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NM Ski resorts

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I was just in Santa Fe last week and loved the area. I was interested to get some feedback about some of the mountains in the area, I know about Taos but I was more interested to hear about Ski Santa Fe and some of the others in the area.
post #2 of 29
I spent just one day at Ski Santa Fe, so hardly an expert on it, but it's nice. For the west it's only moderate in size (1650' vert, 43 trails), but has nice variety ranging from wide groomers to steep glades. There seemed to be many sneaky pockets of skiable stuff that I never got to explore in one day. Great views of the high desert, I was there on a gorgeous Saturday early one March, very busy, but not Hunter or Killington busy. Supposedly empty on weekdays. Only a 15 mile drive/climb/transition from the desert around the city of Santa Fe to snowy alpine conditions at the ski area base, elv 10,350'. Bring your lungs.
Something about the place and proximity to a nice nearby city reminded me of Eldora near Boulder, CO. Both would be very cool places to live near and call your home mtn.
Pajarito ski area near Los Alamos is less than an hour from town of Santa Fe. Never skied it, but went to Los Alamos once for work and local lab rats bragged about its steeps and lack of lift lines, low cost, MRG type vibe. It's around same size as Ski Santa Fe.
Taos Ski Valley would be within striking distance from Santa Fe for day trips, about 2 hour drive.

Santa Fe struck me as real nice area, great food, culturally interesting. I guess it would be cheaper than NJ, but cost of living probably not cheap.

Maybe a local will chime in and cross check my tourists sugary impression.
post #3 of 29
Ski Santa Fe: Relatively small, but lots of good terrain when there's snow. We are due for a good year this year. Best known for its tree skiing. New Lift adds vertical this year and should alleviate the crowding which really only happens on holiday and weekend powder days. Great local hill minutes from town.
Taos: You know.
Pajarito: only open on the weekends, known for its bump runs, no snowmaking, so often not open in lean years.
Angel Fire: Texas West. wide open cruisers. snowboard comp in the spring. Lots of people love it. I go there in the summer for the music.
Ski Sipapu: Really cute family mom 'n pop resort. very inexpensive. I'm told they are now opening some BC, but that may be just a rumor.
Red River: small hill, great little town on the CO border.
Ski Apache: southern most resort, owned by the tribe. good snow when it is a pinapple express year. open bowl skiing. almost all beginner & intermediate. Great town of Ruidoso largest purse for quarter horse racing. more of a summer destination. Best part is the hairy drive up to the hill and the hysterical little gondolas that look like they were stolen from a traveling amusement park ride. It's an experience, but not really a destination.
Sandia Peak: Albuquerque's mountain. really only useful for a quick fix for residents.

Withing striking distance, but located in Colorado:
Wolf Creek: three hours door-to-door from Santa Fe. Most snow in Colorado. Lots of descriptions in the forums.
Monarch: Four hours from SF, also great small ski area, has hike-to BC style skiing in the Mirkwood Basin and relatively cheap cat skiing
Purgatory: closer to Albuquerque by virtue of odd road system. not my favorite, so check out others in the forum.
Silverton: Maybe 6 hours in winter. also a little closer to Albuquerque. Also lots of stuff on the forum about it. basically one chair lift to access all expert, ungroomed terrain.

What you need to know is that NM has great, good and really horrible snow years. in the latter, summit county is not all that far to drive. (five hours to Copper/Loveland, etc.) Soutwest airfare is relatively cheap to SLC. So you can get to skiing in bad years and in good years it's in your back yard. Wonderful place to live. Great art, music, food, intellectual activities, big science community, big woo-woo crystals and shamans community too.
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks Mom! yeah, we really loved the vibe, great food (Harry's Roadhouse-locals place: Killer Adavado (SP) with red chili's) people are cool. I have always been intersted in the indian culture, art and history and my wife is a huge indian jewelry and art person. The weather is great. Property is expensive but cheaper than here in NJ and still a better buy than in CO or MT near the slopes. I need to learn more about the area.
post #5 of 29

NM life

I lived in Socorro NM for two years while attending grad school at New Mexico Tech. I was too poor to ski but enjoyed the NM lifestyle and still visit at least on a yearly basis.

My take on NM:

Pros: An amazing vibe, friendly people,great scenery, history, culture, food, backcountry wilderness etc

Cons: Very poor in many place. A hard edge at times..especially in places like Albuquerqe and the small towns near Taos, Espanola, Las Vegas etc..gang grafitti, bar fights etc. To me there are two New Mexicos, the one of Santa Fe, Taos, Los Alamos and the one of poor villages/small towns/ outlying regions. Some of the places people live in (including my apt in Socorro) are like 3rd world shacks.

