Winter Sports

The ultimate skier’s guide to New Mexico

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Taos, New Mexico Ski Resort

By: Bill Morrow

Winter sports have had a home in New Mexico for decades. While there aren’t hundreds of resorts to choose from, the few that remain are equal in epicness, value, and quality. Some New Mexico skiing destinations are better for families with young kids or beginners, while other New Mexico skiing destinations are notorious for their adrenaline-pumping black diamond runs. Some even ban snowboarders all together! Whether you’re toting a huge crew along or hitting the slopes on a solo adventure, the choice is easy. New Mexico skiing and snowboarding resorts are some of the best in the country.

Taos

Some say Taos Ski Valley has the toughest runs in all of New Mexico skiing. It’s true that Toas boasts more than 70 black runs, many of which are double black diamonds, but don’t be alarmed! There are plenty of intermediate and beginner runs for the less advanced in your group. As one of only four ski areas in the United States that bans snowboarding, the skiing in Taos is serious. Under the gaze of New Mexico’s highest mountain, Mount Wheeler, the resort has five distinct areas to keep you entertained for an entire week. The two most challenging areas, Highline Ridge and West Ridge are comprised entirely of double blacks, while the other three (Lower & Upper Front Side and Backside) have the perfect mix of greens, blues, and blacks.

Angel Fire

Located just east of Taos, this quintessential New Mexico ski resort is visited by thousands of skiers and snowboarders each winter. With Angel Fire’s 80 runs and two terrain parks, it’s no wonder why people flock this alpine heaven year after year. The other bonus? Angel Fire is incredibly family-friendly, considering the abundance of beginner runs, including the lit hill for night skiing. Other activities include tubing, sledding, and nordic skiing (if you’ve got the lungs for it!) Favorite downhill runs are Domingo, Bodacious, and Nice Day. And if you’re into hike-to’s, there are three black runs that can be reached from the top of the Fly Home chairlift on the backside.

Apache

Located in southern New Mexico, Ski Apache is one of the most underrated resorts in the state. The best part about Apache is the abundance of intermediate runs, coming in at a sweeping 60% of the terrain, with beginner and expert claiming equal parts of the rest. The top elevation is 11,500, making Apache an unexpectedly powdery destination. The annual snowfall often reaches fifteen feet, while enhanced snowmaking technology cushions the slopes all season long. The eleven lifts and 55 runs are often highlighted by bluebird skies, as Apache is positioned for optimal sun exposure and perfect New Mexico skiing weather. And you can’t miss New Mexico’s only passenger gondola—The Gazebo—that cruises directly to the top of the mountain!

Santa Fe

While Santa Fe is an unbelievable destination year round, skiers and snowboarders are partial to the winter months, when Ski Santa Fe is in top (and powdery!) form. Located only sixteen miles from the heart of downtown, the resort sits at a base elevation of 10,350 feet and has 1,725 feet of vertical. The 36 groomed runs are some of the finest in the state, comprised mostly of greens and blacks. Don’t worry, though, there are plenty of intermediate runs sprinkled in throughout the 660 acres of stunning terrain. Whether you enjoy gladed runs through trees or wide-open bombers, it’s easy to find a slope to enjoy at Ski Santa Fe. There are even a couple double black diamond thrown in the mix, too! Either way you explore it, the views and slopes at Ski Santa Fe are world class.

Don’t miss out on New Mexico skiing!

Mandy Burkholder is a travel, adventure, and outdoor writer who honed her craft in the foothills of the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado. After a stint in the Swiss Alps, she now resides in Tennessee. Follow her on twitter — @mandyburkhold3r