Ruidoso residents adjust to longer fall season prolonging the snow

RUIDOSO, N.M. (KRQE) – What’s with this warm weather? That’s what a lot of people in New Mexico have been thinking, especially those in towns that make their money off the cold and snow.

There is not a flake of snow in the forecast, and the trees in Ruidoso, which should be bare by now, still show signs of early fall.

“It used to snow this time of the year, every year, but the last three to four years we’ve been seeing the trend is changing. It’s not coming anymore,” said TJ Ganjawala, who has lived in Ruidoso 18 years.

Ruidoso residents say the delayed snowfall has become more noticeable in the last few years, and with that warm weather comes a delayed ski season.

Ski Apache has announced it’s delaying its traditional Thanksgiving weekend opening to December 15 — not a good sign for those who live there.

“Back in the ’70s when I was growing up we skied on Halloween a few times and I don’t see those days anymore,” said Dan Wimberly, Ski Ruidoso shop owner.

“This time of year you usually have to have a heavy jacket and look at this,” Ganjawala said, raising his arms. “No jacket, no sweater, no nothing.”

Residents aren’t the only ones concerned.

“It’s kind of a waiting game. You just have to wait and see. We rely on mother nature so much in this business and it’s tough,” Wimberly said.

This mountain is life for people like Tom Dorgan, and he needs it to be covered with snow — but when mother nature doesn’t cooperate, he and his team have to step in.

“We’re going to make every attempt at it. We have a small window of opportunity to make snow on Friday and Saturday night and we do rely 100 percent on machine-made snow,” Dorgan said.

Winter Park plans to open the weekend after Thanksgiving, regardless of the delay by Ski Apache. In the meantime, people in Ruidoso are holding out hope.

“We haven’t had any snow yet, but we’ll get snow,” said Dale Moorman.

While it does often snow in October in Ruidoso, the average first day of snowfall is Nov. 21.

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