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Need Reco for Family Resort, Kids ski school, Easy Greens in New Mexico [ compared to Angel Fire, Winter Park?]

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hi!  We are a family of 4 with 2 kids ages 5 and 7.   We are all beginners and went to AngelFire NM last year for Spring Break.  The kids ski school was great and had our oldest skiing on the mountain in 2 days.  We would like to try somewhere new but would like to stay within Driving distance from Dallas, TX ~12-13 hrs.  

 

We are looking for a good kids ski school and Green slopes for us which are actually easy big, open, wide, not so crowded.  

 

Any recommendations?  We were thinking Taos but many of the review on here state that the Greens are not very easy for beginners and their are mixed reviews on the kids ski school.  

 

thanks!  CM

 

Moderator note: info added to thread title

post #2 of 18

Sunrise Park in Arizona has a lot of fun green runs, as well as some fairly easy blue runs if the group starts feeling adventurous. I don't have first-hand experience with the ski school there, but I've heard positive reports. Are you looking at another spring break trip, or something sooner? Sunrise is usually pretty empty in the spring, and would probably be less crowded for Texas spring break than the New Mexico areas, even though it's not much farther.

 

Red River is a neat little town that feels part ski town and part Wild West theme park. But I've only been through there in the summer, so I don't know whether it'd be a good choice.

post #3 of 18
I'm in North Dallas area and we drive to ski every spring break. We started our kids at Angel Fire, too. We only go there now for a long weekend of skiing. We like Colorado more because there are other snow activities that you can't always do in Angel Fire.

I've skied Red River one time two years ago with my beginner nephew. All the green runs are at the top in a neat area. It's beautiful with lots of Aspens, but the runs are not very long. And that year, not many were open. This has been a much better snow year for NM so they may all be open. He got bored pretty quickly, but wasn't ready to move on to more advanced runs. He liked AF better.

You might like Winter Park. We went there for a couple of years after Angel Fire. It's not too much longer than driving to AF and has lots to offer. It's not all that crowded, either. In fact, the last time we skied AF on Spring Break was an El Niño year like this year and it was VERY crowded. Lifts lines were nuts. Most lift lines at WP are pretty quick and there are lots of run options. Plus you can tube, snowmobile and have plenty of snow to play in. I can't speak to ski school, but I hear good things about it. We had enough kids between a couple of families that it was just as economical to do a private group since they all skied at the same level. They loved their instructor and learned a lot.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! I am now debating Angel Fire versus Winter Park based on the feedback and other reviews. Anyone else have more comparisons between these 2? We have been to Angel Fire and I would really like to try winter park if the kids ski school is just as good (meaning they ski more than play in daycare) and there are some easy greens for me. I am scared!!

Thoughts??
post #5 of 18

This thread about Winter Park from 2013 might be helpful.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/121292/is-winter-park-the-best-combination-of-skiing-value-convenience-for-a-family

 

To find other threads related to Winter Park, can use the link I added under Topics Discussed (right hand column) to go to the EpicSki Resort Page, then scroll down for the list of tagged threads.

post #6 of 18

Taos has plenty of easy greens and a fantastic, world-class kids, and adults, Ski School.

 

If you skied Angel Fire, you can ski Taos.

 

The ONLY, and I mean only, issue, is that you cannot see much of the easy terrain from the parking lot. That alone hinders some.

 

It is a wonderful place to go with family.

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Snowfan - thanks for your comment on Taos. I have read several threads stating that Taos is harder to ski than Angelfire. That Taos Green are more like AF Blue which has me worried as I didn't do well on the 1 green AF run I made. Do you have any more info? Thoughts on the difference in crowds between the 2? We will be planning a trip the week of March 7 2016.
post #8 of 18
My family has been to Taos, Angel Fire, and Wolf Creek. I would recommend Wolf Creek for a beginning family. They have a great ski school for the kids "wolf pups" and is extremely affordable. It is one of my favorite mountains. It would be driving distance from Dallas.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffneck View Post

My family has been to Taos, Angel Fire, and Wolf Creek. I would recommend Wolf Creek for a beginning family. They have a great ski school for the kids "wolf pups" and is extremely affordable. It is one of my favorite mountains. It would be driving distance from Dallas.


Welcome to EpicSki!  Always good to hear from parents who have found good places to have a fun ski vacation when the kids are getting started.

 

When did you take the family?  In particular, which holiday period, assuming you made use of school holidays?

