|Ski Rio (Rio Costilla Resort)
Cinnamon Bear Bowl
atop Ski Rio.
|Looking at the B Lift
from the parking lot.
If you live by this area or have any
pictures to share, please email us!
|From left to right: the entrance road, ski school, and ticket counter.
|Ski Rio's main day lodge was torn down in 2006 because of ground settlement and foundation problems.
|The Silvertree Lodge, Pinatas Bar and the heated outdoor pool.
|The Alpha lift provides beginner terrain and would be the access lift to the new "E" chair expansion.
|Work began on this expansion in 2000, but was never completed.
|The mid-mountain lodge and the summit of Bravo
|Overviews of the upper bowl area.
|The Charlie area offers everything from groomed type trails to glades.
|More pictures of Charlie.
|Rio's various surface lifts
|Have you ever skied at this area? If so,
contact us with your memories!
|"I took my family and friends to Ski Rio twice in 1987-88. We loved it. Small, cozy, uncrowded, easy to ski, beautiful and close to home. As others
have said, it was a real treat for a family gathering. If it could open up and stay open, I would be there every year...it would have made a great
summer resort as well. I too checked every year for several years to see if it would open. I finally stopped a few years back."
"I learned to snowboard at Ski Rio, thanks to Doron Fletcher. He's right about the snow - there wasn't much, but it was gorgeous, great for
beginners, quiet, and no long lines. I'm afraid I didn't get past "beginner," but Ski Rio was the ideal place to learn snowboarding."
"Well, what can I say that others haven't already. I found Ski Rio back in 1998 or 99 (can't remember the first year) but went back every year until it
closed. At least one time every year! Every year I still check and see if they are going to open. I hope one of these coming seasons Rio will open
again. It's sad to see these years where NM gets wonderful snow and RIO can't open to take advantage.
That's really all I have to say about that. For now...I guess I just have to use Santa Fe, Taos, Red River, Angel Fire, Durango and Wolf Creek for the
short weekend trips."
"Years ago my family and I discovered Ski Rio. We rented a beautiful house on the side of the mountain. It was so convenient with ski in/ski out and
was so quaint and quiet. Since the place has closed, we have been many other places to ski. We still go back to that year in Rio as being the BEST
vacation we have ever had. We are all older now and want to go back skiing all together again. Every year we check to see if Rio has re-opened and
are disappointed every time. We wish more than anything that one day, our wonderful "secret hideaway" will be open so we can experience what we
did years ago."
"My family and I happened on Ski Rio about 5 years ago and the first year we skied there was FANTASTIC! We enjoyed the laid back atmosphere
and hometown feeling we had. No lines! No hurried rush feeling just ski leisurely and enjoy nature. We could tell there were some problems with the
upkeep and management but all in all we enjoyed our time so much. We have been extremely disappointed in the last few years that it has not opened
but keep praying that the new owners will get it all together so we can come enjoy our little secret get-away again.
When we come through that area we always make a drive up through the town of Costilla and up to the resort just to dream and wish and pray for
the next season. I do wish that there was better communication with the opening or non-opening of the resort. Conflicting reports are pretty
confusing. From the Norman family in Amarillo we pray we'll be skiing in Rio again this season 2002-2003. God Bless."
"I have to say that I am really disappointed in this place. Like every other resort, it has potential, but the business side of Ski Rio has yet to get it
together. There are good things to say about it... The mountain is perfect for intermediate skiers and families. The annual snowfall amount is
advertised to be the second best in NM with 260" (right behind Taos). The ride to the upper mountain has what is probably the best lift view in the
state. There are never any lines. I could go on...
The problem is management. Communication with the customers has been all but halted for the last year and a half while the resort changed hands for
about the fifth time in its 17 year existence. You cannot build a relationship with customers if you fire your staff to close down in bad snow years and
you never let skiers know what the heck is going on. This naturally follows into the next area of problem which is the need for some serious capital
improvement to make sure the mountain (or at least a small portion of it) is always skiable.
I don't fault the NM areas when they have bad snow years, but I do expect to put on some skis and try the ice when I have reservations. There is the
need for snowmaking and grooming equipment. They advertise 33% coverage for blowing snow, but in Christmas '99 they were having trouble
opening 1 trail with a 7" base. Dangerous. I am not even sure they have the water rights, and if they don't, they should close down. In the southern
Rockies, making snow is a way of life. The elevation is great, and since it is on the western side of the front range, it does get some dumps.
The good things about Rio could be really special if they could do some investment and a little marketing to stay in business. I hope the new owner
has some sense and can turn it into what it should be. With some help, this mountain could be the premier alternative to Taos Ski Valley."
"Ski Rio is obviously having some ownership problems, but as a long-time ski "bum", this is one of the best places I have ever skied. It is a family
resort and not on the "beaten trail", which makes it very desirable if it can get the right people to run it. It is a wonderful summer as well as winter
resort. At this point my family is very frustrated with Ski Rio because we have had so many good times there but the business aspects are causing it to
fail. The "locals" are great, but they need to find the right people to run the place! Or give it back to nature, BUT MAKE UP YOUR MINDS!"
"My family and I have skied Ski Rio twice within the last few years and found it to be a enjoyable experience. Within the third day most of the ski
attendants knew our names and helped keep an eye on our children. It's a little sleepy place up there in the mountains, that a lot of us that have been
there want to keep it a secret."
"I have been snowboarding and skiing Ski Rio for the last 10 years and I will always call it "home". The chair lifts are a little slow, but it is definitely
made up for by having no lines. There is not that much snow, but when there is it is great. It is good for beginners and for experts starting from a
chairlift just for "greens" and another that leads into cliff jumps. I recommend checking out the snow report before planning a trip but if you do decide
to go check out the Depot Bed and Breakfast for lodging."
