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New Mexico Ski Resorts

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Top Rated New Mexico Ski Resorts

Overall

A ski resort with terrain for all levels and closeby lodging, lots of apres ski activities and a good ski school make for great vacations on snow.

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Planning a ski trip? Browse our collection of skier and snowboarder-submitted reviews for ski resorts to see which mountains claimed the top spot in each category. reviews rank ski areas on a scale of one to five stars in the following categories: Overall Rating, All-Mountain Terrain, Nightlife, Terrain Park and Family Friendly. See how your favorite ski area stacks up among the top rated in terms of skiing and après.

New Mexico Ski Resorts FAQ

They call New Mexico “The Land of Enchantment” for good reason. It is indeed enchanting in so many ways – not the least of which is the skiing and riding. It may be the fifth largest of the 50 states, but with only 2.1 million residents, it ranks 35th in population and 45th in population density.

The diversity of its people, and the vast beauty of the terrain combine for the enchantment. It can’t come as a surprise that the state has become Hollywood, but slightly east. New Mexico broke its own records for film and TV production spending, reaching about $623 million in the most recent fiscal year. And, no, it’s not all “Breaking Bad” around here. It’s breaking pretty good for skiers and riders.

Most of the skiing in New Mexico is located in the northern part of the state – i.e. the Colorado southern border. The only outliers are Ski Apache high (and we mean high) above the tourist mecca of Ruidoso in South Central’s Sacramento Mountains and even higher, but smaller Cloudcroft.

Top Rated New Mexico Ski Resorts

Let's take a tour of the best places to ski in New Mexico

Taos Ski Valley: Taos is the king here. t is the biggest ski area in the state Taos Ski Valley with 1,294 skiable acres. Swiss ski pioneer Ernie Blake spotted this mountain’s towering vertical from his Cessna 170 over 60 years ago. The Blake family created a mountain experience where local culture and traditional European hospitality came together. Following Ernie’s death, the family sold the resort to hedge fund conservationist Louis Bacon in 2013 who has subsequently pumped $300 million dollars worth of improvements and expansions

Taos ski resort is primarily known for its steep and difficult terrain, but relax, there’s beginner and intermediate trails off the top of every single lift. For the advanced to expert skier/rider Taos offers some of the most challenging and varied terrain in the country, especially off its hike-to ridges. The area’s 111 runs are divided with 24 percent for beginners, 25 percent intermediates and 51 percent advanced. There are 14 lifts, including a gondola. Kachina Peak now includes a lift up its iconic 12,450-foot peak. The vertical drop here is 3,274 feet.

Angel Fire Resort: You’ll find a traditional western ski resort here that came on the ski scene in 1966. It has grown from a small destination into four-season resort that offers a family-friendly atmosphere. It is located 8,600-feet above sea level and has views of Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico. But the top ski elevation is 10,677 feet. One of the reasons Angel Fire is popular with families is there is good terrain for all skill levels. Most is dedicated to beginners and intermediates, but advanced skier will stay fulfilled. There are more than 80 runs and a terrain park. It may not be the most charming resort in New Mexico, but it makes up for that by what it offers families. And, the prices are right, too.

Red River: Come here for a classic throwback ski experience in a fun little western town building on its mining heritage.  It’s a bit of a drive from just about anywhere, but you won’t regret. The ski mountain rolls up out of the main drag and brings you back the same way… right into the center of town. The skiing is on both sides of the mountain. Red River ski resort features 63 trails served by 7 lifts on 209 skiable acres with a vertical drop of 1,600 feet. The base elevation is 8,750 feet, and the top elevation is 10,350 feet. The area receives 214 inches of annual snowfall. It’s funky and fun and it’s skiers are loyal and passionate about the area.

Ski Apache: This is a mecca for West Texas skiers and it’s located in the south central part of the state, highabove the resort town of Ruidoso (Noisy Water). The ski area is owned and operated by the Mescalero Apache tribe and it is on the reservation. The base is 9,600 feet and the top elevation is 11,500 and it’s 750 skiable acres are accessed by a long road where you don’t want to doze off. This is the southernmost ski area in the United States. There are good bump runs, a wide beginners area and good-sized bowl. You’ll learn to speak Texan quick.

Ski Santa Fe: Start out at one of the highest base elevations in the country at 10,350 feet and rise to over 12,075 feet (pack an aspirin or two). The vertical is 1,725 feet. This is a family-owned independent ski area owned by the Abruzzo brothers took it over from their father Ben, who was killed in a plane crash in 1985. Ben was a famed balloonist (first transatlantic flight). He is saluted each fall at Albuquerques world-famous International Balloon Festival. The resort is 16 miles above this iconic city, a must stop for any visit to New Mexico looking to be enchanted.

And there’s more: Sandia Peak, towers over Albuquerque with its popular year-round tram and is also owned by the Abruzzo brothers. It’s small with 25 miles of slopes and trails with three chairs and two surface lifts. When the snow falls, it’s good skiing and riding at a family-friendly price. There is limited water supplies for snowmaking.

Pajarito Mountain is high above Los Alamos (two hours from Albuquerque) tops out at 10,450 feet, with a 1,200 foot vertical. There are 280 acres of skiable terrain, 40 trails and plenty of tree skiing.

