While the coverage from a surprise October dump mostly melted off, temperatures in the New Mexico mountains turned cold for good in the last couple of weeks—and snowmaking has begun in earnest. Plus, a storm system swarmed over the state at the beginning of November, and most resorts got a welcome foot or so of the real stuff.
One trigger for early-season snowmaking is daytime temperatures. If they stay in the 30s or below, the night’s artificial “snowfall” won’t melt away. New Mexico’s mountain valleys have consistently stayed below that temperature in the last couple of weeks, so skiers and riders can anticipate a solid base when they arrive for opening day. Another helping hand has been the early-season snowfall on which manmade snow sticks and stays better than bare ground.
Overnight temps at Red River Ski Area dipped low enough to fire up the system on Nov. 1, and Angel Fire Resort put water and pressure in the lines three days later. Farther to the south, mountain managers at Ski Santa Fe and Sandia Peak have been watching the thermometer closely, in hopes of getting some base on the slopes this week. In Ruidoso, the snow guns have been firing at Ski Apache for more than a week.
The five resorts—Sipapu, Taos, Red River, Ski Santa Fe and Ski Apache—aim to start turning the lifts around Thanksgiving, while Angel Fire and Sandia figure mid-December will be the right time to get it going.