For spectacular views of Albuquerque, especially as the sun sets over the West Mesa, visitors head straight to the Sandia Peak Tramway.
The tram, one of the city’s most popular attractions, carries visitors up a 2.7-mile, 4,000-foot ascent in 15 minutes. At the top, people can explore more than 26 miles of trails or visit the Sandia Peak Ski Area.
The tram opened in 1966 after co-owner Robert Nordhaus visited European ski areas and rode their trams. He came back and told business partner Ben Abruzzo, ‘We’ve got to do this,’?” says Abruzzo’s son, Louis Abruzzo, president and chairman of the Sandia Peak Tram Co.
At the time, the road to Sandia Peak was difficult to pass in winter, making the tram an inspired way to bring ski visitors to the top. Almost immediately, the tram became a year-round tourist attraction, Abruzzo says.
It took about two years to get financing in place and another two years to build it.
“As it turned out, the financing became very challenging,” Abruzzo says. “They had to practically hock their children to get it done. But somehow they pulled it off. Looking back, it was almost miraculous.”