Recent snowfall a boon for region’s resorts
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Last week’s storm was a blessing for the state as a whole — certainly for two ski areas that finally opened.
Pajarito Mountain began operations last Saturday and Sunday, and will be open again this Friday through Sunday. It missed all last year and was beginning to look like a repeat this season.
With a 26-inch base, it is running four lifts—the Mighty Mite, and beginner Aspen and Mother chairs. All facilities and 32 trails (eight beginner, eight intermediate and 16 expert) are open.
A decision to remain open will be made weekly, so be sure to check their website for details before heading out. Lift ticket prices are $49 for adults, $42 for seniors and teens, and $34 for kids. Kids under 7 and seniors over 69 ski for free.
Sandia Peak also began spinning its lifts last weekend, opening 95 percent of its terrain on an 18-inch base. It will remain open Thursdays-Sundays, and holidays, as long as conditions allow. All facilities will be open, including the cafeteria, the Snow Sports School, Cubby Corner Children’s Facility, the rental shop and Sandia Peak Sports Shop. Skiing can be accessed from N.M. 536 or the Sandia Peak Tramway.
For some surprisingly good powder skiing, catch it on a Thursday after a storm cycle. It’s uncrowded and most folks there are on the groomers.
Ski Apache, and Southeastern New Mexico as a whole, also benefitted from the last storm. It gained an enviable 24 inches and now sports a fat 45-inch base. This has enabled it to open about 95 percent of its runs.
Here’s a list of some upcoming special events at Ski Apache: every Saturday and Sunday enjoy free, open-to-all Apache Star Races. It costs $5 per race. On Feb. 14 also enjoy the Sisters on the Snow and Heart to Heart Race. The former is a clinic designed to help women improve their skiing or riding by gleaning tips from their fellow ladies facilitated by a ski-school instructor. It ends at the hot tubs at the Inn of the Mountain Gods.
On March 7 join Ski Apache’s Big Mountain Challenge. This comp crowns the person or team that can rack up the most vertical feet skiing or boarding that day. Racers must have some kind of GPS technology on their phone. The top individual will win a season pass. Teams must consist of three people: including a woman, a snowboarder, someone over 50, and someone under 20. Teams can win $500.
March 18 it will present a Pond Skim and Beach Bod Contest, and on March 28, close out the season (weather permitting) with shovel racing.
More Colorado events
We conclude our summary of upcoming Colorado ski area special events.
Wolf Creek reports the region’s best base — 48 inches. Here, on Feb. 1, join Women Who Rip, an intensive instruction and skiing clinic taught by Blue Linder. It stresses fundamentally sound form; staying strong, safe and graceful in tough conditions; gaining confidence in moguls, steeps and powder; making strong, dynamic turns; reading terrain; and feeling confident with higher speeds. The course will repeat on Feb. 8.
On Feb. 15, the area will hold its free President’s Race, featuring a head-to-head dual slalom course for skiers and boarders. Feb. 21-22 it presents the BackCountry Babes Clinic, and on Feb. 21 it will also host regional ski team races the public is invited to watch.
On Feb. 22, March 22, March 28 and April 4, Wolf Creek will tip its hat to college students; anyone with a current college ID will get a lift ticket for $41. It will hold its final fun race open to all on Easter, April 5, which is also its projected closing date.
Telluride checks in with a 43-inch base. On Feb. 8, enjoy reggae legends The Wailers in the second installment of the Telluride Conference Center Winter Music Series. On Feb. 19 and 20, check out Leftover Salmon, featuring Bill Payne, at the classic Sheridan Opera House.
Feb. 21 is the date for a Rail Jam comp. Sign-up is noon to 2 p.m. at Bootdoctors in the Mountain Village. Entry is $15/person (under 18-signature of parent required).
Gay Ski Week, Feb. 22-March 1, is an annual event produced by StraightOut Media & Marketing with support from the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association and benefitting the Telluride AIDS Benefit.
Another major regional big mountain comp Subaru Freeride Series event sets up shop March 4-8, with ski and snowboard divisions for adult men and women.
April 5 closing day festivities will include a pond skim at Gorrono Ranch and music from DJ Soul Atomic.
Monarch Mountain, sporting a 46-inch base, presents a Kid Fest on April 5, with face painting, crafts, a butterfly hunt, interactive snow sculptures, kids terrain park challenge and more.
On April 11 enjoy the wacky Kayaks on Snow party, Monarch’s signature event. Contestants race head to head, similar to Skier Cross, down a specially designed course featuring berms, banks and bumps, ending in an icy pond! Finally, join the closing day Tailgate Party & Cookoff on April 12. Winning cooks will win next year’s season pass, among other goodies.