Ski New Mexico Enjoys Record Season

States sees most number of ski visitors since 2000/2001 season

By: By Deanna Ting

New Mexico's Pajarito Mountain is a popular ski area // (c) 2010

New Mexico's Pajarito Mountain is a popular ski area // (c) 2010

Ski New Mexico resorts saw a 23 percent increase in skier days during the 2009/2010 season compared to last year, resulting in the most number of skier visits to New Mexico since the 2000/2001 season.

The season, which was recently completed on April 18, saw a total number of 964,793 skier visits. And while the numbers were a boon to the resorts, especially during the current economic recession, Ski New Mexico executive director George Brooks had even higher expectations.

“We were hoping to hit 1 million,” said Brooks. “That would have been a great milestone given today’s economy. In fact, the economy actually helped our numbers, as we have always been a great drive market and lots of folks were driving this year.”

The average number of days open at Ski New Mexico resort members — Taos Ski Valley, Red River Ski Area, Angel Fire Resort, Sandia Peak, Ski Santa Fe, Ski Pajarito, Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort, Ski Apache, and the cross-country skiing areas of Enchanted Forest, Chama and Valle Caldera Cross Country Ski Area — was 125.

“The snow storms which continually blanketed the high country (averaging 221 inches) meant skiers and snowboarders didn’t have to spend an extra five or six tiring hours in the car heading farther north just to stand in long lift lines,” said Michael Cerletti, secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department. “They could already be on the slopes at one of New Mexico’s incredible ski areas.”

Ski New Mexico also boosted the state’s economy by employing some 2,500 New Mexican residents this year.

“Skiing in New Mexico isn’t just about light, fluffy snow and brilliant sunshine,” said Cerletti. “It is also about job creation and economic impact.”

According to Ski New Mexico, this year’s ski season contributed $541 million to the state’s economy, an increase of $61 million compared to last year, including $40.6 million in gross receipt’s taxes, an increase of $9.4 million over 2008-2009. Gross receipts taxes paid on lift tickets alone totaled $4 million and skier spending was $135.4 million. Sixty-five percent of skier spending came from out-of-state residents, including $10.2 million on gross receipt taxes.

Ski New Mexico