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High-speed, eight-passenger gondola marks first ascent Friday, Jan. 18

 MESCALERO, N.M. (Jan. 18, 2013) –The first passenger gondola in North America has officially retired from service. The historic, four-passenger gondola was first hung in 1962 and was taken down just months ago to be replaced by a brand new, high-speed, Dopplemayr gondola at Ski Apache, the United States’ southernmost ski resort. The new gondola, the Apache Arrow, maintains its title as the only gondola in the state of New Mexico and is part of $15 million in improvements at the ski resort owned by the Mescalero Apache Tribe and located in Mescalero, N.M.

The Apache Arrow climbs quickly to 11,500 feet, carrying eight passengers to the top of Ski Apache overlooking miles of surrounding forest and mountain landscape, nearly twice as fast as its record-setting predecessor. In addition, two new lifts, one Dopplemayr triple and one quad, give the resort the highest lift capacity of any resort in the state, with 5,600 skiers and boarders carried up the mountain each hour. The significant investment in infrastructure by the Mescalero Apache Tribe at Ski Apache is among the top five in North America for the 2012-13 season.

Adding to the new amenities at Ski Apache, favorite events including Terrain Park and Pond Skimming competitions, the Ski Apache Cup and Vertical Challenge all return for this season, creating a winter wonderland full of fun and entertainment. In addition, group and private lessons, specialty clinics and live entertainment also keep skiers and boarders busy throughout the season.

After a full day on the slopes, skiers can visit the main ski lodge for an afternoon snack, play a hand of poker at one of 12 video poker machines, or head down the mountain to the resort’s award-winning accommodations at Inn of the Mountain Gods.  Featuring both fine and casual dining options, a sports bar, Las Vegas-style gaming, live entertainment, indoor pool, hot tub, and saunas, the Inn is a welcome retreat for skiers looking to rejuvenate. Visit InnOfTheMountainGods.com for information on Ski and Stay Packages starting at just $499 and including two night’s lodging, lift tickets for two with full ski and snowboard rentals, transportation to and from the mountain, breakfast each morning at the Gathering of Nations Buffet, and generous credits for lunch and dinner at the resort’s other eateries.

Ski Apache is located in Mescalero, N.M. just 85 miles southwest of Roswell and two hours north of El Paso, Texas. Situated high in the picturesque Sacramento mountain range of the Southern Rockies, the resort rests at approximately 9,600 feet and rises 1,900 feet to its peak. Ski Apache’s dry, arid climate makes for optimal snow conditions, with an average snowfall of more than 180 inches over 750 acres and 55 trails. Ski Apache is open seven days per week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and lift tickets are on sale now.

For those who just can’t wait to see the fresh powder in all its glory, Ski Apache offers a live web cam at www.SkiApache.com, along with an interactive trail map and weather conditions, also available via RSS feed and text alert. For daily snow reports, call the 24-hour report line at 575-464-1234. For more details on Ski Apache, visit the website or call 575-464-3600.

For more information on Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino or its associated enterprises, visit www.InnOfTheMountainGods.com or call 888-262-0478.

**For more information or photos, please contact pr@bausermangroup.com.

**To view the live mountain webcam, click here.