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FEBRUARY 6–8, 14–16, 28

PEAK PARTIES

The state’s best winter activities may start on a mountaintop, but there’s no slowing down when you reach the foot of your run. Ski-area events this month include Angel Fire’s Winter Carnival and Shovel Racing World Championships (February 6–8), where cash prizes go to whoever can skid down the slope fastest on nothing but a steel shovel (there’s a “Lil’ Scoops” division for kids as young as six) and there’s a USASA ski-and-snowboard competition going on, too (800-633-7463; angelfireresort.com). At Sipapu’s February Fun Fest (February 14–16), a Saturday parade and costume contest and a Santa Fe Brewing Co. Happy Hops Hunt for adults are all free (800-587- 2240; sipapunm.com). Enchanted Forest’s Just Desserts Eat & Ski (February 28) lines a five-kilometer cross-country ski/snowshoe course with decadent creations from Red River restaurants—Brett’s Bistro’s 18-layer chocolate-cinammon torte and Sundance Mexican Restaurant’s off-menu wild blueberry pie are past favorites. (575) 754-6112; enchantedforestxc.com


JANUARY 29–FEBRUARY 1

SIP AND SLIDE

A toast to Taos: The new chairlift on 12,450-foot Kachina Peak has turned what was already one of the state’s top ski destinations into the talk of the season. Raise a glass—and snag a lift pass—during the Taos Winter Wine Festival, an après-ski tradition for 28 years and counting. Thursday’s opening-night reserve tasting at El Monte Sagrado includes special offerings from 36 vintners and a silent wine auction for charity. After enjoying some downhill time Friday morning, stop by an evening party at the Taos Ski Valley Resort Center or attend a wine seminar with Master Sommelier Joe Spellman. Saturday’s Grand Tasting (4–6:30 p.m. at the Resort Center; $75 admission) features more than 155 wines, but you don’t have to get to them all; there will be opportunities throughout the weekend at wine dinners, a film screening at the Harwood Museum, and Sunday’s champagne brunch. (505) 946-8506; taoswinter winefest.com



FEBRUARY 6–8, 12–17

CAJUN SAISON

No need to book a ticket to Bourbon Street for this year’s Fat Tuesday festivities. You can laissez les bon temps rouler with a New Mexico accent at two high-altitude Mardi Gras bashes. Mardi Gras in the Clouds, held February 6–8 in Cloudcroft, serves up food and firewater under a big-top tent, a Cajun cooking contest, a battle of the bands, and a parade followed by an evening masquerade ball (575-682-2733; coolcloudcroft.com). Up north, head to Red River’s Mardi Gras in the Mountains the following week, which features many of the same highlights along with the Burning of the Wild Tchoupitoulas (think Zozobra with a Lenten twist) and a family-friendly Children’s Ball. (575) 754-2366; redrivermardigrasinthemountains.com



FEBRUARY 7

PLEASURE HUNT

Getting rich in Silver City has never been easier—rich chocolate, that is. Luscious, cacao-laden local confections dot this charming former mining town like so many nuggets (or nougats). That’s the can’t-miss prospect behind Chocolate Fantasia, a pre–Valentine’s Day treasure hunt for sweet-toothed sweethearts and their fellow chocolate lovers. Start at the Silco Theater, on Bullard Street, where $20 equips you with an unlimited sampling ticket and “chocolate map” (boxes to transport your trove are an extra $2), then stop by more than a dozen locations to gather gourmet treats as live musicians playing around town sustain the mood. (575) 538-2505; mimbresarts.org/2015-chocolate-fantasia



FEBRUARY 21

HOT AND COLD

Perched at a snowy 6,198 feet in the Jémez Mountains but warmed from beneath by the geothermal activity that supplies the town’s namesake soaking spots, Jémez Springs has the right natural contrasts to throw a wrap party for winter and toast the coming thaw. The Fire and Ice Festival on February 21 does just that with an eclectic lineup of family-friendly events ranging from a chainsaw carving competition to a pie contest and arts-and-crafts booths. Warm your toes by a bonfire in the village center before sipping a cold one (or two) at the beer garden. (575) 829-3540; jemezsprings.org



FEBRUARY 22–MARCH 1

CHOOSY CHEWERS CHOOSE NM

Fifty-one weeks out of the year, the Land of Enchantment dishes out unique cuisine that seems impossible to beat—then New Mexico Restaurant Week comes along, and frenzied foodies discover a whole new batch of state secrets. From February 22 to March 1, around a hundred participating restaurants in Taos, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and other communities will whip up special prix fixe three-course dinners that “put their best food forward.” Diners will have a variety of price points to choose from (two people for $25, or $20, 30, or $40 per person), and some venues will offer lunch specials as well. Also on the week’s menu: special events like last year’s “Molecular Gastronomy: Cooking with Science” or the “Chile Relleno Master Class” with Las Cosas’ Johnny Vee. Book ahead. (505) 847-3333; nmrestaurantweek.com



FEBRUARY 28–MARCH 1

VIOLIN FEMME


Violin -femme


It’s said that at the premiere of Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony, where the deaf composer conducted his own work, “the orchestra largely ignored his ungainly gestures and followed the principal violinist instead.” With all due respect to conductor Thomas O’Connor, first fiddle will again be star when Santa Fe Pro Musica performs that symphony on back-to-back dates at the Lensic Performing Arts Center with visiting violinist Midori, a recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize. With the orchestra attuned to her virtuosic lead, Schumann’s Violin Concerto in D Minor and Kernis’s “Musica Celestis” are also sure to shine. (505) 988-4640; santafepromusica.com