Mountain Policies

Your safety on the mountain is our highest priority at Sipapu. Because there are some risks inherent to snowsports, we encourage you to educate yourself about the risks and to adhere to responsible skier/rider conduct. Sipapu Patrol and Mountain Management enforce skier safety on Sipapu every day this season.

They can also answer any questions about mountain safety policies.

Sipapu safety program includes safety education, awareness, and enforcement. The program is built on “Your Responsibility Code.”

  • MOUNTAIN SAFETY
  • TERRAIN PARKS
  • SERVICE ANIMAL AND MOBILITY DEVICE POLICY
  • DRONES
  • TIPS FROM SKI PATROL
  • UPHILL ACCESS

MOUNTAIN SAFETY

Know The Code—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.

  1. Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid objects.
  2. People ahead of you have the right of way.  It is your responsibility to avoid them.
  3. Do not stop where you obstruct the trail or are not visible from above.
  4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, yield to others.
  5. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  7. 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.

WARNING

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; rocks; stumps; trees; collisions with natural objects, man-made objects, or other skiers; variations in terrain; and the 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

  • MOUNTAIN SAFETY

    Know The Code—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.

    1. Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid objects.
    2. People ahead of you have the right of way.  It is your responsibility to avoid them.
    3. Do not stop where you obstruct the trail or are not visible from above.
    4. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, yield to others.
    5. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
    6. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
    7. 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.

    WARNING

    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; rocks; stumps; trees; collisions with natural objects, man-made objects, or other skiers; variations in terrain; and the 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

  • TERRAIN PARKS

    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.

  • SERVICE ANIMAL AND MOBILITY DEVICE POLICY

    “Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices” by Disabled Individuals

    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 our 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. However, “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. 

    Spring, summer and fall seasons

    In 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. Due to the need to address soil integrity, erosion and vegetative concerns, Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort has adopted a “no motorized” policy for the public during the spring, summer and fall seasons.

    Winter season  

    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.

    Year Round use of Facilities

    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 individual 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 individual 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.

    The use of Service Animals during winter season

    Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort supports the use of trained service animals during the winter operation season.  All Services animals must meet current ADA guidelines to include, but not be 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.

     

    Service animals are allowed in all public spaces within the Sipapu Ski Area base facilities. By definition comfort animals are not considered to be service animals. In consideration of the potential endangerment of safety to others, and consistent with practices from other U.S. ski areas, service animals are generally not allowed on chair lifts and snow-covered trails considering the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which states that legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation may be imposed for restriction of service animals in on-mountain ski area operations.

    Sipapu will make reasonable modifications necessary for service animals as long as requirements for safe operations are met. Guests are asked to please contact Mountain Manager John Paul Bradley at 1-575-202-4089 with a minimum of 72 hours advance notice regarding accommodations needed for service animals.

    The use of Service Animals during spring, summer and fall season

    Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort supports the use of trained service animals during the spring, summer and fall seasons. All Services animals must meet current ADA guidelines to include, but not be 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.


    Note:  All safety requirements are based on actual risks and are not intended to be discriminatory in any way.

  • DRONES

    Out of safety concerns for guests, employees, and resort property, as well as concerns for individual privacy, Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort (Sipapu) prohibits the operation or use of unmanned aerial systems, or drones, by the general public – including 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 boundaries.  This prohibition on drone operations or use extends to any drones launched or operated from Sipapu property, as well as drones launched from private property or U.S. Forest Service property outside of Sipapu boundaries.                                   

    Please contact Sipapu Mountain Manager John Paul Bradley at 575-202-4089 if you have any questions or if you seek prior authorization to operate any aerial drones.  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.  

     Any violation 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, and may subject violators 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

    • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids. Your body’s tendency to dehydrate is greater at higher altitudes.
    • Ultra-Violet rays are more severe at higher elevations.  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.
    • 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.
    • Packed snow can be abrasive. We highly recommend wearing garments that cover your hands, arms, and legs completely.
    • Be prepared for quickly changing weather conditions. Dress in layers with your outer layer of clothing being of a water-repellent fabric.
    • Wear or carry a ski hat with you. Sixty percent of all body heat is lost out of the top of your head.
    • On especially cold days, be aware of the potential for frostbite. Drink warm fluids and take breaks often.
  • UPHILL ACCESS

    Uphill access by self-powered means of skinning, snowshoeing and hiking has gained popularity at Sipapu Ski Area in recent years and we welcome, and support individuals seeking to exercise and enjoy the 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 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!

    Operating Hours

      • 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 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    • Uphill Travel Hours 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. (uphill travelers must be off the ski slopes no later than 9:00 a.m.).

     

    Routes

    • 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.

    Hazards

    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!
    • Please 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!

Contact Us
If you have questions about this privacy policy or the practices of this site, please contact:
505-587-2240

The Site reserves the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time. All changes will be posted to this page, and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to notify you of any significant changes to this privacy policy. However, it is your responsibility to check this site for any such updates as you will be bound by them should you choose to visit our site(s).