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Welcome to EpicSki!  Always good to hear from parents who have found good places to have a fun ski vacation when the kids are getting started.

 

When did you take the family?  In particular, which holiday period, assuming you made use of school holidays?


We have been going every Thanksgiving for the last 3yrs. They usually have a 50" base by that time and the lines are minimal. We have also visited during NM Spring Break with little to no lines. Although I hear during TX Spring Break it can get crowded. But Wolf Creek crowded would be nothing like Vail or a larger resort.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruffneck View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Welcome to EpicSki!  Always good to hear from parents who have found good places to have a fun ski vacation when the kids are getting started.

 

When did you take the family?  In particular, which holiday period, assuming you made use of school holidays?


We have been going every Thanksgiving for the last 3yrs. They usually have a 50" base by that time and the lines are minimal. We have also visited during NM Spring Break with little to no lines. Although I hear during TX Spring Break it can get crowded. But Wolf Creek crowded would be nothing like Vail or a larger resort.


There is usually a fair amount of chatter about how good Wolf Creek is for advanced powder hounds in early season.  First I'd heard from a family taking advantage of early season conditions for a Thanksgiving ski trip.  Good to know!

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmalvaiz View Post

Snowfan - thanks for your comment on Taos. I have read several threads stating that Taos is harder to ski than Angelfire. That Taos Green are more like AF Blue which has me worried as I didn't do well on the 1 green AF run I made. Do you have any more info? Thoughts on the difference in crowds between the 2? We will be planning a trip the week of March 7 2016.

 

Taos has much more advanced terrain available to ski than AF and I think perhaps that leads to beliefs like "Taos is harder to ski than Angel Fire".  Although I don't have the AF trail map in front of me I would venture a guess that Taos ALSO has more easy terrain than AF, in terms of acreage. 

 

Even with you writing " ...I didn't do well on the 1 green..." I would still encourage you to try Taos.  At the base there are 3 lifts for beginners and kids. You will certainly have no trouble there but the runs are short.

 

 

 

At Taos you can take lift 1 and still find easy ways down. White Feather is good for that...

 

 

You can also go to the top on lift 2 and down the back side to lift 4. If the sun is shining that is a nice place to spend much of the day and there are green trails like Honeysuckle...

 

Your skills will improve by being there several days. Be sure to take a lesson and you will no doubt be able to ski runs on the front and back sides.  I hope you do try Taos, it is a very interesting and fun place, for the whole family. More blue collar laid back than fancy and expensive.

 

I heard AF can get crowded on holidays and spring break. Crowded at Taos usually means a short wait, say, 5 minutes+-.  I have skied Taos for quite a few years and never experienced crowds that I see elsewhere. 

post #13 of 18

Always amazed how far people from Texas need to drive to go skiing.  I guess once you've driven 10 hrs, adding another 3 hrs is not a big factor . . . .

 

Have lots of experience with the NM area, and here's some feedback on NM GREENS.  If you're talking blues/blacks this feedback on mountains would be much different.

 

1. If you are truly only limiting yourself to green trails, you need to be careful when you look at trail maps.  Many, many green trails are essentially the cat tracks at resorts.  Thus, they might be relatively flat, but they often can be relatively narrow and really aren't the best experience for beginners.  They may appear long (sometimes really really long) but that doesn't make them quality greens.

 

For example, someone mentioned Taos, and the "beginner" trail on the front of the mountain is a relatively narrow cat track that has a high amount ofskier traffic blazing by that uses that trail to get to the base lift.  To make matters worse, that run get shaded very early, and can get relatively slick.   I'd hardly recommend that to any beginners for an enjoyable experience.   Backside greens aren't much better  one of the trails is a very flat road around the mountain to get to front lodge (too flat).

 

2. Other greens can be almost "too flat".  Sort of like trying to ride a bike too slow.  You need to look at resorts in terms of not only how wide the green trail, but how long is that run.  Typically a longer wide run will have enough slope to help one learn vs. an beginner area that lets you do just a few turns before you have to reload onto the lift. Example being Ski Santa Fe which has a too flat/too short beginner area.  Lift line is always long for the limited green area.

