Most skiers and riders will tell you that heading up the slopes is a gamble worth taking. Now Ski Apache wants to add to that wintertime payoff.
The southern New Mexico ski and snowboard mountain has installed a bank of slot machines at its slopeside Elk Lodge. The facility will be the third gaming outlet for the Mescalero Apache, who own and operate Ski Apache above Ruidoso.
"So, you can come up and ski and play some slot machines, maybe win a little bit of money while you ski. That's the new addition we have this year," director of operations Justin Rowland told The Ruidoso News.
Most of Ski Apache is leased by the tribe from the National Forest Service. Elk Lodge is located in the south of the ski area, on reservation land. The tribe also owns Inn of the Mountain Gods casino and hotel, and Casino Apache Travel Center, both located south of Ruidoso.
Ski Apache has a vertical drop of 1,900 feet, with 55 trails covering 750 acres. The terrain lies on two northern ridges of 12,003-foot Sierra Blanca. The highest lift-served elevation is 11,500 feet, reached by a triple-chair in Apache Bowl. The ski mountain opened in 1961 as Sierra Blanca Ski Resort. The tribe took ownership in 1963 and renamed the resort Ski Apache in 1983.