NEW MEXICO (KRQE) –  A popular local ski hill will not be opening its doors this season. Sandia Peak Ski Area says that with fewer people working, and even less snow predicted, it’s just not worth opening this year.

Sandia Peak Ski Area has been a staple for Albuquerque ski enthusiasts for decades. “It’s been more than 50 years quite a bit. Its predecessor, La Madeira ski started in the 20s. I believe,” says owner Ben Abruzzo.

However, things have been hard for the folks at Sandia Peak Ski over the last couple of years. “The last two years, we haven’t received significant snowfall until the middle to end of January. And the labor shortage, which has been exacerbated by COVID.” Said Abruzzo, “It’s been really difficult for us to find the people we need to do the work, not only for the ski season but also the summer maintenance that we need to get ready.”

Last season they were only open for 4 weeks, and the owners say it would not be worth it again. They also do not see as many visitors as Ski Santa Fe – they see 3,000 a season, compared to the 100,000 Santa Fe sees. Many in the community are heartbroken by the announcement.

“You know, every now and then, or every third year, they don’t get enough snow to open so we kind of understand that maybe they’re making that decision early. But it’s disappointing,” said Duane Kinsley, the owner of Sports Systems and a skier himself.

There is still some good news about the season. You be able to hike in the area and the tram will stay open. You can still cross-country ski in the area. “Areas like that cross country skiers, snowboarders’ skiers that want to still get up right here locally, get a little exercise and still ski have the whole skier to themselves. And it’s a great way to get out, get some exercise and still ski,” said Kinsely.

Sandia Peak says this isn’t a permanent closure, they will weigh their options and decide if they can open next year. Weather forecasts show this could be another La Nina year which means snowfall could be limited just as it has been for the last two years.