New Mexico has hit its stride as a ski destination, in part due to its dry, fluffy powder, sunshine and family-friendly ski culture.
“You go to Taos Ski Valley and the owner might be driving the shuttle,” says George Brooks, the executive director of Ski New Mexico.
Many towns capitalize on their slopes, including Red River and Angel Fire, which also boast cross-country ski trails.
Other ski areas include Pajarito Mountain near Los Alamos, Sandia Peak outside Albuquerque, Ski Santa Fe, Ski Apache near Ruidoso and Sipapu Ski Resort, 20 miles southeast of Taos.
The first commercial skiing was available at what is now Sandia Peak, which opened a ski lift in 1937, Abruzzo says.
Taos Ski Valley, started by Ernie Blake in 1955, was one of the first to promote skiing outside the state. In 2008, it was also one of the last major ski resorts to lift a ban on snowboarding.
In 2010, nearly 692,000 skiers visited New Mexico, generating a $386 million economic impact. About 65 percent of ski visitors come from outside New Mexico, most from Texas, Brooks says.