SW CO - DMR? tier 2 or 3? It would be hard for me to be so close to Telluride and not stop by. Never been anywhere in SW CO before.
NM - I only know Taos and if I drove that far it would be really hard for me not to ski there as well but would like to try a couple of the other places in that area. Ski Apache, Santa fe, Angel fire?
thanks for any advice
DMR is distinctly tier 2 by the OP's criteria.
Tier 3, or 4, or 5 would be Hesperus http://www.ski-hesperus.com/
Silverton is the kind of mountain that really hammers home how impossible it is to define ski areas in "tiers" like this. Top shelf terrain, zero amenities (and that includes no plumbing- you do get a sheet of plywood with a hole cut in it though!). You sit in the "lodge" on seats pulled out of old vans, and try to keep the water leaking through the roof from getting under your collar.
A SW CO loop would include Telluride, Silverton, DMR (with a possible night-ski stopover at Hesperus) Wolf,, Monarch, Crested Butte. Of all of those, I think DMR would be the one to drop. For somebody with an appreciation for great skiing off the beaten track (even Telluride qualifies in that regard) this is one of the best ski road trips in existence. You could even add a little spice to this trip by diverting off the loop from Wolf to add in Taos and the rest of NM.
As for NM, I've never skied anywhere in NM save for Taos, but that will change shortly. Aside from Taos, Santa Fe, Sipapu, and Pajarito (with a special note below) are places that I almost never hear anything bad about. Conversely, I almost never hear anything good about Angelfire. I rode a lift with a Texas group at Taos a few weeks ago, and got told that Angelfire was "ok," which ranks as the most ringing endorsement to date.
Regarding Pajarito- it currently has limited snowmaking, and with the drought of recent years, has now had 3 years without essentially a season. The new operator is investing a lot in snowmaking, and I keep hearing that it is wonderful on a powder day.
Red River Ski Area in NM I simply have heard NOTHING about on this board, but suddenly it is popping up in "best ski towns you have never heard of" type lists. I think this is because the ski area rises right out of the middle of town. Again, at Taos, I rode a chair with a (different) group of Texans that liked the mountain and also described it as "easy," and getting off the lift, it was clear that they were not exactly pros.
As for Ski Apache, it is way on the other side of the state. It is closer to the Mexico border than Taos. I haven't heard much to suggest it is worth the trip, while all the others are N of Santa Fe and can be road tripped pretty easily.
Edited by anachronism - 4/1/15 at 9:24am