Ski Season in New Mexico

Imagine packing the kids in the car and driving to a land where the skies are pure blue, the temperature mild, the roads clear and the prices affordable. A dream? Not at all. This is New Mexico skiing and boarding at its finest.

Your decision to bring the family to the “Land of Enchantment” will prove to be one of the best winter vacation choices of your life. The eight alpine and three Nordic ski areas dotted throughout the state will provide you with the ultimate in sporting options, outstanding scenery, unbelievable food, out-of-this-world shopping, and a never-to-be-forgotten cultural experience. And—oh yes—exceptional skiing and riding.

With over 300 inches of snow each winter and over 300 days of sunshine each year, winter sports in New Mexico include exceptional downhill skiing and riding, picturesque high-mountain Nordic skiing, snowmobiling, inner tube riding, and snowshoeing. In the New Mexico mountains there is fun for everyone.

The Surprise of the Southwest What you don’t know about skiing the Land of Enchantment — and should!

“...New Mexico is truly an eye-opening place to spend time. Natural beauty, friendly service, uncrowded trails, unique culture, and easy access to ski areas combine to make New Mexico a surprisingly perfect place to ski.”

THE ROCKIES BEGIN RIGHT HERE

New Mexicans don’t mind that you think of hanging ristras when you think of New Mexico.

But if Easy Rider, saguaro cacti, enchiladas, Wiley Coyote and Georgia O’Keeffe define New Mexico for you, you’re missing some important facts about the Land of Enchantment. Namely, that the Rocky Mountains begin here (and head north, as we see it), and New Mexico offers nearly non- stop sunshine and some of the best type of snow—whether by Mother Nature or by man.

FRIENDLY, FAMILY-OWNED AND FANTASTICALLY LAID BACK

New Mexico is an unabashedly friendly state. We’re accustomed to visitors; travelers from all over the country and the world, people with a love of the outdoors, history and quality family time. We like to share our knowledge and our natural resources, and we like it when our guests appreciate that and come back.

New Mexico is also all about homegrown. The businesses you’ll enjoy are often family owned and almost always independently operated — often truly and wonderfully one of a kind. You won’t be barraged by corporate logos or bombarded by national chains. We’re Mom and Pop to a large degree, and vacationers seem to like it that way. The fact is, there’s a bit about this big, beautiful and inviting state that skiers, snowboarders and families looking for a laid-back snow vacation should know. New Mexico is truly a unique ski destination. It may be a surprise to you, but New Mexico is also one of the best winter vacation values you can drive to, and one of the best cultural trips you can easily share with your kids. It’s true. Let us introduce you.

OPEN YOUR EYES

New Mexico is truly an eye-opening place to spend time. Natural beauty, friendly service, uncrowded trails, unique culture, and easy access to ski areas combine to make New Mexico a surprisingly perfect place to ski.

New Mexico is also quietly becoming a preferred winter destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts on all types of budgets and with all ski abilities.

Once you ski here, you’ll keep coming back. It’s true. More and more people do.

Few places on earth offer the rich history and blend of cultures you’ll find in New Mexico.

by Cara Fox, for SLOPES magazine

 


New Mexico is a Rocky Mountain state.

New Mexico is a Rocky Mountain state.
Our elevations are mighty high.
Yes, we have Rocky Mountain height here. The southern Rockies begin in northern New Mexico and include three ranges (from south to north): Sierra Nacimiento, the Tusas Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which claim the highest elevation in the state, at 13,161-foot Wheeler Peak near Taos.

New Mexico has tons of sun.
Feel solar powered on powder.
On average, we’re blessed with 300 days of blue sky a year. That’s 82 percent sunshine year round.

New Mexico is a green state.
We’re dedicated to recycling, reusing and preserving resources.
Sustainability is a New Mexican sensibility, with statewide solutions that include green communities, locally grown organic food cooperatives, and LEED-certified eco-friendly home design and construction incorporating the latest materials and technologies.

