Climb Sipapus impressive snow castle.
Dorie Hagler/sipapu ski and summer resort

Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort

Facts & Stats
Base elevation: 8,200 feet | Top elevation: 9,255 feet | Vertical drop: 1,055 feet | Skiable acres: 200 | Number of runs: 41 trails; 20% beginner, 40% intermediate, 40% expert | Number of lifts: 5 | Terrain Parks: 4 — Flight School (organic), The Playground (organic), Don Diego, Pedro’s | Adult full-day ticket: $44 | Lodging: On-site

Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort
5224 State Highway 518
(800) 587-2240
(575) 587-2240

You can’t beat family-owned Sipapu’s generous, if somewhat quirky, deals: Active-duty military, kids 6 and under, fourth-graders (with a report card), 40-year-olds, 60-year-olds and people 70 or older ski free. On Car Load Days, up to six people in a single vehicle ski or board for $50 total. And with the purchase of a $44 lift ticket, all guests — regardless of age, grade or vehicle load — stay a night free in the on-site hotel.
Money saving aside, Sipapu is a fun mountain with enough challenges to satisfy experienced skiers and boarders despite its small footprint. Guests can try ski-biking and snowboarding or play at one of the two organic terrain parks, made entirely of logs from the surrounding forest. At Sipapu’s base, Riverside Cafe and Paradise Bar and Grill, both part of the resort, serve New Mexican cuisine and happy-­hour specials daily from 4 to 6 p.m. The lodge’s rooms are purposely simple, with no TVs or phones. Taos and Santa Fe are 20 miles and 65 miles away by car, respectively.

For kids: Sipapu bills itself as the most family-friendly ski area in New Mexico, and lift prices reflect that. Kids 7 and older who have never skied or snowboarded get a free lesson with the purchase of a full-day, full-price ticket.

Ski Apache

Facts & Stats
Base elevation: 9,600 feet | Top elevation: 11,500 feet | Vertical drop: 1,900 feet | Skiable acres: 750 | Number of runs: 55 trails; 20% beginner, 60% intermediate, 20% expert | Number of lifts: 11 | Terrain Parks: 3 — Easy Street, Gondola Lift Line, Deep Freeze | Adult full-day ticket: $55 | Lodging: Inn of the Mountain Gods and Ruidoso

Ski Apache
1286 Ski Run Road
(800) 545-9011
(575) 464-3600

Ruidoso Visitor Info

Hubbard Museum of the
American West
26301 West U.S. Highway 70
Ruidoso Downs
(575) 378-4142

Inn of the Mountain Gods
287 Carrizo Canyon Road
(800) 545-9011

Located near Ruidoso in southern New Mexico, Ski Apache is North America’s southernmost ski area. Owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache tribe, Ski Apache has introduced three ski lifts this year, including the eight-passenger Doppelmayr Gondola, and has snowmaking capabilities for when weather doesn’t cooperate. The Elk Lodge now has 12 slot machines, making Ski Apache the first ski resort in the nation with slopeside gaming. Four on-site restaurants keep everyone fueled, and the Spirit Bar in the main lodge helps take off the chill after a day on the slopes, which top out at 11,500 feet.

The nearby Mescalero-owned Inn of the Mountain Gods has 273 luxury rooms and suites, fine dining, an 18-hole championship golf course, an indoor pool, a club and a casino. You can also shop Ruidoso’s charming downtown and explore cowboy history at the Hubbard Museum of the American West at nearby Ruidoso Downs.

For kids: The little ones can try the Trikke Skki, a three-ski snow bike; take skiing and boarding lessons; or soar down the tubing run.