8 Best Ski Resorts in New Mexico | PlanetWare (2022)

Written by Michael Law
Updated Oct 21, 2021

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New Mexico is perhaps one of the USA's great undiscovered ski states, and the locals would probably like to keep it that way. Many people are surprised that the state has multiple mountains with elevations above 12,000 feet.

It's this height that catches Pacific storms as they track inland. New Mexico's resorts are famous for their massive dumps of dry powder snow. Once the storms pass, the sun shines under impossibly blue skies, so be sure to bring your sunglasses and sunscreen.

Most of the resorts are found in a line running roughly northeast of Albuquerque in the Sandia Mountains. Of the eight resorts featured below, all but one are up in this area. This concentration of ski resorts makes it easy to try multiple mountains in one ski trip, especially if you base yourself in Taos, or to a lesser extent, in Santa Fe. Each resort is a bit different and well worth checking out if you have the time and want to put a few more notches in your resorts conquered list.

Santa Fe, with its rich history and amazing restaurants makes a good base for visitors wanting a mix of skiing and city sights. If you are interested in trying several different resorts in one trip as mentioned above, consider staying in the small town of Taos. From here, you can easily visit Angel Fire, Taos Ski Valley, and Sipapu. Two of the smaller operations are near Alamogordo.

The resorts in New Mexico are fun and friendly, and rarely will you have to wait in a lift line. Skiing here is also surprisingly affordable. The resorts offer fantastic ski and stay packages at local hotels, and even the lift tickets themselves at most resorts are half the price of the big ski resorts in Colorado.

The ski season in New Mexico runs from about mid-December to mid-March. The resorts are relatively high in elevation, but the strong sun and southern location tends to melt the snow quickly, especially in the spring.

For ideas on where to hit the slopes, see our list of the best ski resorts in New Mexico.

1. Taos Ski Valley

8 Best Ski Resorts in New Mexico | PlanetWare (1)

The largest ski resort in New Mexico is Taos Ski Valley, set at the base of massive Kachina Peak and reached by following a twisty single lane highway up a narrow valley.

The resort is an eclectic mix of old-school charm combined with modern amenities. Over the past few years, under new management, the resort has undertaken over $300 million in significant improvements to the lifts and the base areas without diluting the traditional appeal of bygone days.

The new money has resulted in a revitalized base area, including new high-end accommodation at the Blake Hotel, expanded tree skiing, a new "goldolita," and a new high-speed quad chair. In addition to the hotel new condominiums have also been constructed target at those who need more space.

The resort is known for its challenging terrain. Over half the runs are intermediate or expert-rated, but you'll still find plenty of variety. The 110 runs are a mix of cruisers; steep black diamonds; and, with 25 feet of snow annually, stashes of deep snow hidden in the trees. Taos Ski Valley has 14 lifts across a mix of lift types, including one old-school double chair.

The resort base area is at 9,207 feet, and the summit is at 12,481 feet. You'll have no trouble finding your own space, as the resort is spread out over an impressive 1,294 acres.

In the past, finding good accommodation close by was a bit of a challenge. With the new base area, high-end accommodation is now available right on the mountain. If you don't mind the 30-minute drive to the town of Taos, additional options at various price points, plus a great assortment of restaurants, are available.

Official site: https://www.skitaos.com/

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Taos

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Taos
(Video) List 8 Best Ski Resorts in New Mexico | Skiing in United States | 66Travel

2. Angel Fire Resort

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If you love green runs and endless blue cruisers with a few short black diamonds to add a bit of spice to your day, then Angel Fire Resort is where you'll find your happy place. Many beginner and intermediate level skiers prefer Angel Fire to Taos.

Angel Fire has 81 runs with 77 percent of those rated either intermediate or easy, making it an ideal location for a family ski vacation. You'll also be assured of good snow, as over half the mountain is covered by snowmaking equipment just in case Mother Nature needs a hand.