New Mexico is an easy place to hang out.
Hospitality is king here.
New Mexico has a strong tourism economy. Our natural beauty, unique culture, art colonies, and huge range of outdoor of adven- ture opportunities draw more than 13 million vacationers a year. So we certainly know how to make a visitor feel welcome! Source: reuters.com

New Mexico offers time and money savings.
Getting here is more affordable.
A drive vacation is a freer vacation. Free of baggage and parking fees. Free to spend more time doing what you came here for.

New Mexico remains true to its roots. All of them.
Indian, Hispanic and settler histories are alive here.
Few places on Earth offer the rich history and blend of cultures you’ll find in New Mexico.

by Cara Fox, for SLOPES magazine

Opening dates, What’s New and Don’t Miss!

Angel Fire Resort (24 miles E. of Taos)
The only place to night ski in New Mexico.
Opens: December 12
What’s New: Powder City is a new front-of-the-mountain terrain park that stays open late for night skiing and snowboarding.
Don’t Miss: Give your skis a break and slide down the mountain on a shovel instead. The Shovel Races Championships (February 7-8) are as silly – and as serious – as the name implies. Top competitors reach speeds of nearly 80 mph.

(800) 633-7463; (575) 377-6401; angelfireresort.com

Pajarito Mountain Ski Area (outside Los Alamos)

Ski the Jemez – downhill or cross-country.
Opens: Early December
What’s New: The Pajarito Brewpub & Grill, in downtown Los Alamos, serves up the best food in town and stays open late. You’ll enjoy the ski décor and the vast beer menu.
Don’t Miss: Torchlight Parade (December 31). At dusk, Pajarito staff ski down the mountain holding torches, while visitors enjoy drinks and snack on the deck. You can also access cross-country skiing trails on Forest Service land from Pajarito’s parking lot. These trails are maintained by the Southwest Nordic Ski Club (swnordicski.org)

(505) 662-5725; skipajarito.com

Red River Ski & Snowboard Area (36 miles NE of Taos)
Mining town turned ski town – that likes to party.
Opens: November 27
What’s New: The UNM Corporate Ski Cup has a new name: the UNM Ultimate Ski & Snowboard Challenge. On January 18, 2014 compete alongside Lobo athletes in up to three races. Can’t make this weekend? The series come to Angle Fire on January 25, Santa Fe on February 22 and Taos on March 1.
Don’t Miss: From a crawfish boil to a gator plunge, Mardi Gras in the Mountains (February 27-March 4) is a week of wild fun.

(575) 754-2223; redriverskiarea.com

Sandia Peak Ski & Tramway (E. of Albuquerque)
Small Mountain, big views, only 25 minutes from the Sunport.
Opens: Late November (weather permitting)
What’s New: High Finance Restaurant, atop Sandia Peak, now accepts lunch and dinner reservations through opentable.com
Don’t Miss: Because Sandia doesn’t get as much powder as the other resorts, it’s best to check their website before making plans. Snowshoeing, however, is almost always an option. Consider the Sandia Peak Snowshoe Race (January 18), which offers spectacular views of the Duke City, the Rio Grande and the Turquoise Trail.

(505) 242- 9052; sandiapeak.com

Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort (in Vadito, 25 miles S. of Taos)
Uncrowded slopes, family-friendly atmosphere.
Opens: November 16 (Sipapu’s earliest opening ever, and 11th straight year the resort has been the first ski area to open in New Mexico).
What’s New: Fourth- and fifth-graders ski free everyday (report card required). Kids six and younger, active-duty military, those aged 40, 60, 70 and older.
Don’t Miss: Forget about sand castles. February Fun Fest, a free event held President’s Day weekend (February 15-17), boasts a multistory snow castle that’s full of slides, steps and tunnels. “No one else in New Mexico builds anything like this,” says marketing director Stacey Glaser. “It takes our mountain crews a full week to create it!” In addition to the castle, the weekend includes scavenger hunts, a costume parade, face painting and games.

