From the bottom of the hill the cables running up the side of the mountain don’t look all that impressive. The mountain itself doesn’t look all that impressive. But distance can have that effect. Once we are at the bottom of the hill where the boarding station sits, the mountain looks a good deal more impressive.
The Sandia Peak Skyway cars are slightly larger versions of the Skycar rides commonly found at amusement parks and state fairs. The woman working in the car says that it holds fifty people, which seems a little on the optimistic side to me. With only six passengers and one attendant the car sways and rocks and bobs along the cables in a most unsettling fashion-what would this be like with 50 people?
The Attendant points at things out the windows and comments on what a clear day it is. Being just a bit afraid of heights, this is pretty much a thrill ride for me. The movement of the car is worse when it tops one of the support towers and then rocks forward and back as it re-settles itself on the cables. This is a fifteen minute ride and the views out the windows are pretty.
Once we reach the top we find ourselves in a deserted iesort. There is still snow, there are three ski-lifts, and there is the view that stretches a couple of hundred miles around Albuquerque, New Mexico. Which means a lot of emptiness, but it is still pretty impressive to be able to see so far.
Since we took one of the early cars and it’s a Tuesday morning, there nothing much to do but turn around and ride back down again. The ride down just as bumpy and jostlely as the ride up. Being at the top wasn’t frightening at all, the top of a mountain has a nice solidity to it. Bouncing on a tiny steel cable a couple of hundred feet in the air has no such feeling security. At one point we came to a complete stop on the cable and the car rocked forward and aft in a grip tightening manner.
Of course, the Sandia Peak Skyway was not designed as a thrill ride, but just as a fast way to get skiers up to the top of the mountain. These things seem to be pretty common in the Alps and other ski meccas around the world. That’s where the guy who built this one got the idea.