A new joint venture agreement could help bring skiers back to the Sandia Peak slopes.
The Sandia Peak Ski Company entered into the compact with Mountain Capital Partners, which already owns numerous southwest- based ski areas – including two in New Mexico.
“The foundations of our company were built on the lessons we learned from skiers and snowboarders in New Mexico,” James Coleman, MCP managing partner, said in a news release. “Sandia Peak presents an incredible opportunity for us to bring the best practices we’ve learned for the benefit of Albuquerque and visitors from around the region.”
MCP is an international company with properties also in Chile and Oregon in addition to owning Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort south of Taos and the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area outside of Los Alamos.
Located in the Sandia Mountains 35 miles northeast of Albuquerque and operating in the Cibola National Forest and it can be accessed from the Sandia Peak Tramway in Albuquerque, as well as as via the East Mountains on NM 536, the Sandia Crest Road.
The Tramway and adjoining TEN 3 Restaurant are not included in the Sandia Peak Ski Area special permit and will continue to be operated by Sandia Companies under the direction of the Abruzzo family, which has owned and operated the ski area since 1958.
The ski area includes three double chairlifts, one surface lift, 35 trails and 300 skiable acres that feature 1,700 vertical feet.
Resort upgrades are still being considered, although MCP confirmed Sandia will introduce a new season pass lineup that’s headlined by MCP’s flagship product, the Power Pass. Power Pass Core guests will enjoy unlimited access to Sandia Peak, Sipapu and Pajarito, with limited access at Purgatory Resort in Durango, Colorado.
Power Kids, the no-strings-attached free season pass for kids ages 12 and younger, will include access to Sandia Peak in addition to MCP’s 11 other ski areas and bike parks.
Staffing shortages and weather challenges have kept the ski area closed the past two ski seasons, but resort officials are actively working on an operating plan, Coleman said.
“Like many skiers in and around Albuquerque, the number one question we have is not if — but when — Sandia Peak will open, and we’re exploring this now,” he said.
Sandia Peak general manager Ben Abruzzo said MCP was a natural choice for him and his team as they considered who would continue the family business.
Abruzzo’s grandfather, adventurer and hot air balloonist Ben L. Abruzzo, purchased the ski area in 1958. The Abruzzo family owns and operates Ski Santa Fe, Sandia Peak Tramway and TEN 3 Restaurant.
“Skiing in the Southwest offers unique challenges that have been amplified over the last several years,” he said. “This partnership will help address those challenges and provide a future for skiing in Albuquerque.”
Skiing is an important part of the state’s skiing history.
“Sandia Peak didn’t just introduce skiing to Albuquerque, this ski area brought our sport to the entire state,” Coleman said. “Generations of skiers have been recreating at Sandia since 1936, and I am honored to continue that legacy while building on the many successes that Ben Abruzzo and his family have cultivated.”
All Sandia Peak Ski Area staffing will remain in place, and MCP is actively recruiting for key leadership roles. Open positions and their job descriptions will be posted at mcp.ski.