Sipapu’s Safety Program & Mountain Policies
Your safety on the mountain is our highest priority at Sipapu.
Sipapu’s safety program is built on Your Responsibility Code, and includes education, awareness and enforcement.
Because of the inherent risks to snow sports we encourage you to educate yourself about these risks, and adhere to responsible skier/rider conduct.
Sipapu’s Patrol and Mountain Management enforces skier safety on Sipapu every day of the season, and can answer your questions about mountain safety policies.
Know Your Responsibility Code
The National Ski Areas Association established “Your Responsibility Code” in 1966 as a code of ethics for all skiers on the mountain. The code reflects not only skier safety, but snowboarder and lift safety as well. Ultimately, safe skiing and snowboarding is each guest’s responsibility.
- Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid objects.
- People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them.
- Do not stop where you obstruct the trail or are not visible from above.
- Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, yield to others.
- Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
- Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
- Prior to using any lift, you must know how to load, ride, and unload safely.
New Mexico Skier Safety Act
Recognizing risks that are inherent in the sport, The New Mexico legislature passed the New Mexico Skier Safety Act, which describes inherent risks of the sport and relative responsibilities of the skier and the ski area.
Under New Mexico law, a skier assumes the risk of any injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing and may not recover from any ski area operator for any injury resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing, including:
- changing weather conditions,
- existing and changing snow conditions,
- bare spots,
- stumps and trees,
- collisions with natural objects, man-made objects, or other skiers,
- variations in terrain, and
- failure of skiers to ski within their own abilities.
The Ski Safety Act includes cliffs, extreme terrain, jumps and freestyle terrain as inherent dangers and risks of the sport. View the entire New Mexico Ski Safety Act.
Chairlift Safety + Kids on Lifts
Be Familiar with the Lift & Ask for Assistance
Chairlift Safety Tips
According to our friends at the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), using and riding chairlifts in a responsible manner is one of the primary safety considerations for all skiers and snowboarders. It’s YOUR Responsibility to know how to use and ride the lift safely. Here are some tips:
- Need assistance? Ask the lift attendant for help.
- Remove & carry packs. Children in packs are not allowed on chairlifts at Purgatory Resort.
- Do not use phones, music or games while loading or unloading.
- It is OK to miss a chair and wait for the next one.
- When loading, watch for the approaching chair and then sit to the back once seated!
- Drop something? Let it FALL. Any item dropped can be picked up later.
- Absolutely NO horseplay on the lifts!
Kids on Lifts
In an effort to promote chairlift safety to children and their parents, CSCUSA has produced this entertaining and educational video series. Please share this information with your children to ensure they know your expectations for their actions and conduct when loading, riding and unloading a chairlift.
Click here for more information on Lift Safety.
Click here for more information on Helmet Safety.
Terrain Park Safety
Click here for more information on terrain park safety.
The terrain parks at Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort are a great place to take your skiing and snowboarding to the next level, but we always want to make sure our park riders are safe.
It is important to be mindful of your ability level and not take on anything too challenging. Our two parks are designed for skiers and riders to progressively learn how to handle different features. Learn more about park safety at terrainparksafety.org.
Some features are designated as small, medium and large. Be aware these ratings are determined by size, not the degree of difficulty, and are relative only to that resort. Freestyle Terrain use, like all skiing and riding, exposes the user to the risk of serious injury.
*Prior to using freestyle terrain, it is the user’s responsibility to become familiar with all instructions and posted warnings, and to follow Your Responsibility Code and PARK SMART.
In compliance with the American Disabilities Act, Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort provides access to our facilities, pedestrian areas and programs to all of our guests whenever possible, including guests with mobility challenges. Wheelchairs and other devices, including those that are battery powered, that are designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities and are useable indoors as well as other manually powered mobility aids are granted full access to Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort.
Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices
“Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices” defined as any motorized device powered by a battery, fuel or other engines, such as golf carts and electronic personal assistance mobility devices, that are not designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities, may be granted or denied access depending on the assessment factors listed below.
Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort may ask a person using an “Other Power-Driven Mobility Device” to provide a credible assurance that the mobility device is required because of the person’s disability. Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort accepts the presentation of a valid, State-issued disability parking placard or card, or other State-issued proof of disability, as a credible assurance that the use of the other power-driven mobility device is for the individual’s mobility disability. Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort shall allow the use of an ‘other power-driven mobility device’ if the individual states that the device is being used for a mobility disability.
Year Round Facilities Use
Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort supports the use of “Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices” at our Base Area Outdoor Facilities, including all parking areas, walkways, decks and patios that are designed for pedestrian use. Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort allows individuals with mobility disabilities to use wheelchairs and manually-powered mobility aids, such as walkers, crutches, canes, braces, or other similar devices designed for use by individuals with mobility disabilities in areas open to pedestrian use.