Still, NM is an awsome place just be prepared when you leave the upscale part.
post #6 of 29
About four years ago, Ryan posted a nice write-up about an early December trip to NM. Maybe he'll dig it out for old time's sake.
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
Thanks Mom! yeah, we really loved the vibe, great food (Harry's Roadhouse-locals place: Killer Adavado (SP) with red chili's) people are cool. I have always been intersted in the indian culture, art and history and my wife is a huge indian jewelry and art person. The weather is great. Property is expensive but cheaper than here in NJ and still a better buy than in CO or MT near the slopes. I need to learn more about the area.
Harry's has great burgers. sit out on the patio is it's open. For "local flavor" try Counter Culture, Dave's Not Here, Horseman's Haven, or the Pantry
post #8 of 29

I like Socorro

Quote:
Originally Posted by cal to colorado View Post
I lived in Socorro NM for two years while attending grad school at New Mexico Tech. I was too poor to ski but enjoyed the NM lifestyle and still visit at least on a yearly basis.

My take on NM:

Pros: An amazing vibe, friendly people,great scenery, history, culture, food, backcountry wilderness etc

Cons: Very poor in many place. A hard edge at times..especially in places like Albuquerqe and the small towns near Taos, Espanola, Las Vegas etc..gang grafitti, bar fights etc. To me there are two New Mexicos, the one of Santa Fe, Taos, Los Alamos and the one of poor villages/small towns/ outlying regions. Some of the places people live in (including my apt in Socorro) are like 3rd world shacks.

Still, NM is an awsome place just be prepared when you leave the upscale part.

I spent a lot of time in Socorro a few years back when we were doing a project at White Sands. I thought it was a nice town, though we really didn't have too much contact with the locals. Not rich tho...

We drove up to Sante Fe a couple of times, and it is very different from the rest of New Mexico. It is a little island of wealth that draws on a world-wide customer base.

When we were in Socorro, we had an unexpected free weekend. This was early season, but I checked around and discovered Wolf Creek Pass had gotten a huge storm and opened all their terrain. So I said to one of my co-workers, "It's only 4 hours, let's go!"

This is a blatent lie, by the way. It is at least a six hour drive from Socorro NM to Pagosa Springs NM, not counting any rest stops.

We stopped in Albuquerque and bought ski pants (still my favorite pair, by the way) and stopped for dinner in Sante Fe.

As we were driving, my buddy worked the cell phone and found somewhere to stay. [I just noticed this post is starting to be about CO instead of NM, but what the heck,..] For those of you complaining about the expense of skiing, the room was $29 a night. The owners said they'd probably be asleep by the time we got there, but they'd leave the key under the doormat.

The skiing was incredible. The powder lasted the whole two days we were there. The guys in the on-mountain rental shop were very helpful. After I decided there was no way that I would be able to ski in the standard rental boots, they scrounged around in the back room and found a pair of translucent green Langes that did the trick.

We climbed to the top a few times. From the website, it looks like they are changing things this year, but at the time the start of the climb was a boot ladder about 40 feet tall leading from the top of the chair to the ridge line, where there was a little patrol shack. So I'm puffing pretty bad after that, so we find a corner protected from the wind and rest awhile. After a short rest, I'm ok and we hike up the ridge line to the summit. But during my rest, a patroler comes by, sees I'm winded, and checks to make sure I'm ok.

We had such a good time, we decide to do another lap. Wouldn't you know, I'm resting in exactly the same spot when the same patroller comes by. I sure she was planning how to evacuate me till we explained it was our 2nd lap.

Oh, and at the top on our second lap we were talking to a different patroller who told us it was a much easier climb from the other chair along the other side of the ridge!

Afterwards, we went to the Pagosa Hot Springs. An interesting place - check it out if you get a chance. Make sure you do the river dip if you do. I think we left to drive back to NM about 10 pm....
post #9 of 29
Living near Santa Fe I basically stick to three areas. Taos, Wolf Creek and Pajarito (PJ). I don't care for ski Santa Fe, Sandia Peak, Red River or Angelfie. Sipapu is the best place to take first timers or novices. Is it ok to call a ski area cute? Sipapu is cute

I love to chase storms at Wolf Creek. The powder lasts and lasts. Many complain about the flat runouts and stuff, but if you know where to go it's an incredible powder experience.

