When you think of New Mexico, images of the old west or desert dunes likely pop into your head. While that rustic charm is part of the magic found within “The Land of Enchantment,” there’s also a handful of great ski resorts to explore during the winter months. Below, we will break down some of the best ones that are worth visiting if you want an adventure that’s truly off the beaten path.
Taos Ski Valley is one of the best ski resorts in New Mexico. Known by the locals as simply “Taos” or “Taos Mountain,” this resort blends authentic New Mexican charm with some great terrain for skiers of all abilities. Its location is stunning; set back against pine forests in the almost unreal Sangre de Cristo mountains.
As you arrive in Taos, you’ll see the ski runs lining Kachina Peak as you gaze from the base up to the 12,481-foot summit. That high elevation makes for amazing views, but it also creates dry, deep powder that provides epic conditions during an average winter. That’s why it’s a favorite amongst advanced skiers looking to get away from the crowds of Colorado.
The resort has 1,294 acres of skiable terrain with steep chutes, high alpine cornices, aspen glades, groomers, bump runs, and any other type of terrain you would want. You can access all of that through the 14 lifts scattered across the mountain and 110 total trails. An average of 300 inches of snow a year make Taos Ski Valley an ideal winter getaway for powder lovers who want consistent snow and challenging terrain.
The town of Taos is a short drive from the resort and will provide you with some truly amazing and unique food options. If you’ve never tried New Mexican cuisine before, you are in for a treat. Taos also has a number of unique shops and ample accommodations to keep you and your family fully occupied for any time you spend off the snow.
2. Angel Fire
Another one of the best ski resorts in New Mexico is Angel Fire. This is a smaller resort that has a hard-to-resist down to earth charm that boasts some great terrain in the southern Rocky Mountains. It’s a little bit off the beaten bath, especially because there’s no major town nearby, but Angel Fire can provide you with awesome skiing away from large crowds.
This resort is a good option for a family looking for a quiet ski trip. The mountain has a majority of beginner and intermediate runs. That makes it a good learning location thanks to the variety of groomers, tree runs, bumps, and glades that will keep you occupied all dang long. It also has three different terrain parks if you want to practice and perfect those difficult tricks or want to learn how to jump for the first time.
Angel Fire is a smaller resort and only has seven chairlifts (and in reality, only five as two of the seven are magic carpets) but they give you access to 560 skiable acres across 80 runs. I’ve had some fun in the trees on a powder day here, and if you can get out early after a fresh snow you’ll be sure to find a secret stash or two without looking too hard. The highest point on the mountain is 10,677 feet so you won’t encounter the high alpine weather of Taos.
The resort also offers night skiing on select nights when conditions are good, as well as a tubing hill if you don’t want to ski. While there are some lodging and dining options here, they aren’t extensive.
3. Ski Santa Fe
Ski Santa Fe is another great ski resort option and its proximity to the capital city of New Mexico, Santa Fe, makes it a popular destination for anyone visiting the area in the winter months. The resort is located only 16 miles from the city, giving you easy access to all that the legendary location has to offer.
The resort is another option that’s good for skiers of all abilities and I would recommend it as an intermediate skiers mountain. There’s a good amount of beginner and advanced terrain here as well, but the majority of it falls somewhere in the middle ground. If you have been skiing for at least a few years and want to try to push your abilities to the next level while in New Mexico, Ski Santa Fe is where it’s at.
Ski Santa Fe is somewhat unique in that it has a higher elevation base than a lot of other resorts. You’ll find the first life at 10,350 feet and you can use the seven lifts to access 660 acres of skiable terrain taking you high above the desert and topping out at 12,075 feet. That makes for some stunning views and, while the elevation is high, there are plenty of bluebird days to be had here with excellent snow conditions.
While the skiing at Ski Santa Fe can be great, one of the reasons this resort makes the list is that it’s only a half hour’s drive from Santa Fe. This city is quaint and historic. It also has a decent nightlife scene alongside amazing food and diverse shopping. A southwestern ski trip is always memorable, but when you have some time to explore Santa Fe, it’s hard to beat.
New Mexico isn’t a top skiing destination that’s on everyone’s radar. However, if you’re looking for quality snow, smaller crowds, and a reason to take a ski trip, the above resorts will give you all of that and much more. Spend a week skiing in New Mexico and you’ll see the appeal and charm that the southern Rockies can give skiers of all abilities.
Have you ever skied in New Mexico? Where did you go? Let us know in the comments below!