Due to the crowding of our indoor facilities, and the related safety of our guests, Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort does not allow “Other Power-driven Mobility devices” to be used indoors at our facility.
Winter Season Facilities Use
Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort allows the use of adaptive devices or other ‘manually-powered mobility aids’ designed and manufactured primarily for use by individuals who have disabilities, including without limitation, mono skis, bi skis, outriggers and sit-skis.
Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort has a blanket ban on public use of motorized devices, including “Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices,” anywhere on the premises given safety risks posed by collisions with downhill skiers or snowboarders and other factors.
Ski area personnel are highly trained on how to use motorized vehicles in a reasonably safe manner, and use motorized devices for administrative, operational, maintenance or safety related reasons—not to recreate on such trails.
Non-Winter Facilities Use
During Spring, Summer and Fall—our non-winter seasons—certain mountain trails are open to motorized use by ski area personnel for specific administrative purposes versus their use by members of the public for recreation. Ski area personnel are highly trained on how to use motorized vehicles in a reasonably safe manner, and use motorized devices for administrative, operational, maintenance or safety related reasons—not to recreate on such trails.
The use of “Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices” is prohibited on all mountain trails at Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort due to the substantial risk of serious harm to the immediate environment and natural resources. To address soil integrity, erosion and vegetative concerns Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort adopts a “no motorized” policy for the public during the spring, summer and fall seasons.
Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort supports the use of trained service animals year round.
Service Animal Policy
The Resort may not discriminate against individuals with disabilities who use service animals if the task or work performed by the service animal are directly related to the individual’s disability.
Service animals that meet the current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines, and service animals in training, are allowed in all public areas within the Sipapu Ski Area base facilities. The ADA guidelines include, but are not limited to:
- remaining under the direct control of the user at all times;
- be house broken; and
- be trained and utilized for a specific disability approved by ADA regulations.
Use of miniature horses as service animals must meet the standards set forth by the American Miniature Horse Association. Specifically, miniature horses may not exceed thirty four (34) inches at the withers measured at the last mane hairs. Certain areas within buildings on the resort property may be restricted from use of miniature horses due to weight, size, or other safety considerations associated within each location.
Emotional support, well-being, comfort, therapy, companionship or to serve as a crime deterrent are NOT service animals. Misrepresenting a dog as a service animal is subject to penalty under New Mexico’s Service Animal Act.
Operational Safety & Accommodations
A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler’s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).
Where it is not obvious that a dog is a service dog, Authorized personnel may inquire as to the following: 1) if the animal is required because of a disability and (2) what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.
Authorized personnel may request that a service animal be removed from the premises if: (1) The animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take immediate effective action to control it; or (2) The animal is not housebroken. If the service animal is removed, the Resort will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate the individual with a disability despite the absence of the service animal.
In consideration of the potential endangerment of safety to others, and consistent with practices from other U.S. ski areas, service animals are not allowed on chair lifts, snow-covered trails, or in ski terrain including tubing hills, or on any ride or attraction that is not equipped or designed for accessibility to service animals. The ADA states that legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation may be imposed for restriction of service animals in on-mountain ski area operations.
If you require a service animal that is restricted from an area or activity, the Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort will make reasonable accommodations as long as requirements for safe operations are met.
Contact our Mountain Manager John Paul Bradley at 575-202-4089 to provide Sipapu with a minimum 72 hours advance notice regarding accommodations needed for service animals.
Sipapu’s Ski School offers a specialized adaptive skiing and snowboarding program. Professionally trained instructors work with a range of disabilities. Due to the specialty of this program, a reservation is strictly required at least two weeks prior to your visit. Contact us at 575-587-2240 or email [email protected] for more information
It is the Resort’s objective for everyone to have a safe and enjoyable time while visiting the ski area.
* 28 C.F.R. Part 35.136 which also applies under 42 U.S.C. section794
Disclaimer: All safety requirements are based on actual risks and are not intended to be discriminatory in any way.
Due to safety and privacy concerns for guests, employees and resort property, Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort prohibits the operation, or use on or above Resort property, of unmanned aerial systems, or drones, by the general public—including model aircraft by recreational users and hobbyists—without the prior written authorization from Sipapu.
This prohibition includes drones used for filming or videotaping, as well as any drone use by media or journalists operating above or within Sipapu’s boundaries. This prohibition of drone operations or use extends to any drones launched or operated from Resort property, as well as any drones launched from public or private property or U.S. Forest Service property outside of Sipapu’s boundaries.
Compliance & Violations
For drone policy and authorization questions, contact Sipapu’s Mountain Manager John Paul Bradley at 575-202-4089.
Sipapu reserves the right to operate drones for internal purposes, abiding by all FAA standards. Any authorized operation of aerial drones may be governed by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations, Taos County, local law enforcement, and / or U.S. Forest Service rules, as well as those policies separately established by Sipapu, which may include certification, training, insurance coverage, indemnification requirements, and waivers or releases of liability.
