Long runs, quick access from Albuquerque, cheap
SLOW lifts, poor snow quality, lack of terrain variety
Considering I woke up in my bed in Waco, Texas at 4 am and was skiing in New Mexico at 11 am, I can't complain too much. My dad and I caught the first flight out of Dallas, and the trip from the Albuquerque airport up to the base of the mountain takes about 45 minutes. That part makes Sandia Peak a nice stop at the beginning of a trip, especially since you can really ski everything you want here in half a day anyway.
The 1700 feet of vertical is pretty decent, and the runs feel longer than that, so that's a definite plus. However, the good ends there.
We were told the place had received six to eight inches of fresh snow the day before we arrived, so we did not experience any of the icy conditions I've read about from others. However, everything was incredibly choppy by the time we got there (no smooth, fresh tracks left), so we did not reap the benefits of that snow. It was leg-churning, to say the least, and our early morning travel probably didn't help that situation. To add to the frustration, absolutely nothing was groomed, so we could not help but fight through choppy clumps of snow every run down the mountain. It would be nice if they groomed at least one or two routes from the top.
We timed the lifts. 18 minutes is the fastest trip you can hope for from bottom to top. That is painfully slow. One updated chair would add so much value to this place, it would be incredible. It doesn't even have to be a high-speed, detachable lift, but a newer quad that could do the trip in 12 minutes or so. That would make me think about coming back if I knew there were decent conditions.
I will say that the runs on both edges of the property are a lot of fun. They have some nice twists and turns to them, and they stay secluded in the trees for most of the way down. Double Eagle, in particular, was my favorite. Diablo was also really good (marked black, but really an intermediate run).
All in all, I'm sure this is a decent option for the locals, especially with the use of the tram from town, and it is the only mountain that you can realistically get to from the airport and still have a ski day left, but it's nothing you should go out of your way for.