The Sandia Peak Tram has been with us fifty years.
According to our tram operator there are 600,000 patrons each year and the only time the tram shuts down is when the wind blows over fifty miles per hour or threatening lightning storms are close.
The tram has been stuck in the middle of its run a few times when electric went out or a fuse blew, but the operator doesn’t say anything about an incident years ago that had people lowered by ropes from the tram car to the desert floor. In the summer the ride makes mountain views and hiking easily accessible. In the winter skiers can go directly to Sandia mountain ski lifts without having to drive the back side of the mountain up winding narrow snow packed mountain roads.
From observation decks visitors can see a sprawling Albuquerque, have lunch at the High Finance Restaurant, hike 26 miles of trails, or just chill at ten thousand feet in the clouds. This afternoon visitors chat, take photos, enjoy being out. There are sightseers speaking foreign languages and visibility is spectacular.
The idea for the tram came from a man named Robert Nordstrum and his friend Ben Abruzzo. Mr. Nordstrum went to Europe and decided to bring a tram to Albuquerque. There were technical challenges but the tram has become a part of our community. Abruzzo started the Albuquerque Balloon Festival that maintains a world reputation and brings thousands to the city in the fall.
This afternoon Robert, a friend, looks over the edge of the cliff. We are going to hike the trail that goes from the Tram to the top of Sandia Crest.
From up here, looking out, like ancient man, – my issues don’t look big anymore.