 

By far (of course IMO) actually the best "green" runs in the state of NM are at Sandia Ski Area.  Not the short beginner run area, but  there are 2 greens that have idea slope for a beginner and are truly runs and not cat tracks and they run the ENTIRE top to bottom.  Again, this is top to bottom runs, not cat tracks.   I believe those runs are called "Fred" and "Cibola".  I credit those 2 runs for allowing my son to become a very proficient skier at a young age.  Why?  Because we were able to take LONG beginner runs top to bottom getting into a groove with great slope/width and lack of crowds vs. having to constantly reload on a chair after a few turns.   However, not a very sexy mountain/resort with old very slow chairs, a small lodge, etc.  I think those runs are some of the best I've seen for green runs I've seen not just in NM but probably at almost any ski area I've been (and have been to quite a few).  Again, wouldn't be the top mountain to recommend for non-green runs, but I stand by my solid rating of those 2 runs being some of the best runs to learn on almost anywhere.   For someone learning to snowboard, those 2 runs are perfect for having some actual pitch, good width, uncrowded and very long top to bottom continuous runs.

 

Parajito in NM is a great uncrowded area, really unknown area.  The greens are not cat tracks, but ironically, one of the main greens is really a blue by anyone else's standards.  Other problem is grooming is pretty inconsistent and limited open days.

 

Ski Apache is less of a drive for most Texans.  But didn't see that much great green terrain there.  Not to mention, the drive up the mountain is sketchy when clear/dry.

 

Sipapu is another small mountain in NM.  For greens, not worth it.  Lots of that is very cat tracky.

 

Red River.  Greens limited to front of lodge (great for parents to watch) and short runs up top.

 

Angel Fire:  OP you've been there.  Actually not that bad, personally I don't like it's odd fall line, and if any family members snowboard the greens/blues can sometimes be an issue (makes a great downhill bike mountain, but that's another topic). Can get crowded, especially by NM standards during peak times.

 

----

As far as ski schools, can't really comment on that. 

 

Again, the feedback is for GREENS only.

 

----

 

Haven't been to Winter Park for awhile for skiing (just downhill biking)  but from what I remember, the Winter Park side (vs. Mary Jane) seems overall pretty tame.  The blues seemed pretty wide/tame also but you shouldn't venture to the Mary Jane side.  Winter park seemed to move people up mountain much more efficiency than NM mountains.

 

Bottom line:  For the overall experience and ability to stay close to the mountain, have other things to do, and potential for move up to larger wider blues, I'd probably say just make the extra drive to Winter Park. 

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwcski1 View Post
 

Always amazed how far people from Texas need to drive to go skiing.  I guess once you've driven 10 hrs, adding another 3 hrs is not a big factor . . . .

 

Have lots of experience with the NM area, and here's some feedback on NM GREENS.  If you're talking blues/blacks this feedback on mountains would be much different.

 

1. If you are truly only limiting yourself to green trails, you need to be careful when you look at trail maps.  Many, many green trails are essentially the cat tracks at resorts.  Thus, they might be relatively flat, but they often can be relatively narrow and really aren't the best experience for beginners.  They may appear long (sometimes really really long) but that doesn't make them quality greens.

 

For example, someone mentioned Taos, and the "beginner" trail on the front of the mountain is a relatively narrow cat track that has a high amount ofskier traffic blazing by that uses that trail to get to the base lift.  To make matters worse, that run get shaded very early, and can get relatively slick.   I'd hardly recommend that to any beginners for an enjoyable experience.   Backside greens aren't much better  one of the trails is a very flat road around the mountain to get to front lodge (too flat).

 

2. Other greens can be almost "too flat".  Sort of like trying to ride a bike too slow.  You need to look at resorts in terms of not only how wide the green trail, but how long is that run.  Typically a longer wide run will have enough slope to help one learn vs. an beginner area that lets you do just a few turns before you have to reload onto the lift. Example being Ski Santa Fe which has a too flat/too short beginner area.  Lift line is always long for the limited green area.

 

By far (of course IMO) actually the best "green" runs in the state of NM are at Sandia Ski Area.  Not the short beginner run area, but  there are 2 greens that have idea slope for a beginner and are truly runs and not cat tracks and they run the ENTIRE top to bottom.  Again, this is top to bottom runs, not cat tracks.   I believe those runs are called "Fred" and "Cibola".  I credit those 2 runs for allowing my son to become a very proficient skier at a young age.  Why?  Because we were able to take LONG beginner runs top to bottom getting into a groove with great slope/width and lack of crowds vs. having to constantly reload on a chair after a few turns.   However, not a very sexy mountain/resort with old very slow chairs, a small lodge, etc.  I think those runs are some of the best I've seen for green runs I've seen not just in NM but probably at almost any ski area I've been (and have been to quite a few).  Again, wouldn't be the top mountain to recommend for non-green runs, but I stand by my solid rating of those 2 runs being some of the best runs to learn on almost anywhere.   For someone learning to snowboard, those 2 runs are perfect for having some actual pitch, good width, uncrowded and very long top to bottom continuous runs.