If your skiing skills or boarding skills lean towards intermediate or advanced, start your day on the Southwest Flyer quad chair to get your legs tuned up on moderate length cruisers. Once warmed up, try a couple of the black diamond runs off this chair, or if you'd rather continue cruising, head to the extra long cruisers off Chili Express. At some point in the day see if you can make it down Silver Chute all the way to the bottom without stopping.

The mountain also has several quality terrain parks that will have you riding pipes and catching big air.

If you haven't had enough or started your day late, Angel Fire offers night skiing for an additional fee.

Accommodation options at the hill range from condos through to hotels and bed and breakfasts. Taos, with a wide range of hotels, resorts, and restaurants is 40 minutes away.

3. Sandia Peak

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Located near Albuquerque, Sandia Peak is New Mexico's only ski resort with a tram. Consisting of two cars, it whisks skiers and sightseers 2.7 miles to the resort area. The 15-minute ride is half the fun, and at one point along the journey, you'll be 1,000 feet in the air.

The resort gets 10 feet of snow and supplements that with 30 acres of snowmaking.

(Video) Taos Ski Valley || New Mexico || Skiing

This resort has the proud distinction of being New Mexico's oldest ski resort. The 35 runs here are primarily targeted at the beginner and intermediate levels, and the resort is an excellent place to learn how to ski. In addition to the tram, uphill capacity consists of three double chairs and a conveyor style surface lift. Sandia Peak has a vertical drop of 1,700 feet.

The restaurant at the top, Ten 3, is located at an elevation of 10,378 feet. It provides hearty fare and provides unparalleled views out over Albuquerque.

Plan your visit carefully because the resort operates Friday through Sunday only.

Official site: https://sandiapeak.com/ski-area/

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Albuquerque

4. Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort

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Sipapu is one of the most family-friendly ski resorts in New Mexico. The resort offers an assortment of gentle runs on the bottom two-thirds of the mountain, perfect for all ages. Near the top are a number of black diamond and tougher blue runs that run through the trees. The resort also has a couple of terrain park areas, one that even has its own lift.

Skiing at Sipapu is a bargain – kids 12 years and under ski for free. With only the cost of lift tickets for mom and dad, this is one of the rare spots where a family can enjoy a day on the slopes without breaking the bank.

Just because it's cheap doesn't mean the skiing is mediocre. Sipapu has three chairs and three conveyors servicing 43 runs. The resort gets an impressive nine feet of snow a year and has a vertical drop-off of 1,055 feet.

Accommodation is either on or very near the ski hill and consists of traditional hotel rooms, casitas, or, if you have a large group of up to 16 people, a place called The Big House.

Thirty minutes away is Taos. Here, you can find a wide variety of hotel and dining options.

Official Site: https://www.sipapu.ski/

5. Ski Apache

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Ski Apache is located in the southern part of New Mexico and is one of the closest resorts for those looking to come north from Texas.

(Video) Ski Red River New Mexico

The ski hill has impressive uphill capacity, with 11 lifts, including the state's only eight-passenger gondola. Fifty-five runs are spread out across 750 skiable acres. Eighty percent of the runs are beginner or intermediate, which makes Ski Apache an ideal location for families. For those looking for more challenge, check out the large bowl and tree runs.

The highest peak at the resort is an impressive 12,000 feet, which effectively grabs any moisture and covers the resort in snow to the tune of 15 feet, on average, each season.

If your legs are shot from bagging some impressive vertical, check out the third longest zipline in the world, where you'll race down nearly 9,000 feet at speeds up to 60 miles per hour.

Official site: https://www.skiapache.com/

Accommodation: Where to Stay near Ski Apache

6. Pajarito

8 Best Ski Resorts in New Mexico | PlanetWare (6)

Good times and great skiing are what are on offer at Pajarito. Spread out over 300 acres on the Jemez Mountains are 44 named runs plus tree skiing routes. The resort tops out at 10,440 feet, and the base area is at 9,000 feet. On average, it gets 10.5 feet of snow each year.

