Ski resorts not ready yet

Posted at: 11/20/2012 6:44 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

For those hoping to escape the shopping mayhem of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and instead retreat to a ski resort, you may be out of luck.

Sandia Peak Ski Area is nowhere near open, and while Ski Santa Fe has some snow, it is not enough to officially open just yet.

The question is not if but when snow will fall, forecasters said, and that unanswered question has both Sandia Peak Ski Area and Ski Santa Fe somewhat at the mercy of mother nature.

Tuesday afternoon, the only action found at Sandia Peak Ski Are was inside the pro shop.

The mountain was dry and desolate, with no sign of any white powder, real or man-made.

"Unfortunately, in this area with so little water to use for snow making, we're kind of dependent on mother nature," Brian Coon, operations manager at Sandia Peak Ski Area, said.

Typically, Ski Santa Fe gets snow first, and they have.  Most of the mountain, however, is covered with what has been man-made snow over the past three weeks.

"We're going to need some more help from the storms to get us going for winter," Benny Abruzzo, owner of Ski Santa Fe, said.

Ed Polasko with the National Weather Service predicted a normal snow season for the Santa Fe area, adding Sandia Peak may need a little extra hope.

"The weather crystal ball, so to speak, doesn't really show any good storms coming in our direction," Polasko said.  "In most years, Sandia will get enough snow to open but the real question is when."

Coon said he is still optimistic and is hoping the snow comes all at once, like last December.

"We're really crossing our fingers the models aren't our doom and gloom this year," Coon said.

On a busy day, as many as 3,000 skiers and boarders can hit the Sandia slopes, and as many as 4,500 in Santa Fe.

Kids may want to make their Christmas list early and check it twice this year.

"They should put snow first on their list and skis and snow boards second," Abruzzo said.

Ski Santa Fe will be open as soon as 48 hours after some natural snow fall.

Sandia Peak Ski Area expects to open by mid-December, assuming Albuquerque gets some winter weather between now and then.

Sipapu, Taos and Red River will be open with limited runs this weekend.