POSTED: Tuesday, December 25, 2012 - 7:01pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 - 8:29pm
Ruidoso, N.m. — If you're looking for snow and mountains, you might want to head north this winter to Ski Apache. Warm temperatures delayed the opening of the slopes, but the southern most ski resort in the United States is now up and running with new multi-million dollars investments.
This is what Ruidoso looked like in June of this year. Smoke billowed out of the mountains as the little bear wildfire burned really close to Ski Apache.
"The other side of the ridge that's where the little bear wildfire started just on the other side of us," said Justin Rowland, director of operations.
Rowland said with the fire so close to home, they used some of their own equipment to battle the blaze.
"We ran our snowmaking machines through the entire fire and established fire line."
Five months later, most of the ski runs are now covered in snow. But the effects of the fire can still be seen with black charred trees sticking out of the fresh white powder.
"There's some areas that will not be accessible because of the nature of the burned trees we don't know there integrity and what not," he said.
None of the primary slopes will be affected but some of the equipment was damaged.
The new lifts come in the form of a $15 million investment. More than half of that money will got toward the Apache arrow, a high speed gondola.
"It will actually cut travel time in half the old ride on the gondola was about 16 minutes," Rowland said.
He said the upgrades will benefit everyone looking to spend sometime in the mountain snow.