Pajarito is renowned for its moguls, so tune up your knees and quads and get ready for some serious bump bashing. These runs plus a mix of trails oriented towards intermediate and beginner skiers are serviced by five old-school lifts.

Skiing at Pajarito is an affordable family adventure. Kids 12 and under ski for free each season, as do adults 75 years and older.

Pajarito is also known for its extensive musical and festival events that add a lively atmosphere to the ski day, so plan a bit of extra time to sit back and soak it all in.

The hill doesn't have any on-hill accommodation, but good hotels with exceptional ski-and-stay deals are five miles away in Los Alamos. Alternatively, Santa Fe, with all the incredible things it has to offer, is a 55-minute drive.

Official site: https://www.pajarito.ski/

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Los Alamos

7. Red River Ski & Summer Area

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Red River gets an impressive 18 feet of snow a year and, if for some reason that snow fails to appear, the hill has excellent snowmaking – 85 percent of the mountain is covered.

The resort has a front side with predominately blue and green runs and a backside that is almost all green runs, a perfect place for beginner skiers. Runs are generally wide-open, well-groomed, and just perfect for cruising all day long.

The resort has seven lifts and a vertical drop of 1,600 feet. One of the great pleasures of skiing at Red River is the small town at the base. Accommodation is within walking distance of the lifts, and a wide variety of choices are on offer, from condos right through to standard hotel rooms.

After a fun family day on the slopes, kick off your ski boots and stretch your legs by walking up and down the main street. You'll find an assortment of local eateries serving up hearty fare to recharge your energy levels. Nighthawks may be the only ones disappointed; after about 9pm the town gets pretty quiet.

Official site: https://www.redriverskiarea.com/

Accommodation: Where to Stay at Red River

8. Ski Santa Fe

8 Best Ski Resorts in New Mexico | PlanetWare (8)

If you are looking for a resort that is close to the attractions of Santa Fe, this is the one to choose. If you aren't a particularly serious skier who needs to be on the hill first thing, you might want to plan out some leisure time here as well. Spend a bit of the morning lingering over your coffee and big breakfast, make your way to the hill under bluebird skies, ski the rest of the morning and afternoon, head back to your hotel, and then take in a memorable meal at one of Santa Fe's amazing restaurants.

The reason such an amazing day can easily be had is because the Ski Santa Fe's base area is only 16 miles from downtown.

Located at a base elevation of 10,350 feet, with a summit of 12,075 feet, the resort gets nearly 19 feet of snow a year. What's not to like?

Seven lifts provide good uphill capacity, and the 86 runs are 60 percent beginner/intermediate and 40 percent advanced. The vertical drop is 1,725 feet. Long, wide groomers are the norm here, with a bit of tree skiing thrown in for those with the skills and bravery to tackle them.

The views from the top are spectacular on clear days, which fortunately is the standard as opposed to the exception.

Accommodation options in Santa Fe are almost limitless, from high-end resorts to romantic bed and breakfasts, right through to budget places.

Official site: https://skisantafe.com/

(Video) January Skiing at Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico

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8 Best Ski Resorts in New Mexico | PlanetWare (9)Places to Ski Nearby: If you are planning to try skiing in a few states, you've probably already considered heading north to the ski resorts in Colorado. From the Taos area, it's less than three hours to the steep and deep conditions at Wolf Creek, Colorado. Just a bit farther on takes you to Purgatory ski resort just outside the great town of Durango.

If you want to stick to the sunnier states and smaller ski operations, you may find what you're looking for at the ski resorts in Arizona. Just outside Flagstaff is Arizona Snowbowl, the state's most well-known resort, but you can find a couple more in other parts of the state.

FAQs

Is Taos or Santa Fe better for skiing? ›

Ski Santa Fe has arguably the best tree and glade skiing in the state (particularly Tequila Sunset, Big Rocks, and Cornice), as well as many natural and man-made stashes in the woods. Taos' newish Wild West harbors 35 acres of often virgin glades, to go along with North American and Ernie's.