Sipapu Ski Resort usually claims state's longest ski season. It is surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Carson National Forest and sports more than 40 trails, five lifts and three terrain parks. You’ll find it in Vadido, 20 miles southeast of Taos and two hours north of Albuquerque.

Finally, if you are into cross-country skiing, be sure to visit Enchanted Forest. You’ll discover more than 30km of groomed ski trails, 18km of snowshoe trails, and 5km of trails for yopu and your pup. It’s 3 miles east of Red River on NM highway 38 in the Carson National Forest.

New Mexico: Here are some questions and answers about the Land of Enchantment:

How many ski areas are there in New Mexico

There are 9 downhill ski resorts in the state of varying sizes with Taos as the biggest and most famous. There’s also a delightful cross country ski area at Red River.

Is the skiing better at Taos or Angel Fire?

Both are located within 30 minutes of one another on opposite sides of the Sangre de Christo range along the gorgeous Enchanted Circle drive. The similarity stopes there. Taos is truly a world-class resort, but it caters mostly to strong intermediate and expert skiers. So, you decide: Angel Fire is more of a traditional ski resort with more beginner and intermediate skiing and you’ll find the state’s only night skiing here.

Is Red River or Angel Fire better?

Red River is the classic example of a ski town as the trails start you off and drop you right smack in the center of the little 1-mile long town. Further, the amount of fun terrain is deceiving at first glance as you can’t see the backside from town. Again, Angel Fire is more of a traditional ski resort. Yes, there’s a village but not a town like Red River. Skiers are passionate about both. They are only about 40 minutes apart so you can sample both and make up your own mind.

How long is the season for Taos Ski Valley?

Skiing and snowboarding normally begin at Taos at Thanksgiving or a little beyond and, depending on winter’s largess, it will stay open through March and perhaps until Easter some years.

Is New Mexico red or blue?

If the question is political, New Mexico can be considered a “blue” state, particularly in the northern portions with all the California ex-pats. It turns fairly “red” in the border cities like Las Cruces and other parts of the south. But, the big question you’ll be asked every time you sit down in a restaurant in this foodie “heaven” is Red or Green? That doesn’t refer to your vote, it refers to your choice of New Mexico’s famous Hatch chile. If you’re unsure and bit of a chicken, choose “green.”

Which New Mexico Ski Resorts Are Best for Families?

The best ski resorts for families and beginners include the following:
  • Taos Ski Valley
  • Ski Santa Fe
  • Angel Fire

Which New Mexico Ski Resorts Are Closest to Texas?

Ski Apache and Ski Cloudcroft are the two closest ski resorts to Texas. From El Paso, it’s less than two hours to Ski Cloudcroft and three hours to Ski Apache.

How cold is it?

Some who live here claim with good reason that New Mexico has some of the most pleasant four-season weather patterns in the nation. Summers are generally in the 80-degree level while winter on the mountains will likely be in the 40-50 degree range. Sure, there are coler days, but the snow falls in good numbers here and that old Sol shines.

Are there cool ski towns in New Mexico

Oh, yes! don’t even think of skiing or riding at Taos Ski Valley without visiting the historic town of Taos 20 miles away, but a world apart. Do plan to visit the Taos Pueblo with its 1,000 years of tradition. This is the only living Native American community designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark.

The truly wonderful town of Santa Fe is where you’ll stay when playing at Ski Santa Fe up the mountain. The Plaza is loaded with great shopping (bring your credit card and plan to deplete it), classic hotels and eateries.

Wait, there’s more. Red River is a classic historic mining town turned “western” town. No glam here, just a relaxed, fun place to stay, where the ski mountain climbs up from the main street.

Ruidoso is a favored getaway for the denizens of West Texas and Ski Apache is high over it. There are plenty of good lodging properties, vacation rentals and restaurants here. Meanwhile, an hour away up a gorgeous mountain drive in Cloudcroft. Visit Irma’s restaurant in the Lodge at Cloudcroft, it's presided over by, well, Irma, the resident ghost. Say hello. There is skiing at Cloudcroft -- one lift, ride up with the sun in your face.

But, how do you get there?

New Mexico skiing and riding is a reasonable drive from California, Arizona, Colorado and Utah, so there may be no reason to fly. Plus you already have your trusty family car with you when you want to resort hop. But, if you are flying in, most will consider Albuquerque's Support, a comfortable, convenient throwback airport. From there it's less than a 3-hour drive to Taos Ski Valley and the other Northern NM resorts. Yes, you can fly into Santa Fe and Los Alamos airports, but it will dent your credit card more. Best bet inAlbuquerque. However, if you are planning to ski and ride at Ski Apache above Ruidoso, you can. Flying into El Paso puts you with 2.5 hours of the slopes. There is a small municipal airport in Roswell, but that drive is still 1.5 hours and will be more expensive to fly into. The car is king here and the scenery is worth it all.

Is this “enchantment” mantra for real?

Yes. It most certainly is. Sure, there are pockets of real poverty and not all might be considered enchanting to everyone. But, those that live here understand it, feel it and love it. The state doesn’t get the love it deserves as a great ski vacation destination. Go ski for yourself. You’ll be enchanted too. The tourism motto: “New Mexico True.” And it most certainly will be true to your ski vacation. Don't overlook it.
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