Concluding this year’s ski season with a bang

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By Kirsten Laskey

Pajarito Mountain Ski Area is closing for the ski season today, but there is still one last bash to be held Saturday.

Skiesta will start with the Second Annual Pajarito Pinhead Challenge. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the race will start at 9 a.m. in the lodge.

“We have good spring conditions,” said Jean Dewart, member of the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area board.

However, in the past few weeks there has been less snow in some places so “we might have to modify a few events,” Dewart said.

The schedule for this year’s Skiesta, after the Second Annual Pajarito Pinhead Challenge, is the Sloppy Slalom. Registration will be held through noon at the lodge for ages 12 and older and the race will begin at 1 p.m. Registration for a jumping contest, which is for ages 11 and older, will be held until one hour prior to the event. Men will compete at 1:15 p.m. and women will jump at 2 p.m.

The Teepee Race, which is for ages 13 and older, does not require registration and will start at 2 p.m.

Another type of competition, a costume contest, will start at 3 p.m.

Entertainment will be offered at 1 p.m. with Julie Stewart and the Double Black Jam Band (Motor Kings) taking the stage.

Three local breweries, Marble, Santa Fe and Second Street will provide beverages starting at noon and the Pajarito Mountain Café will be open and have an outdoor grill. The event is free, but those who do not have a season pass will need to purchase a lift ticket. Pajarito board member Karen Hill said, Skiesta is a long-standing tradition.

“Skiesta has historically has been a part of the ski club’s celebrations of the end of season ever since the ski area has been located at Sawyer’s Hill,” she said. “We try to have fun activities that people of all ages and all abilities can participate in.”

Dewart added, “I think it’s just been a tradition that appeals to a wide variety of skiers and snowboarders at Pajarito … and it’s just a great day for the whole family.”

Although the ski season has come to a close, the mountain has had a great season.

“We had an incredible Christmas season,” Tom Long, general manager of the ski area, said. “It was a record breaker for revenue and participation. It was very strong.”

Although things began to go slow after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Long said the season was one of the best for the ski area. He said about 40,000 skiers visited the ski area this season, “which for us is very good.”

“(We’re) very happy with the season and things went well for us.”  

Dewart credited several factors for such as strong season.

“We had fabulous snow from opening day through our terrain park grand opening ceremony … (we) drew a lot of skiers and snowboarders (during the holidays) and a number of out-of-town visitors,” she said.

Additionally, there were a number of great events that drew people to the ski area, Dewart said. These programs included national talent arriving at the mountain to teach how to use the new terrain park, the K2 Women’s Weekend, Telemark and Demo days.

There were upgrades made to the café and the restaurant features a new menu, she added. Skiesta is an opportunity to celebrate the conclusion of a successful ski season.

“It’s usually a really fun day for skiers to enjoy the ski hill … even if you are not a skier it allows you to be entertained,” Hill said.

For more information, go to www.skipajarito.com.  To get to the fun, the Atomic City Transit will provide free rides to and from the  mountain from the Sullivan Field parking lot on the hour from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.