Whether you’re shoveling it or playing in it, the Albuquerque area and East Mountains have been slammed by a wave of winter storms.
“Well, there’s been tons of snow but nowhere for people to go,” said Bruce Ogle.
Sandia Crest Road, the key road to get to popular sledding spots and Sandia Ski Area, has been reopened by the sheriff’s department Friday.
Bernalillo County deputies have been blocking the road since last week, refusing to let drivers pass because the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) hasn’t plowed it. So people are taking their snow activities elsewhere.
“We’ve had a lot of calls, people want to be skiing for the holiday and head up the mountain. Unfortunately, it is one of our lower priority routes,” said Kimberly Gallegos with NMDOT.
She said crews are now able to get to Sandia Crest Road because the more important highways are clear.
“Our guys had a chance to get up there yesterday and again today with blades,” said Gallegos.
But the road closure has caused major headaches for people like the owner of the Lazy Lizard grill, at the base of the Crest Road.
“It’s the first time they’ve had snow like this in years and they aren’t even ready for it, they can’t open for it, it’s pretty sad,” said Ogle.
The ski area had to move its hiring event Thursday to the base of the tram because of the closure.
“We should have good access by this weekend so skiers should not be deterred,” said Michael Donovan, General Manager of the Sandia Peak Tram.
Although there’s been lost revenue because the road closure, everyone is now hopeful for a big weekend.
“I hope they plow it today and get the ski area open so we can all share on the business,” said Ogle.
The opening of the ski area was originally delayed because of a lack of snow however, Saturday marks their official opening day.
However, the National Forest rangers who patrol the crest area are not working due to the government shutdown, so it’s unclear if the Capulin Snow Play Area will officially open once the road is clear.