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Sandia Peak Ski Patrol History

Sandia Peak and the Sandia Peak Ski Patrol have a long and storied history.


     Sandia Peak Ski Patrol was founded by the same folks that started Vail, Breckenridge and countless other Ski Areas after the end of World War II, the veterans of the 10th mountain division of the US Army. But if you dig a little deeper into history, you will find it was ski patrollers and ski instructors from Sandia (it was called La Madera at the time), that were asked to be trainers of the 10th Mountain. When the Division was formed, Capt. Bob Nordhaus, Lt Neil Foley and Sgt. Foster Murphy, answered the call.



The Albuquerque Ski Club (ASC), Bob Nordhaus is president, installs a 1500 ft. rope tow and opens La Madera.



ASC installs another rope tow up to the present day Panorama point. The Civil Conservation Corps builds a day lodge. Lift ticket, fifty cents.



In 1940 Neil Foley officially registers with the National Ski Patrol.



December 7, 1941 Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. La Madera closes for the war.



When hostilities cease in 1946, the veterans of the 10th mountain have every intention of continuing to ski. La Madera and the future Sandia Peak get a new life. Bob Nordhous starts the La Madera Ski Co. The upper rope tow is removed and replaced with a T-bar. With a vertical rise of 1000 ft. and 4200 ft. long, it is state of the art. Neil Foley becomes president of the Albuquerque Ski Club and appoints Frank Roberts as head of the Ski Patrol. Unfortunately Foster Murphy does not return, giving his life in Italy. A run was named after him, a run that still exists today. Ski lesson, $3.00.



An Ice skating rink is installed and a bunk house is built. Lift ticket $3.50.



City of Albuquerque agrees to take over area for the season, loses money. Six day lesson, $12.00.



City of Albuquerque decides it no longer wants to be in the ski business, ownership is transferred to the Albuquerque Ski Club, which turns and profit of $2,500.00 Season pass $25.00.



Ben Abruzzo and Bob Nordhaus purchase La Madera from the Albuquerque Ski Club.



Dirt road to the area is paved. The difference was dramatic. The drive goes from several hours of potholes and mud to an easy 45 minute drive. Traces of the old road can still be seen today, on your way up the road look to your left between Doc Long and Tree Springs.



Work begins on chair number 1.


More to come!