We recently made the case for what makes skiing and snowboarding in New Mexico special. Some quick reasons? High elevation that means light, dry snow, powder that lasts for days, and a season that extends into March and April. Today, a rundown of eight ski resorts and ski areas in the Land of Enchantment. Read on.
Red River Ski Area
Known as the “Ski Town of the Southwest,” this former mining town is a popular year-round destination. All runs funnel back to the resort base, making it easy for families to turn their kids loose. Tubing and fireworks every Saturday during ski season make Red River extra fun. Snowmaking covers 85% of the mountain, ensuring a Thanksgiving opening.
Mountain Stats: 209 skiable acres. 1,600’ vertical. 63 runs, 7 lifts, 3 terrain parks. 31% beginner, 31% intermediate, 38% advanced.
Don’t Miss: After a lesson or two, beginners head to the Backside to happily ski all day. On the frontside, soar above town on either Broadway and Boomtown and get lost in the trees on The Steeps.
Angel Fire Resort
One of three ski areas on the 83-mile “The Enchanted Circle” byway (the others being Taos Ski Valley and Red River), Angel Fire has a large base village with lodging, dining, tubing and sledding, nordic skiing, and New Mexico’s only night skiing.
Slopeside lodging makes Angel Fire extremely family-friendly and the resort takes this to the next level with an interchangeable “Parenting Pass,” for parents taking turns skiing and babysitting. There is also a reduced price season pass for teachers from any state and 5th graders ski free.
Mountain Stats: 560 skiable acres. 2,077’ vertical. 81 runs, 7 lifts, 3 terrain parks. 21% beginner, 56% intermediate, 23% advanced.
Don’t Miss: The online First Time Visitor Guide has everything you need to know from lessons to lodging. If you’re visiting in February, come for the World Championship Snow Shovel Races.
Tucked away in the Jemez Mountains, Pajarito was once the private reserve of Cold War scientists at nearby Los Alamos. Long since open to the public, Pajarito favorites include the bump runs on the west side of the ski area, as well as big views from the top of Rim Run — an undulating green that’s fun for everyone.
Mountain Stats: 750 skiable acres. 1,440’ vertical. 44 runs, 5 lifts, 2 terrain parks. 20% easy, 50% intermediate, 30% advanced.
Don’t Miss: The Fab 4 – Another Mother, Sidwinder, Breathless and Precious — Pajarito’s famed bump terrain. For groomed runs, check out Pussycat or Daisy Mae.
Sandia Peak is just a 15-minute tram ride or 40-minute drive from Albuquerque. It’s known as an excellent place to learn to ski or ride and has a large beginner hill. The mountain is open Friday – Sunday and on holidays. Snowshoeing and nordic skiing are available if you bring your own gear.
Mountain Stats: 200 skiable acres. 1,700’ vertical. 39 runs, 5 lifts, 1 terrain park. 31% beginner, 46% intermediate, 23% advanced.
Don’t Miss: Suicide and Little Suicide are short and steep, while Double Eagle and Fred’s Run are long smooth cruisers. The views and a meal at the new mountain top restaurant are a special treat.
Just 22 miles from Taos, Sipapu is local favorite “where you’re as likely to see ski racers on high-end gear as someone spraying down their Carhart’s with scotch guard,” explains spokesperson John Paul Bradley. Daily adult lift tickets are below $50, and 40% of the mountain is rated advanced and expert. Military members skis for free.
Mountain Stats: 200 skiable acres. 1,055’ vertical. 41 runs, 6 lifts, 3 terrain parks. 20% beginner, 40% intermediate, 25% advanced, 15% expert.
Don’t Miss: Hit the hardest terrain and the glades on powder days and you’ll have them mostly to yourself. Beep Beep is a favorite for intermediates, while beginners have a 330’ hill to themselves.
One of the southernmost ski areas in the United States, Ski Apache is a year-round destination on the north side of 12,005’ Sierra Blanca. Owned and operated by the Mescalero Tribe of Apaches, it’s among the largest ski resorts in New Mexico and home to the state’s only gondola. Lodging is in nearby Ruidoso, the cowboy town where Billy the Kid died.
Mountain Stats: 750 skiable acres. 1,900’ vertical. 55 runs, 11 lifts, 3 terrain parks. 18% beginner, 55% intermediate, 27% advanced.
Don’t Miss: Powder skiing on the day after a storm. Because the road to the ski area often closes, the snow builds up (as does the anticipation). Beginner runs are wide and gentle and have snowmaking. Check conditions before you go to see what else is open.
Ski Santa Fe
Close to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, Ski Santa Fe is where many New Mexico locals learn to ski and ride. Weekends are fun, but busy. Ski midweek and have the mountain, with its long cruisers and famous glade skiing, to yourself.
Mountain Stats: 660 skiable acres. 1,725’ vertical. 83 runs, 7 lifts, 1 terrain park. 20% beginner, 40% intermediate, 35% advanced, 5% expert.
Don’t Miss: Lunch, live music and a beer at mid-mountain Totemoff’s Bar is required on sunny days. Explore the trees, bumps and chutes off chairs 7 and 3. Or, cruise the blues from the top of each of the ski area’s three peaks.
Taos Ski Valley
With some recently upgraded lifts, the children’s center, and the base village, Taos is a must-ski destination. Expanded air service makes travel easier, but Taos is still remote and relatively uncrowded. Unique among ski resorts, Taos Ski Valley is a B Corp, committed to sustainability and social justice.
Mountain Stats: 1,294 skiable acres. 3,281’ vertical. 110 runs, 14 lifts, 1 terrain park. 24% beginner, 25% intermediate, 51% expert.
Don’t Miss: Expert skiing on lift-served Kachina Peak takes you to a realm of steep chutes and natural obstacles when conditions permit. Check in with Patrol before accessing any of the resort’s hike-to terrain. Off-mountain, Taos is the third oldest city in the U.S. and adjacent to Taos Pueblo which has been inhabited since at least 1000 AD.