New Mexico is one of those states you tend to gloss over, assuming there is just desert and more desert with a side of desert. Dirt aside, New Mexico is one great place to visit. Incredible history (Native American, Spanish, Mexican, even Civil War and WWII), and stunning physical geography are but two of the reasons to visit, but it’s that last part…geography that’s so diverse. Yes, there are flat, dry sections, but Northern New Mexico is home to terrific skiing, boarding, cross country skiing and snow mobiling.
The Art of the Extreme
At Taos Ski Valley, one of the many family-owned ski areas, you have one of the top U.S. ski destinations. People often confuse
with the town of the same name,
but the ski area is a 20 minute drive outside of the art-centric town. Known as
one of the most difficult and challenging places to ski, their top run, Kachina, starts at about 12,500 feet and many runs have near
vertical faces and are rated black and double-black. But no worries, they also
operate a highly regarded ski school and Taos does have beginner and
intermediate runs as well – but even these are a little more extreme than most. Taos Ski Valley
|What seems like all of Taos...but which isn't|
Ski by Day, Pampered by Night
At Ski Santa Fe, the only day-use facility in the region, the benefits are that it is about 30 minutes from downtown Santa Fe, therefore you can ski for the day, then head back to town for pampered lodgings (personally I love La Fonda, but Hotel Chimayo is also a smart choice), excellent food (Check out Tabla at the Hotel St. Francis, also a cool bar scene there), art galleries, and museums (the New Mexico Museum of History is pretty cool). There are 77 runs at Ski Santa Fe, all set amidst stunning and mature Aspen trees,
firs and spruce trees giving this spot some of the prettiest runs. First
established in 1947, this family owned-facility has drops of 1,800 vertical
feet, and if you are over 72 years of age, you can ski for free! There are two
restaurants on-site and a French pastry chef bakes up some killer pastries.
They also offer an Adaptive Ski Program for skiers with disabilities so everyone can get on the slopes. From the top of the high runs you are just over 12,000 feet, and there is the peculiar juxtaposition of standing on snow covered Alpine mountains and taking in the stunning views of the desert region below you including Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and you can peek into Colorado. They are currently expanding and updating their facility and they have brand new, immensely comfortable Head boots, certainly the most comfortable ski boots I’ve ever had on my feet.
|The views atop Ski Santa Fe|
Regardless of where you may choose to ski in New Mexico – and there are 11 resorts and ski areas in total – it is always a smart idea to try something new. Therefore if you’ve never considered this region, it’s time to rethink, re-boot and relax, all in Northern New Mexico. I had a blast. You will too. For a brief video I shot at Ski Santa Fe, click here:
WHEN YOU GO
www.SkiTaos.org, (866) 968-7386
www.SkiSantaFe.com, (503) 982-4429