Taos is, of course, Taos.

Pajarito rocks on good snow years. Two years ago was incredible. Last year they never got open. Not the biggest mountain 1100 vertical. The thing is it's all sustained pitch. There are no flats. You can ski yourself into the ground there. Well worth the trip if the snow is good and you're in the area. Let me know if you're going to be there. We'll ski a couple.
post #10 of 29
when deluxe and i skied NM, it was one day taos, one day santa fe,
another day angel fire. at the time taos had received some early snow
but still not enough to really get it going. still, a good time, loved the vibe.

no complaints about santa fe, and i believe they're opening new terrain with
a new chair (?). it isn't the biggest place, or the steepest; "mellow" comes
to mind.

angel fire provided the best day, i think, with plenty of coverage (including
roped-off trails that should have, we agreed, been open to us). it skied
bigger than i expected. they have a terrain park, for what that's worth.

higher than usual texan quotient.


but we met a guy who'd just moved out from the northeast with his wife and
new kid, had built a home, and told us some good bob vila stories.

in short, regarding NM skiing, i was enchanted.

post #11 of 29
Pajarito is a hidden gem. Unfortunately it doesn't always get enough snow, but when the conditions are good it is a fun hill. Not a big vertical drop but a great variety of consistent pitched runs. Since it is only open 4 days a week the powder can stack up during a storm. It is skied mostly by Los Alamos locals, including the scientists from the Sandia Lab. You will hear more languages being spoken in the lift line than at any other area in the country. Last time I was there I overheard a couple guys on the deck talking about lasers, and they weren't discussing eye surgery.
post #12 of 29
Does anyone know the drive distance from Santa Fe (the town) to Taos?
post #13 of 29

the truth is out there

75 miles?
post #14 of 29
Ryan, at Santa Fe, did you go over to Pipe line/Molly Hogan,
Easter bowl, first tracks glade, Big Rocks or Columbine trees?
And that doesn't include the unmarked chutes... It may be small,
but SF has a good percentage of get your attention terrain for its size, IMO.

Yes, they are running the "Millenium" chair this season
that opens new vertical, but not that much new terrain -
mostly it gives access to a part of the mountain
you used to have to skate to get to and alleviates
crowding on the triple during peak times.



The run out at the bottom of Columbine trees year before last.
(hey, no comments about the form, OK? I survived the landing and
i'm an old lady so cut me some slack!)Sorry, i don't have photos
of the steeps, but the snow that year was 'epic'
post #15 of 29
Sante Fe definitely has some truly steep pockets. They do not last long, and are a little hidden - but it makes the mountain worthwhile.
post #16 of 29


In 1.5 days there, we got to a good portion of the mapped terrain, though I remember the glades (hah, thought they only used that word in the Northeast!) under the Sunset Trail
were a bit scratchy because we were still in the beginning of December.

Mister K, why the thumbs down to Santa Fe? With good coverage, it's a fun local hill with some challenging (for me) sections... and we didn't even get to the places Mom mentioned.
post #17 of 29
The one thing I have noticed about the NM areas I Have been to is the lack of tree skiing. I am not sure if the resorts do not glade enough area as they do in Colorado or if the trees and underbrush grow differently down there.

Thant being said. I really like the laid back atmosphere of most of the areas (Taos not included). The people are great.
post #18 of 29
I don't drive that way often so I can't say, but the road is pretty decent with an average 50 mph speed limit. I am sure you can get the mileage from mapquest. Keep in mind that on a weekend when coming from that direction when you hit Taos it will take you about another 30 min. to get to the ski area because you have to drive completely through town and then up the canyon. Add putting your boots on, the shuttle ride from the TSV parking lot, getting a ticket, and walking up to the lift and it will probably be close to an hour from the time you first hit the Taos city limits until you are standing at the lift, unless you are pushing it.
post #19 of 29
mom and telski are right. steep shots if a little brief.
as james suggested, just a little too thin for us to venture in.
as i recall, there was a way down from right about here...
(top of ROADRUNNER)



that one could ski to a clearly marked pick-up spot on the road.

seemed like one actually went OB to get there?
post #20 of 29

empty lower mountain on a saturday

Go ahead... tell me what's wrong with my form.