Violations of this policy may involve suspension of your skiing or snowboarding privileges, or the revocation of your season pass, as well as confiscation of any drone equipment. Violators may be subject to any damages including but not limited to damages for violations of privacy and/or physical or personal injuries or property damage, as well as regulatory fines and legal fees.
Tips From Ski Patrol
Prepare for a safe ride and run with these easy to follow tips from Sipapu Ski Patrol:
- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids. Your body’s tendency to dehydrate is greater at higher altitudes.
- Protect your skin from the effects of the sun and keep in mind that the snow reflects the sun’s rays. Wear sunscreen rated at least 30 SPF or higher. Ultra-Violet rays are more severe at higher elevations.
- Wear eye protection such as sunglasses or goggles. These should filter both UVA and UVB rays and be rated at 90%. Eyes can sunburn just like your skin.
- We highly recommend wearing garments that cover your hands, arms, and legs completely. Packed snow can be abrasive.
- Dress in layers with your outer layer of clothing being of a water-repellent fabric. Be prepared for quickly changing weather conditions.
- Wear or carry a ski hat with you. Sixty percent of all body heat is lost out of the top of your head.
- Drink warm fluids and take breaks often. On especially cold days, be aware of the potential for frostbite.
Kids in Backpacks
No children in backpacks or chest packs allowed.
To ensure safety, children riding the chair lifts at Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort must be able to load, ride and unload the lift without being carried. Children in backpacks or chest packs, on any lifts or ski trails, are prohibited at Sipapu.
Uphill access by self-powered means of skinning, snowshoeing and hiking has gained popularity at Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort. We welcome and support individuals seeking to exercise and enjoy the Sipapu’s quiet mountain setting.
To ensure the safety of everyone on the mountain, individuals who choose to skin, snowshoe and hike must obtain a FREE Uphill Access Pass, available in the season pass office during operating hours.
Uphill access users can help preserve this opportunity by following these simple guidelines.
General Uphill Access Guidelines
- Uphill users are warned that snowmobiles, snowmaking equipment, snow grooming and other equipment may be encountered at any time on the Mountain and you are responsible to stay clear of such equipment.
- The mountain may be closed to uphill access when snowmaking, race training, or other special activities are taking place.
- If the mountain is closed to uphill access, a closed sign will be posted across the skier bridge near the bell tower in the base area. If you are unsure, please feel free to ask.
- Dogs must be under control at all times. Clean up after your dog.
- Reflective clothing is recommended.
- Headlamps are recommended.
- Stay clear of our equipment, and do not assume an operator can see you. Proper etiquette is to move to the side of the ski run and let the snowcat pass.
- No motorized vehicles allowed including, but not limited to snowmobiles.
- You are considered a skier under the New Mexico Skier Safety Act and should know “Your Responsibility Code”.
- Users accessing the mountain outside of normal operating hours do so at their own risk. Operational conditions may be variable including, but not limited to; closures removed for grooming operations, unfinished grooming activities, snowmaking operations and limited visibility. Use extra caution!
You are required to have a complimentary uphill access pass. This pass is available at the Season Pass Office during operational hours.
- No uphill travel is allowed during ski area operational hours 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- Uphill Travel Hours 5:00 pm to 9:00 am (uphill travelers must be off the ski slopes no later than 9:00 am).
- West Side Uphill Route: 1) base area ascend up Badger’s Trail 2) top of Badger’s Trail to the top of Howdy 3) top of Howdy up Sassafras to the top of Lift # 1.
- Terrain Parks are always closed during non-operational hours
- Always travel up on lookers right, and down on skiers left, as close to tree line as possible. Please do not ski/ride in the middle of any groomed run or across a trail.
- Respect the corduroy.
Participants must beware of and avoid all mountain hazards. These hazards include, but are not limited to:
- Snowcat grooming: Give snowcats a wide berth, and make yourself visible to operators, do not assume the operator will see you.
- Do not ski/ride between fan guns, or hydrant location on edge of trails!
- Hoses used for snowmaking have very high pressure, do not ski over hoses.
- Snowmaking electrical cords are high voltage! Do not ski over electrical cords.
- Snowmobiles: Stay to the lookers right and skier’s left of trails, for your safety to avoid collisions. Do not assume a snowmobile can stop in time to avoid you, or the operator will see you!
- Obey all posted closures. Closures may be for a number of reasons including but not limited to; Grooming, snowmaking, snow management and events.
- Other hazard areas, operations, or conditions may exist. Ski/ride at your own risk!
Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort reserves the right to change these policies at any time. All changes will be posted to this page. Commercially reasonable efforts will be used to notify you of any significant changes to these policies. However, it is your responsibility to check this site for said policies, and for any updates, as you will be bound by them.
For questions about these policies, contact us at 575-587-2240.