Ski Apache is the United States’ southernmost ski area, offering some of the best warm-weather skiing in the country. Nestled along scenic Sierra Blanca, New Mexico, Ski Apache boasts breath-taking views throughout the ski area, with elevations reaching 11,500 feet—that’s a lot of ski trails!
The Sierra Blanca peaks at 12,000 feet with a maximum skiing elevation of 11,500 feet and features a 1,900-foot vertical drop. During its regular season running from late November through early April, Ski Apache receives an annual average of more than 15 feet of snow. When the warm weather and sunny New Mexico afternoons start to take a toll on the powder, the resort can produce snow for 33 percent of the mountain. Novice skiers and boarders have plenty of wide beginner slopes, while intermediate and advanced skiers can enjoy several steep runs down the mountain.
See also “Things to do in Ruidoso, New Mexico“
Ski Apache Review – UPDATED 2019
Ski Apache boasts an assortment of ski and snowboard trails along Sierra Blanca for all ages and skill levels. Beginners, intermediate, and advanced riders will have no problem finding slopes and trails that cater to their skills.
Trails and slopes include wide beginner slopes, the Apache Bowl near the peak of Sierra Blanca, some tough bump and runs, enjoyable cruising runs, bunny slopes, and a terrain park with an assortment of rails, tubes, and jumps, and much more!
With a peak of 12,000 feet, the area typically gets snowfall over 15 feet with enhanced snowmaking all the way to the top of the mountain! Ski Apache has 11 lifts, including New Mexico’s only eight-passenger Gondola, that takes visitors 11,400 feet up the mountain.
Ski Apache offers several ski and snowboard rentals from brands like Burton, K2, Head, and more. Rentals include:
- Ski boots in sizes from child 7.5 to adult 16.5
- Demo packages that include boots and equipment
- Snowboards from sizes 90 cm to 164 cm
- Snowboard boots in sizes from child 13 to adult 15
Ski Apache also offers snowboard repair including base welding, tune-ups, and waxing.
Whether you’ve never skied before or are looking for a refresher course, Ski Apache offers several ski and snowboard lesson opportunities for kids and adults.
Ski and snowboard lessons can either be private or within a group, with group and private beginner lessons for kids and adults. Lessons typically last 50 minutes, with private lessons having a 100-minute option.
Ski Apache also offers a full-day program for kids, with several packages to choose from. These full-day lessons include a morning lesson and an afternoon lesson. The program includes lunch, a lift ticket, custom picture, and a report card on how your child progressed throughout the day.
All lessons must be booked in advance. Ski and snowboard lesson prices vary from $25 per person to $175
While options for refreshing and refueling after a long day on the trails lack the variety offered by the resorts in Aspen and Vail, skiers shouldn’t have trouble finding a place to kick back and relax on-site at Ski Apache. The Eagle Cafe cures post-slope hunger pangs with traditional New Mexican favorites such as green chili cheeseburgers and Indian tacos. For quenching thirst, the Daily Grind brews fresh coffee, while the Spirit Bar mixes up adult refreshments. The Arrowhead Express offers a pasta bar, and the Dawg House offers hot dogs and smoked sausages.
Ski Apache has two on-site shops: Summit Sport Shop and the Ski Apache Snowboard Shop. While each shop is popular for its rentals services, you can also purchase new equipment, including clothing like hats, outerwear, gloves, and snow boots, Ski Apache souvenirs, accessories, and essential sundries like lip balm and sunscreen at Summit Sport Shop.
Ski Apache Snowboard Shop is the stop for snowboard rentals with 315 different snowboards and 315 different pairs of boots. The shop also has snowboard lockers available to guests. If your snowboard is need of a tune-up, the Snowboard Shop also has repair services.
Ski Apache Lodging – Cabins Near Ski Apache
In conjunction with Ski Apache, Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino (located on the Mescalero Apache Reservation near Ruidoso, NM) proudly offers several weekday, weekend, and multiple night hotel deals and packages throughout the New Mexico ski season! Right now, Inn of the Mountain Gods is offering the following hotel and ski packages:
- Deep Freeze Weekday Package – 2 Night Weekday Ski Package for 2
- Capitan Weekend Package – 2 Night Weekend Ski Package for 2
- Apache Bowl 3 Night Package for 4 – 3 Night Ski Package for 4
Each package includes breakfast at Gathering of the Nations Buffet, lift tickets, a lunch food credit, a dinner food credit, roundtrip transportation to and from Ski Apache, and rentals!
Ski Apache Lift Tickets
Full-day lift tickets from Ski Apache range from $28 for a military child to $51 for an adult between the ages of 18 and 59. Discounted rates are available for multiple-day and afternoon-only tickets. For regular skiers and boarders, Ski Apache sells season passes starting at $275 for children 12 and younger. At the Snow Sports Learning Center, individuals of all ability levels can improve their skills with private, group, family or parent-child lessons with prices starting at $43 for a children’s lesson, which lasts 1 1/2 hours.
The rental shop offers ski, boot and pole packages at $15 for children and $23 for adults. Snowboard and boot packages start at $22 for children and $32 for adults. The shop also provides demo rentals, helmets and ski insurance for an additional cost.
How to Get to Ski Apache
Ski Apache sits at the base of the towering Sierra Blanca and is located in the heart of Billy the Kid country in Southern New Mexico. As the southernmost ski area in the United States and the only resort in New Mexico operating a gondola lift, Ski Apache allows visitors to enjoy some of the best warm-weather skiing without the crowds and lift lines of the big-ticket resorts of Colorado. Ski Apache lies 18 miles northwest of Ruidoso, New Mexico, and can be accessed in less than three hours by car from Albuquerque, New Mexico, or El Paso, Texas.
The best time to visit Ski Apache
The best time to visit Ski Apache is during Ski season which runs from Thanksgiving until the end of March.