"Wonderful memories were made at this resort back in the 90's. Staying in the suite near the lift was absolutely gorgeous. And I remember Helen
Lecero as being the friendliest person we met there. We traveled there before and after the restaurant fire. But like many others we gave up when the
resort started being closed each year. We started going north to Colorado and then on to Big Sky Montana. But since having an injury at Ski Cooper
in Colorado I have since quit skiing and just go to West Yellowstone for weeks of snowmobiling now. Thanks for the great memories, of which will
always be cherished..."
"I skied at Ski Rio in '88, '89, & '90, and I was never disappointed. I was part of the ski club at the boarding school that I attended, and Ski Rio,
AngelFire, & Red River were always on our itineraries.
I recently returned to NM, and I was saddened to learn that Ski Rio is no longer open. In the 2004-2005 season, NM received one of the 3 best
snow years in recorded history for the state, and I would have liked nothing better than to enjoy it at Ski Rio. Hopefully, someday it will reopen."
"I first skied Rio the second year it was open, they had a promotion if you showed your Texas Drivers license you could ski free the first day and half
price the rest of the stay, (lift tickets where only $12.00). At that time there was no place to stay and the road leading to the resort was just a dirt
road across a muddy pasture if you did not have four wheel drive you could not reach the ski area. Once we made it to the top we fell in love with
the mountain, the snow was great, runs wide and never a wait. It was the best family adventure ever..It was worth the commute from Questa, Red
River, and Taos. We watched it grow from a single ski lodge to all the condos, cabins and eating places. It was a great ski in and out resort. We ski
Rio several times each year and in between owners, closing and poor operating conditions...It's very sad that it has not been open in years, I
understand there lot's of politics involved. Here's hoping that a great Ski resort can rise again."
-Troy from Ft Worth
"Ski Rio was one of the best ski resorts that I have skied. The first time was with a church group and the other times was with my family. It was the
best it's to bad that some one can't keep this place going . Ski Rio is one of the best kept secret ski resorts , maybe that is why it goes broke all the
"I got to ski Rio back in 1998. A buddy and I caught a terrific snow day, where at least 15" had fallen and really enjoyed ourselves. We stayed at the
lodge the night before and had surf and turf (steak and trout) at the restaurant. I have my SKI RIO pin on my ski hat and a SKI RIO poster tacked
up in my garage. I fly over the area frequently on trips from KC to LA and have always enjoyed NM. I had the snowmobile trip of my life while
looking over the area when they were trying to sell real estate. I wish I'd have bought the whole thing. SKI RIO is cool and I hope it can find a way
to reopen someday. It's beautiful."
-Dan from KC.
"We found Ski Rio in about 94 or 95. The 1st time we went, my husband couldn't get away so just my 16 yr old son and myself went. It was
AMAZING. We could ski from top to bottom without seeing anyone. We were there on weekdays. We stayed at one of the lodges, but we could
still walk down to the lifts with no problem. Have pictures of the lifts and not a soul in another chair. We went back every year till they closed. I also
check every year to see if it has reopened. Keeping our fingers crossed still...!"
"My wife and I found Ski Rio in 1996 and made the drive from Albuquerque several times. We fell in love with the place so much we actually put a
down payment on property there. We found a parcel on the trail called Smart Money. Unfortunately we had to relocate out of state and were able
to get our money back. In hindsight that was probably for the best. I wonder what happened to all the people that bought into property there? Now
were back in New Mexico and it's a shame Ski Rio is still down and out."
-Ian and Robyn
"I remember taking the back roads up to ski this resort from our ranch which is located on the backside and North of ski Rio. I had an uncle who
was a general contractor building the cabins high up on the mountain for the owners at that time. I remember it being the perfect ski resort, not
crowded and easy to ski. Also remember the Texans and their bright snow suits while the locals were in sweats and Levi's the snow was so dry.
Being raised in the area and still having a lot of family there, I was sorry to hear that it has gone through so much trouble over the years and is not
"I skied at Rio during the winter 1988. I remember it especially since it was the first time I had my son on skis. He didn't actually ski but sorta
scooted around. Rio was a great place for families and we had a great time their with our friends and family. Sorry to see it isn't open now."
I grew up in Northern New Mexico, and went skiing in Costilla a couple times a year for about 5 years, late middle school and all high school.
Learining on Sipapu and skiing Taos regularly, Rio was by
far, my most favorite. I wish it were open now, so my family could see how wonderful a ski area it is!!!
"We stumbled upon Ski Rio in the mid '90s, while living in Raton, and it was fabulous. I remember one specific day trip with another couple. My ex
and my friend took off from the top of the mountain down the expert runs. My friend's husband and I took off the other direction (I was NOT an
expert skier!). Very shortly after getting off the lift, we split up, as he wanted to ski some trees and said we'd meet up a short way down. I tell you....
I did not encounter another human being all the way down the mountain. It was incredible!!! If the resort ever got it together and opened again, I'd
definitely be back."
|Copyright © coloradoskihistory.com
All Rights Reserved.
|Bravo services all levels of terrain and was Ski Rio's first chairlift.
|Pictures of lower portions of Bravo
|The loading station for the Charlie Lift
|Rio from Hwy 196
|The upper bowl
|Trails off of "C"
|The Ski Rio billboard
on Hwy 522
|The rental & sports shop, ski area offices and property management building.
|The just past the ski area's road closure, ski patrol and maintenance buildings.
|Summit Ski Patrol Building
|Summit Tow lift
|The drive terminal for "C"
|Fall colors at Rio
|Rio without Lifts A & B; The Rental Shop/Management Office/Ski
School Buildings are being torn down.
|Pictures from the old Ski Rio website.
|The Bravo Lift
|The Base Lodge
|The original Silvertree Restaurant