Some of the country’s best skiing spots are found in the Southwest and New Mexico’s top the list for Alpine skiing. The statuesque mountain ranges that dom-inate the state’s landscape are home to a downhiller’s delight of vertical fun. As much as 300 inches of snow falls annually at the eight resorts that cater to skiers looking to carve some turns under the winter sun. So sharpen your edges, wax your skis and hit the New Mexico slopes for some enchanting winter fun.
In the northeastern part of the state, up near the Colorado border, is a resort that bills itself as a “big mountain hug.” There are 257 skiable acres and five lifts, with two that take you from town center up to Summit Camp at the 10,350-foot top of mountain. The Emerald Quad chairlift zips up the backside of the mountain double-time, delivering skiers to Moonstar Mining Camp where some of the easier ski runs are found. The 57 trails are a pretty even mix of beginning, intermediate and expert. The resort’s winter season runs November through March.
Strap on a headlamp for some night skiing here, the only place in all of New Mex-ico where you can schuss down the mountain under the stars. If you’d rather be snuggled up inside at night, rest assured there’s also plenty of daytime skiing, too. The seven chair lifts will carry you across 76 trails, most of which are for in-termediate skill levels, but there’s a nice balance of beginning and advanced trails interspersed. This 560-plus acre resort in the southern part of the Rocky Mountains is a fun-for-the-whole-family destination that’s open November through March, snow permitting.
The Los Alamos Ski Club, a not-for-profit organization, developed this ski area in the late 1950s and continues to own and operate it, offering day tickets and season passes. With 300 acres of cleared skiable terrain, views of the Rio Grande Valley, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Valle Grande from any one of the five chair lifts are spectacular. There are 40 named trails. Most well-suited for intermediate skill level and the rest a mix of beginning and expert. No lodging here but you’ll find some in Los Alamos, not far from this Jemez Mountains spot. Winter season runs November through April.
Just a 45-minute drive from Albuquerque finds you here at New Mexico’s oldest ski area and 200 skiable acres of fun. Get your gear and ride the aerial tramway, the longest in the U.S., to the Sandia Peak summit at 10,378 feet and enjoy a lengthy, leisurely ski down on some of the longest trails you’ll find at any resort. Skiers get a reduced Tramway fare with the purchase of a daily lift ticket. Intermediate and advanced skiers can also get to the mountain top on one of four chair lifts that leave from the western slope. The beginner’s area for novice skiers is on the east side of the mountain. Winter season runs mid-December to mid-March. Check snow conditions before heading out.
Santa Fe has, on average, 300 sunny days per year which makes this resort just 16 miles outside the City in the Sange de Cristo mountains an inviting winter des-tination. There are 79 trails plus two double and two triple chairlifts and one four-seater to carry you up and across the slopes. The resort’s 660 acres, in the heart of the Santa Fe National Forest, boasts a variety of challenging runs, as well as a designated area for beginners. A base elevation of 10,350 feet jumpstarts the experience into new heights and assures, on average, 225 inches of snow a year. Winter season runs from November through April most years.
Family-friendly and family-fun is the philosophy at the powdery base of this resort which claims to have the longest ski season in the state. Drift down the slopes through the beauty of the Carson National Forest on any one of the 40 trails across 200 acres. There’s a little something for everyone here. Whether you ride the quad or triple chair lift or the platter lift, the Sipapu experience is geared toward all-out fun. Two magic carpets help kids and beginners have a successful experience, out-of-the gate. The long ski season runs from early November to late April.
Don’t let the steep downhill terrain on much of the 1,300 skiable acres here keep you away from this spectacular Alpine ski resort. Kachina Peak, elevation 12,481 feet, towers above the quaint village at its base, drawing skiers to its world-renowned slopes. This huge mountain playground has 15 lifts and 110 runs, so there are lots of options for all levels of skiers. From the bunny slope to the long, challenging trails to the legendary Steeps, the diverse terrain is full of challenging moments for a lively après-ski conversation. Winter season is December through April.
Ride the State’s only gondola to the top of Sierra Blanca Peak, at 12,000 feet, for views as impressive as the ski trails. The 15 feet of snow that gets dumped every year here keeps skiers coming back. The 55 runs, accessed by 11 lifts, have everything from bowls, to bumps to steep downhills on more than 750 skiable acres. The country’s southernmost ski area has been owned by the Mescalero-Apache Tribe since the 1960s and the environment captures the essence of their culture and history. Winter season begins first part of December and runs through the end of March.