Fly Fishing Tips with Van

Summers at Sipapu mean one thing: fly fishing. Every Saturday, our local expert angler, Van Beecham, hosts FREE casting clinics for the community. We asked Van to tell us exactly what you can expect–here’s what he had to say!

Sipapu is centrally located in the heart of the Camino Real Ranger District of the Carson National Forest, making it the ideal place to stay and fish the Rio Pueblo de Picuris, which runs right through the property. From the ski area, we conduct our free casting clinics right next to the game and fish pond located right on the resort.

Our casting clinic takes a unique approach that I developed specifically for fishing small to medium size streams like we have here in New Mexico and all the southern Rockies. Casting on small streams do not require long casts. In fact, shorter casts are much more productive and require specific skills that we teach during the clinic. In the class, students will learn the elements that make a basic cast, how to shoot line, line control, and how to cast in different situations including how to cast in the wind. The clinic takes about 100 minutes more or less, depending on the class size.

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After the free class, I host a half-day course to continue your fly fishing education. The class gives you an introduction to line set-ups including the knots used in fly fishing, the flies that we use including dry flies, nymphs and streamers and the terminal tackle used in fly fishing. Then we teach how to approach and read the water including tips on wading in the river. Finally, we teach you how to identify insects and match them with an imitation.

Once all that’s done we teach the students how to apply their new-found casting skills on real trout in real, natural situations but that’s just the beginning. Now they have to learn how to control their line once the fly is on the water in order to achieve what is known as “a good drift” on the fly. Without the proper drag-free drift it is unlikely a fish will strike at the fly. When the right drift is finally achieved you have to now be ready for the strike because they are quick and the flies are de-barbed (to get them out of your flesh easier). When you get a strike you must set the hook with an authoritative twitch of the rod tip and then keep continuous, even pressure throughout the fight with a bent rod until the fish gives up and slides into the landing net. Once the hook is delicately removed we then gently release the beautiful specimen back into the cool, clear water to be caught again.

The goal is to introduce students to dry fly, nymph, and streamer fishing techniques and to hopefully catch and release one or more fish. After the class, the angler should have enough confidence to go to their favorite stream and fly fish for trout. Of course, like any art form, it takes years of practice to get good and half a lifetime to become a so-called expert and even then you never stop learning new things in this sport. Click here to register for our next FREE casting clinic!

Six Things to Do Around Sipapu!

Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort offers the perfect blend of quiet, laid-back style and ongoing, family-friendly events. So, whether you’re looking to experience one of the finest trout fishing regions in the state, an unforgettable white water rafting adventure, or simply enjoy the refreshingly cool air of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Sipapu is the place to be all year long! Here are our top six activities found within a stone's throw of the resort:
 

Tour the Earthship Community
An Earthship is a type of passive solar house that is made of both natural and upcycled materials such as earth-packed tires, pioneered by architect Michael Reynolds. These unique houses are made using recycled materials wherever possible and rely on natural energy sources to be independent of the grid. Take a self-guided tour of the Earthship visitor center or get a large enough group and tour several homes and buildings in the community. To schedule a tour contact Earthship visitor center directly at 575-613-4409. Check out their website here.

View the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
After checking out the earthship community drive a mile south on Highway 64 to the Rio Grand Gorge Bridge. This massive bridge spans 1,280 feet and provides view spectacular views of the Rio Grande and the surrounding canyon. This bridge is one of America's highest and most impressive overpasses! Learn more here.

Taos Pueblo
South of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge visit the multi-storied adobe buildings of Northern New Mexico. These buildings have been continuously inhabited for over 100 years! Tour the Taos Pueblo village and learn highlights of the culture, history, and people that live there. These guided tours run every 20 minutes on the hour and are run by local college students who rely on the gratuity of visitors. Check out their website here.

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs
Take a load off at the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa. Located just north of Santa fe, Ojo is a secluded oasis of relaxation. Earn your spa day with hiking, and biking or even a yoga class. After hop in one of the many pools to choose from or take a warm mud bath. Afterwords relax with a restorative massage. Find out more here.

Book a Raft Trip
Looking for a thrill? Book a rafting trip down one of the many surrounding rivers! Guided tours with a friendly guide are available daily throughout the summer months. Learn about the different rafting options or to book a trip see details here.

Go Fly Fishing with Solitary Angler
Drop a line into the local stocked lakes, rivers, and streams with Solitary Angler. Get the best fly fishing advice and tips from expert guides. Guided fly fishing trips are anywhere from 3-4 hours of fishing to multiple day trips. Learn more about fishing with Solitary Angler here.

Every Kid 5th Grade & Younger Gets a FREE Season Pass!

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Kids just want to have fun, and they’ll have a blast every day with their FREE season pass! That’s right, kids in fifth grade for the 18/19 school year receive a FREE season pass, valid at Pajarito Mountain Ski Area, Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort, and Hesperus! Every child entering fourth grade during the 18/19 school year or younger receive a FREE season pass that’s good every day at Sipapu, Purgatory, Hesperus, Snowbowl, and Pajarito during the 18/19 winter season. No purchase necessary, no strings attached – it’s all free!

How Kids Can Get Their FREE Pass
Lock in your FREE season pass online here and when you’re ready to pick it up, be sure to bring something that shows your child’s grade or age (example: a report card). We’ll need to know that your child is entering fifth grade during the 2018-2019 school year (or younger!)

Wondering if you should take advantage of the FREE winter pass or purchase the Power Pass for kids 12 and younger? Check out this buyers guide.

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More Fun Than You Can Shake a Ski Pole At
Here are just a few more ways kids can have fun while using their FREE season pass:

Ski the Magic Carpet
Hot cocoa breaks (with whipped cream and sprinkles, of course)
Snowball fights
Building snowmen
Making snow angels
Ongoing family events 
Group lessons
Private lessons

And much more!

Have questions about our FREE season pass or want to learn more about what makes Sipapu a great place for kids? Call us at (800) 587-2240.

Scout Service Day at Sipapu

This past Saturday, we partnered with the Boy Scouts of America Great Southwest Council and NMX Sports to host the third annual Mountain Community Clean Up Day. Boy Scout Troop 3 from Albuquerque, New Mexico made to the Carson National Forest for the weekend to lend a helping hand at the event.

BoyScouts at Sipapu
Troop 3 with the trash they collected and the necklaces they found. Photo by Eddie Vargas

Troop 3 helped clean up the mountain by combing the trails to pick up trash (and sometimes find treasures!) that accumulate throughout the ski season. Through their hark word, the volunteers picked up over 70 pounds of trash from the lift line of Lift ! The Scouts even found some unique treasures, including some beaded Mardi Gras necklaces that had fallen from the lift and were buried in snow during winter.

Boyscouts at Sipapu
Troop 3 enjoying lunch at the Riverside Cafe.

The scouts took a load off at our Riverside Cafe to refuel after all their hard work! It wasn’t all work and no play. The scouts tried their hand on our disc golf course and even dropped a line on the Rio Pueblo on their quest to earn a fishing merit badge.

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Mountain Clean-up Day is a great event to kick start the summer at Sipapu, and keep the mountain clean for all its visitors and wildlife alike. All summer, Sipapu features exciting mountain activities, including free fly fishing classes, disc golf tournaments, watercolor workshops, and more. We hope to see you on the mountain this summer!