Tree skiing, prices
Limited terrain and vertical, slow service in lodge
Sipapu is a small, fun area tucked away off the beaten path in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. It boasts the longest ski season in New Mexico, despite having the lowest base and summit elevations in New Mexico. This is a con to me, as you would think that with this advertisement the snow conditions would be good for a long time. The conditions can be very maringal at times, and unless you are skiing on fresh snow, can be very variable at anytime during the season.
The best part of Sipapu is the tree skiing available off of lift 4. On a powder day, this is the best kept secret in New Mexico. You can still get fresh tracks at the end of the day, and the terrain up there is great! On the downside, this is a tough area to lap, and usually requires skiing back to the bottom of the mountain, and taking 2 lift rides to get back up. They also close this area earlier that what seems to be necessary, at 3:00. There is no reason that they can't progressively close this area starting at 2:00, leaving the last runs open until 3:30. Outside of the terrain off of lift 4, you are mostly looking at gentle blue groomers, not very exciting if you have a couple of years of skiing under your belt.
Service in the lodge can also be very spotty here. They advertise free wifi in the restaurant, however it never worked when I was there this past season, and the staff members said that it had not been working all season. The wait to get lift tickets in the store can also be slow, and the system is not very well organized. I have been sent from one register to another, despite signage indicating that lift tickets are available at the register I am at. This is frustrating when you just want to get on the mountain.
I also have to give the area kudos for the snow castle that they built at President's Day weekend. I don't have kids, but it looked like a lot of fun for the kids who took advantage of it!
If you visit in the summer, make sure to take advantage of the world class disc golf course that Sipapu offers.
For the price, Sipapu does deliver. Just don't expect to be blown away by the snow, terriain, or service offered at this area. And the trees are not to be missed on a powder day!