The Sandia Peak is located right above Albuquerque and is widely regarded as the ideal skiing resort for beginners and folks at the intermediate level. It is also probably the most intriguing as well because of the 60 people aerial tramway which leads to the resort.
The Sandia Peak ski area is the oldest ski area in New Mexico also making it an exquisite destination. You will find the resort to still preserve the long cruisers which are otherwise absent these days elsewhere. It is a perfect weekend getaway place but will find very less number of people during the weekdays. Moreover, the powder here is also of the best quality in the region.
Base Elevation: 8678 feet
Summit Elevation: 10378 feet
Vertical Drop: 1700 feet
The resort also has a snow sports school which will facilitate you with their ingenious training methodology. Additionally, you will want to try your hands at the slopes and the perfectly groomed trails. It also has an on-site restaurant which will serve you with items across a wide array. From traditional dishes to straight out modern delicacies from far and wide.
The resort and its staff are extremely friendly and cordial. All in all the environment here is warm and homely and everything is made available to you at affordable rates.
The resort is located in the Sandia Mountains which is also regionally known as Tiwa Pueblo. It means – where water slides down. This is the very mountain range which surrounds Bernalillo and Sandoval counties. In the east of the resort, you will find the city of Albuquerque. This range is however, largely the feature of Cibola National Forest and also falls under the protectorate of the Sandia Mountain Wilderness. The highest point in this region is the Sandia Crest which is located at a height of 10,678 feet or 3,255 meters.
The Sandia Mountain is overpowered by a reddish colour during sunset therefore probably it was christened so because in the Spanish language Sandia means watermelon. Furthermore, if you look at the mountain from a certain distance you will notice that it has long ridges along with a very fine zone of green conifers towards its top. This feature also further facilitates the visual appearance of watermelon.
The Sandia Mountains are in-fact located towards the eastern edge of what is known as the Rio Grande Rift Valley. They are a kind of fault block range and are a result of an uplifted plate.
Within the Ecological purview, you will find that there are four different life zones. This primarily occurs primarily due to the large changes in the elevation levels. As a result of this temperatures also vary considerably along with the amounts of precipitation.
The western base of the mountain has desert grassland and savanna. This section of the mountain then goes on to touch the city of Albuquerque and the uphills of Eubank or Juan Tabo Boulevards.
The region also has had substantial amounts of prehistoric archaeological value. It is also one of the reasons as to why many researchers have been coming here for decades.
This is one of a unique aerial tramway transport systems in the world and it is right here at Sandia Peak that you will get to explore the slopes and the peak. So, what can you expect out of the tramway? Well, you will have to take a trip to actually understand. But, with the intent to entice you – a trip on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway will take you through the cavernous ridges, through the bosoms of the deep canyons and absolutely fantastical terrain structures. Overall you will be travelling a distance of 2.7 miles and you will be the first-hand witness some of the most dramatic natural structures unfold right in front of your eyes.
Sunset is probably the best time of the day to take this journey because of the spectacular arrays of colours and the sheer magnificence of the view from the observation deck which is atop the very foot of the Sandia Peak at 10,378 feet above sea level. From this vantage point, you will get a panoramic view of about 11,000 square miles worth of an area.
The tramway is known to make trips every 20 to 30 minutes and each way journey lasts for about 15 minutes from either end of the docks. It functions on a daily basis during summers beginning right in the morning at 9 am and concluding finally in the night time at 9 pm. However, during the season of the fall and winters, the daily operation does commence at 9 am in the morning but concludes a little early by 8 pm as opposed to the case in the summer time. It is also important to note that the tramway services on Tuesdays during winters are only conducted between 5 pm to 8 pm in the night.
The Sandia Peak Tramway is a piece of technology which essentially complements the entire resort and more so the mountain. On an annual basis, the Tram is known to transport as many as 11 million passengers – basically making it the most popular tourist attraction in central New Mexico. Now, what attracts the tourists the most is basically the majestic view of the 11,000 square mile area which is further otherwise known as the Land of Enchantment. An escalation of over 4000 feet is achieved in straight 15 minutes. The view is simply unparallel irrespective of the time of the day you come here.
Interestingly and this surely might interest some of you – there is a volcanic field just west of the Rio Grande where the Mount Taylor rises. In the north of the ski area, you will find Cabezon which is kind of a stump of the long dead volcano along with other volcanic formations such as necks and plugs. Further, towards the north and west, you will find Redondo Peak which stands tall straight in the Jemez Mountains and the Valle Grande slowly rising and taking its shape. The Valle Grande is by far the largest ever reported volcanic crater in the whole world.
Another area of exploration is the Sandias in the east. Located on the point of the horizon, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains along with the capitol city of Santa Fe further in the said direction. If you go southwards you will reach Estancia Valley and the Manzano Mountains.
Another instance about the tram concerns with the founding father of the Sandia Peak Ski Company, Robert Nordhaus. He is said to have been travelling in Europe and just out of the blue an aerial tramway struck his imagination. Now, his inspiration basically came from the various tramways which he was exploring and precisely liked their simplicity yet efficient mechanisms through which they generate thrill and serenity, both at the same time. Upon his return to the United States, he and his then partner Ben Abruzzo with all their capacities and might were able to materialise the idea. As per their plans, this tramway would connect Albuquerque with the summit of Sandia Peak.
However, the total duration involved was about 2 years but each of those moments gone by was worth their price. Today, this tramway is not just a transport system or an engineering marvel but a national heritage. It was also quite a complicated endeavour considering the difficult terrain and dramatic geological features.
For all those of you who like hiking you can also do so from the tram station which is located at the top of Sandia Peak. Then you move along the various forest trails into the Cibola National Forest while observing the fascinatingly intricate rock formations. It also serves the Sandia Peak Ski Area – which features as an important spot for beginners and intermediate level skiers. The typical season at the resort begins in December and then concludes by the mid of March. At the peak, you will find more than 26 miles worth of trails for fellow mountain bikers. There is an easy access available if you take the chairlift but what the heck, when adventure calls you just go.
Seniors (over the age of 62): $20.00
Military personnel (Active Duty, Retired Military, Current Serving Reserve & Nat’l Guard with a valid & current military ID): $20.00
Teens (between the ages of 13 and 20): $20.00
Children (between the ages of 5 and 12 years): $15.00
Children under the age of 5 years accompanied by an adult will not be charged, their tickets are for Free!
Adult/Senior with prior Dinner Reservations: $20.00
One Way: $15.00
Grounds Admission (Daily, per car): $ 2.00
Grounds Admission (Annual, per car): $20.00
Ski Season (Mid December – Mid March)
Round Trip when purchasing Daily Ski Lift Ticket: $15.00
Weekday Ski Tram Special (1/2 Day All Lift & Tram ride): $50.00
Tramway Season Tickets
First Ticket (in Family): $230.00
Second Ticket (in Family & thereafter): $200.00
Tram – Ski Season Only: $140.00
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