Ryan, not to nitpick, but if I'm not mistaken, the gate is at the top of the upper lift. That pic is at the top of the lower lift.
525x525px-LL-vbattach931.jpg
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
I don't drive that way often so I can't say, but the road is pretty decent with an average 50 mph speed limit. I am sure you can get the mileage from mapquest. Keep in mind that on a weekend when coming from that direction when you hit Taos it will take you about another 30 min. to get to the ski area because you have to drive completely through town and then up the canyon. Add putting your boots on, the shuttle ride from the TSV parking lot, getting a ticket, and walking up to the lift and it will probably be close to an hour from the time you first hit the Taos city limits until you are standing at the lift, unless you are pushing it.
it's been too long since I drove it. Anyone care to explain/describe the way around from Ranchos over to (I believe the name is) Blueberry Hill Rd, then to the flashing light, or is it too complicated to explain?
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles) View Post
it's been too long since I drove it. Anyone care to explain/describe the way around from Ranchos over to (I believe the name is) Blueberry Hill Rd, then to the flashing light, or is it too complicated to explain?
Once you get in to Rancho De Taos, turn Left at the Post Office. There's a couple other turns (left, then right? I forgot) in there to get on Blueberry Hill, but then you just ride it all the way to the end. Take a right at the end of Blueberry Hill, then go straight at the flashing light. Takes you right to the ski hill, and probably saves a good 10 minutes from the downtown slog.

We just drove it last weekend when we picked up our Millennium passes.

Regarding NJ vs. Santa Fe, this is something I can speak to a little bit as we just moved here in March, from Upstate NY. Yes, the overall housing costs are much higher here. (We got 1/2 the house for 2X the price, as I like to say). But on the other hand, property taxes are MUCH lower, and utilities are MUCH lower than they were in NY. The weather is better here too, so overall I think it worked out in our favor.

We're looking forward to a good snow season. This will be the first year we've ever had a season pass for a ski are. See you on the hill!!
post #23 of 29

taos pic bump

i think this is such a fantastic photo of taos; it truly captures something of its essence:

http://rockymountainscenery.com/taos/01.jpg
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan View Post
i think this is such a fantastic photo of taos; it truly captures something of its essence:

http://rockymountainscenery.com/taos/01.jpg
Looks like Walkyries chute or one of the Bambi chutes.
post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 
Lori, I hear ya' on the taxes, My county, Hunterdon, has earned the coveted 3rd place for highest property taxes. I pay about 10K per year. I checked into some listings and for a nice looking house it seems that about 500-600k is what to expect. Any thoughts?
post #26 of 29
Welcome to NM, Lori. See you on the slopes!
Yes, the photo was of the top of the quad/lower lift, but the area described by the gate to the Big T is off the top of the triple/upper chair. Big T is the perfect intro to BC skiing. mild pitch, too mild to slide, really, easy access, goes right to the Big T trailhead parking area where it's easy to catch a ride back up. But every few years, some poor slob gets disoriented and goes off the wrong side of the ridge into the watershed and damn near dies trying to get out. It is very high avelanche area and it is closed to the public because it is the municipal watershed and reservoirs, so if you get in there by mistake, rescue is unlikely. Go with someone who knows the Big T area the first few times you try it - and only in a good snow year.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
Lori, I hear ya' on the taxes, My county, Hunterdon, has earned the coveted 3rd place for highest property taxes. I pay about 10K per year. I checked into some listings and for a nice looking house it seems that about 500-600k is what to expect. Any thoughts?
That sounds about right, for right in Santa Fe. If you don't HAVE to live in the city, get out a few miles (5-10, or more) and the prices drop dramatically. Figure property taxes at about 1/3 what you're paying now, for that level of house.
Albuquerque area is actually quite reasonable for housing prices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom View Post
Welcome to NM, Lori. See you on the slopes!
Hi Mom! Thanks! We're looking forward to a full ski season. Gotta be better than that rain I was skiing in NY last year...
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori_K View Post
Gotta be better than that rain I was skiing in NY last year...
As bad as last year's winter in the east may have been, New Mexico's was apparently pretty awful too. A partial El Nino should fix that.

Eh, even if you get a lousy winter, sack up and head to the Jemez for mountain biking.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles) View Post
it's been too long since I drove it. Anyone care to explain/describe the way around from Ranchos over to (I believe the name is) Blueberry Hill Rd, then to the flashing light, or is it too complicated to explain?
I'm not convinced there is any real time savings taking Blueberry Hill Rd. but here is a map.

http://skitaos.org/LIVING_IN_TAOS/pd...ofTaos_map.PDF
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