 

Parajito in NM is a great uncrowded area, really unknown area.  The greens are not cat tracks, but ironically, one of the main greens is really a blue by anyone else's standards.  Other problem is grooming is pretty inconsistent and limited open days.

 

Ski Apache is less of a drive for most Texans.  But didn't see that much great green terrain there.  Not to mention, the drive up the mountain is sketchy when clear/dry.

 

Sipapu is another small mountain in NM.  For greens, not worth it.  Lots of that is very cat tracky.

 

Red River.  Greens limited to front of lodge (great for parents to watch) and short runs up top.

 

Angel Fire:  OP you've been there.  Actually not that bad, personally I don't like it's odd fall line, and if any family members snowboard the greens/blues can sometimes be an issue (makes a great downhill bike mountain, but that's another topic). Can get crowded, especially by NM standards during peak times.

 

----

As far as ski schools, can't really comment on that. 

 

Again, the feedback is for GREENS only.

 

----

 

Haven't been to Winter Park for awhile for skiing (just downhill biking)  but from what I remember, the Winter Park side (vs. Mary Jane) seems overall pretty tame.  The blues seemed pretty wide/tame also but you shouldn't venture to the Mary Jane side.  Winter park seemed to move people up mountain much more efficiency than NM mountains.

 

Bottom line:  For the overall experience and ability to stay close to the mountain, have other things to do, and potential for move up to larger wider blues, I'd probably say just make the extra drive to Winter Park. 

When was the last time you went to Pajarito?  Asking because I wonder how much things are changing now that one owner is has a multi-location pass called the New Mexico Power Pass.  The four places for 2015-16 are Purgatory (back to the old name after being Durango in recent years), Arizona Snowbowl, Sipapu, and Pajarito.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/142126/james-coleman-pushing-southwest-collective-in-nm-az-with-purgatory-in-co

post #15 of 18


Not to hijack OP thread, but was at Parajito 4 days ago, and we do have the NM Power Pass.

Parajito's only change is they finally got snow making (not really needed this year ironically).  The great thing is the runs are completely uncrowded.  The bad thing is the runs are completely uncrowded.   The mountain needs some income besides the local small community of Los Alamos.   Shocking how few people come up to the mountain because most people would find it a great alternative to other NM areas.  Some reasonable hotels in town, and the town is starting to show signs of life (i.e cooperative brew pub).  The potential is there for the mountain, I personally just don't think it's managed to take advantage of it's potential.  The other 3 resorts (Sipapu, Durango, and Snowbowl) are probably financially carrying this mountain (for how long?).

 

I think the OP would find this mountain would meet there needs and be very enjoyable for a family.   Just doesn't have the glamour of a place like Winter Park and that seems to be preferred by so many people over the many great low key ski areas.

 

The new owner of these resorts has put significant investment in Sipapu, Durango, and AZ Snowbowl.    There are various versions of the passes available, and the exchange days are pretty good.

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

Ok.  So I am now booking at Winter Park.  Has anyone stayed there before?  I am trying to find a location that sleeps 4 and is convenient to get to the kids ski school.  Don't want ski in/ski out because of the little one (4 year old) is brand new to skiing.

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmalvaiz View Post
 

Ok.  So I am now booking at Winter Park.  Has anyone stayed there before?  I am trying to find a location that sleeps 4 and is convenient to get to the kids ski school.  Don't want ski in/ski out because of the little one (4 year old) is brand new to skiing.


Take a look at this thread by a father who researched Winter Park:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/121292/is-winter-park-the-best-combination-of-skiing-value-convenience-for-a-family

post #18 of 18
Personally, we've only ever used VRBO and stayed in a condo on the bus line. It's free and easy to use. We rented equipment at the resort where you can store overnight so we weren't carting all that stuff back and forth on the bus. Well, we have our own boots so we cart those around, but not skis. Once you collect your gear, there are red wagons you can use to haul it around the base area.

I keep getting emails about lodging deals though the resort website, but I haven't paid any attention to the details as we are skiing Steamboat. You might look on their site to see if it's appealing to you.

I do have one suggestion for you. Have an end of the day snack at Goody's. They have good ice cream, cookies, coffee, some adult beverages, etc. It was a nice treat after a long day and sometimes it was the bribe that kept the kiddos alive :-)
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