Renowned New Mexico ski area closed following winter storm
RED RIVER, N.M. – A winter storm earlier this month left a path of destruction across New Mexico, especially in mountain towns. In some spots, it will take months to recover.
According to Red Rivers’s “Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area” website, the trails will be closed until further notice. It’s not the message any ski business wants to be posting on their website when they’re supposed to be gearing up for it’s busiest season.
"The devastation is really pretty amazing,” said Mike Ritterhouse general manager of Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area.
Ritterhouse has been the general manager at Enchanted Forest for decades.
"I raised my kids out there basically, my daughter was an instructor for us, my son helps me with trail clearing,” said Ritterhouse.
He said he’s never seen damage like what lies on the property right now.
"There are spots where we can’t even find trails that we know are there,” Ritterhouse said.
They estimate 3,000 trees down across the trails, and 30,000 trees down across the entire ski area. Out of 600 total acres– 200 are currently 98% tree fall.
Another 200 is about 60% tree fall. The final 200 is rough terrain that they don’t use regularly.
"It’s really overwhelming. And once we started getting out into the damage zone, it’s even disorienting."
Their yurts, that have helped the Enchanted Forest become the number one glamping destination in the state, are also ruined.
Ritterhouse said he hates to see the business take a hit like this.
"It’s gonna be tough. We’re losing our most economically, financially valuable time of the year with Christmas and we’re hopeful again to be open for February, maybe March."
But the silver lining? The enchanted forest community.
He said people from as far as Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado are reaching out to help clear the path for the business to reopen quicker.
"We’ve got such a great community. So many people feel like they’re family. And this really reinforces that,” said Ritterhouse.
Knowing they’ll be okay– and that their trails will be full again soon.
If you’d like to volunteer to help clear trails or clean up the ski area, Enchanted Forest asks that you call or email them first. They’ll need you to go through a process first, in order to stay safe in the terrain.