a family-owned, family-friendly resort since 1952.
The MountainSipapu Mountain is nestled in Carson National Forest, which runs through the Rocky Mountains of northern New Mexico. Sipapu's peak elevation is 9,255 feet, and the vertical drop is 1,055 feet, with a skiable area of 200 acres, including steeps and glades. An average annual snowfall of 190 inches, supplemented by snowmaking on 70 percent of the resort's trails, allows Sipapu to offer New Mexico's longest ski season, from November to April.
Trails And LiftsSipapu Ski and Summer Resort has 41 trails. Twenty percent are for beginners, 40 percent are for intermediate skiers, 25 percent are for advanced skiers and 15 percent are for experts. The resort has two terrain parks: Pedro's Park, on the Thumper Trail, is comfortable for beginners, and the larger, more advanced park, which is found on the intermediate Loose Caboose Trail, features a large teeter-totter and "a large box, a pipe, several kickers, and more," according to a Sipapu press release issued in January 2011. A notable feature is a large satellite dish. The five lifts include two triple chairs, two platters and one magic carpet. Sipapu's lifts run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no night skiing at Sipapu.
In The NewsWinter activities, in addition to skiing and snowboarding, include snowblading, Telemark skiing, ski biking and the ski school, as well as nearby cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Special winter activities include Telefest, a Telemark festival; February Fun Fest, which includes a snow castle, treasure hunt, costume contest and games; and a Cardboard Derby, in which participants build a cardboard vehicle to race down the mountain. Some weekends also offer SkiBike Demo days, with free lessons and races. Sipapu was lauded in October 2010, when the resort's general manager, John Paul Bradley, was named Best Mountain Operator by Ski New Mexico. A press release from the resort notes that under Bradley's leadership, "Sipapu has doubled the number of trails and more than tripled the number of skier visits."
CostA full-day lift ticket is free for children 6 and younger, fourth-graders, 40-year-olds, 60-year-olds and seniors 70 and older; $37 for teens; $29 for children 7 to 12 and seniors 60 to 69; and $44 for adults 21 to 59. Season passes, which include three free days of skiing at a variety of partner resorts, are $499 for adults, $399 for students and $199 for kids and seniors. Rental prices for skis, boots and poles are $15 for adults and $12 for children, $25 for a snowboard and boots and $8 for a helmet. Full-day lessons are also available starting at $61 for children, and instruction is free for first-time skiers and snowboarders with the purchase of a lift ticket. Sipapu also offers several special deals, including free lodging with the purchase of a lift ticket on select days and a "Parents Ski Free" week in January, when a parent receives a free lift ticket with the purchase of a child's or teen's lift ticket.
Apres-SkiFor dining, Sipapu offers both the Riverside Cafe, on the second floor of the lodge, with a bar in the nearby lounge, and the Paradise Riverside Bar and Grill, an outdoor restaurant with food and a full bar. Thursday nights are open-mic nights at the Paradise Riverside Bar and Grill. Microbrew-Ski Saturdays feature different microbreweries, with samples of each brewery's beers. Lodging options include hotel rooms, cabins, mobile homes and apartments. There's also a campground and RV park. Many more lodging, restaurant and nightlife options are available in Taos, a half-hour drive from the resort.
WATCH: Sipapu Ski And Summer Resort
A snowboarder at Sipapu enjoys two runs, while a second snowboarder rides shirtless on a sunny day.