(800) 587-2240; sipapunm.com

Ski Apache (outside Ruidoso)
The southernmost ski resort in the country- and it has a new gondola
Opens: November 28
What’s New: Ski Apache’s 51-year-old passenger gondola was retired in January 2013 and replaced with the Apache Arrow, a new, high-speed, Doppelmayr gondola. The vessel carries eight passengers to 11,500 feet twice as fast as the old lift. In addition, four swift new ski lifts will whisk 3,600 more skiers to trail heads hourly.
Don’t Miss: Gather together a team of five for the Ski Apache Cup and Vertical Challenge (mid-January). See how many vertical feet you can total in four hours. Unwind afterward at the Inn of the Mountain Gods.

(575) 464-3600; skiapache.com

Ski Cloudcroft (E. of Alamogordo)
Celebrating 50 years of southern skiing in the Sacramento Mountains.
Opens: December
What’s New: Ski Cloudcroft has been operating since 1963. This years the resort celebrates 50 years with great skiing weather permitting; check Facebook for updates. The Silver Spoon Ski School and Mustard’s Last Stand restaurant are as good as ever.
Don’t Miss: Cloudcroft might be small (fewer than 800 residents), but holidays are a big deal here. Bring an ornament to decorate the tree at the Lighted Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting (December 7), or chow down on Cajun cuisine during Mardi Gras in the Clouds (February 28-March 2).

(575) 682-2333; skicloudcroft.net

Ski Santa Fe (outside Santa Fe)
A sunny slope only 20 minutes from the capital city.
Opens: November 28
What’s New: The recently renovated La Casa Lodge features a new rental facility that offers more that 1,000 sets of Head skis and Burton snowboard equipment, plus boots, poles, helmets, and more. The lodge’s spiffy new food court features a bakery and pasta bar.
Don’t Miss: Rando skiing, which combines aspects of alpine, telemark, and backcountry skiing with mountaineering, is all the rage among winter-sports buffs, and Ski Santa Fe is offering the state’s first competition. The Santa Fe Fireball Rando Race (February 8) climbs approximately 4,200 feet and includes multiple ascents on climbing skins and at least one bootpack.

(505) 982- 4429; skisantafe.com

Taos Ski Valley (outside Taos)
Big-mountain skiing.
Opens: November 28
What’s New: The upcoming December issue of New Mexico Magazine will include a report on exciting new developments in the works at TSV.
Don’t Miss: With both a ski event and a benefit auction, Breast Cancer Awareness Day takes place February 22. During the K2 Bumps Challenge, teams of two ski Al’s Run as many times as possible in four hours. That evening, bidders can take home snowboards that have been painted by local artists during the Paint for Peaks Art Auction. The Salomon Extreme Freerider Championships (February 27-March 1) showcase some of the best double-diamond terrain in the country. Over 150 athletes compete for more than $15,000 in prizes.

(575) 776-2291; skitaos.org

Snowshoes On

Snowshoeing is another great way to enjoy winter weather while having fun and feeling the burn. These days, thanks to aluminum frames and plastic decking, snowshoes are much lighter and less cumbersome than the wood-and-leather rackets worn in centuries past. Snowshoe anywhere you’d normally hike, or opt for locations such as the Valles Caldera National Preserve (505-661-3333; vallescaldera.gov), or the Enchanted Forest Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Area (EFXC) (575-754-6112; enchantedforestxc.com), near Red River, which cater to New Mexico’s ever-growing population of snowshoers. Valles Caldera even offers night snowshoeing; on January 12, you can trek around the ancient volcano by the light of the almost-full moon.

If you’re not sure where to start, EFXC offers a snowshoe clinic and fun run (December 7-8) where you can learn everything from proper snowshoeing technique to what to wear for hiking or racing. Many sporting-goods stores, such as REI, also offer snowshoe rentals and tips for beginners.

If you get hooked- and are feeling speedy- the Santa Fe Snowshoe Classic (January 4) is a 5K race on the Norski Track Ski Trail, off Hyde Park Road. EFXC’s Low O2 Challenge (January 26) is a 5/10K event over singletrack and groomed trails; top finishers qualify for the U.S. Snowshoe Association’s national championship event in Vermont.

Special Travel Offer

Lodging Specials & Deals in Taos and Taos Ski Valley

The snow is falling and the Holidays are on thier way. NOW is the time to take advantage of these great offers.

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More About Skiing in New Mexico

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