Is Angel Fire better than Taos? ›

Compared to Taos' steep badge of honor, Angel Fire is more of an all-around resort that feels like Beaver Creek but without the price tag. You'll find amenities like a sledding hill, a nordic center, and even snow tubing to go along with your ski vacation. For those who enjoy park be sure to visit the Liberation Park.

Is skiing good in New Mexico? ›

New Mexico may not receive the same attention as its neighboring states of Colorado or Utah, but the Land of Enchantment has its fair share of great skiing. There are eight alpine ski areas: Angel Fire, Pajarito Mountain, Red River Ski and Summer Area, Sandia Peak, Sipapu, Ski Apache, Ski Santa Fe, and Taos Ski Valley.

How many ski resorts does New Mexico have? ›

New Mexico's image outside the USA tends to be of barren deserts, striking rock towers and historic adobe settlements. But the general dry climate also helps to form some wonderful powder snow which falls on no less than nine ski resorts in New Mexico – including the USA's southernmost major ski area.

What months can you ski in New Mexico? ›

New Mexico's ski season typically begins in mid-to-late fall and lasts until late winter. That means you can expect powdery slopes and trails open to skiers and boarders from late November through early March. You can also expect stellar ski conditions in New Mexico during these months: December.

How far is Santa Fe from skiing? ›

Santa Fe is only 16 miles from the ski area base. Check out the great ski and stay packages.

Where do you fly into for Angel Fire NM? ›

Fly to Angel Fire

The Albuquerque International Sunport Airport (ABQ) and Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF) offer over 23 non-stop flights from 20 major cities in the United States. Choose from major airlines including Delta, Southwest, American, United, and JetBlue.

What airport do you fly into for Taos? ›

The nearest major airport is Los Alamos County Airport (LAM / KLAM). This airport has domestic flights from Los Alamos, New Mexico and is 64 miles from the center of Taos, NM.

How hard is Taos Ski Valley? ›

51% of Taos' runs are considered difficult, 25% intermediate, and 24% easy. Taos is 60% north facing, high, shaded, and steep, so its snow preservation is excellent.

What is the best time to ski Taos? ›

Taos Ski Valley usually opens for the season around late November and closes mid-April. The best times to catch the most snowfall is during the months of February and March. And with around 300 days of sunshine each year, you are sure to have at least one gorgeous day on the slopes.

How much is it to ski in New Mexico? ›

New Mexico Ski Passes
Resort NameSeason Pass AdultSeason Pass Child
Red River615.00450.00
Sandia Peak619.00239.00
Sipapu Ski Resort899.00525.00
Ski Apache950.00950.00
4 more rows

Does Ski Santa Fe make snow? ›

We rely heavily on natural snowfall to help us open more terrain and recondition the current open slopes. We haven't had much of that of course. As for snowmaking, it's our only way to combat a light snowfall year.

What is the state's largest ski area in New Mexico? ›

Taos Ski Valley is the largest ski resort in New Mexico, with almost 1,300 skiable acres.

Can you ski in Santa Fe in March? ›

The best time to enjoy the slopes here runs from February to mid-March. Known as one of the oldest and highest ski areas in the United States, Ski Santa Fe resort starts at 10,350 ft (3,155 m) in the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range.

Can you ski in New Mexico in March? ›

The ski season in numerous New Mexico resorts varies from mid-December to early April, with the best snow conditions for winter sports lovers between February and early March.

Where is the most snow in New Mexico? ›

Red River is considered to be the snowiest place in New Mexico, enjoying 40 inches of snow over an average of 62 days per year. Santa Fe sees around 22 inches of snow per year over a span of 36 days on average.

Is Taos skiing good? ›

Taos Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Taos ski terrain is mostly suited to strong intermediates and experts, although it's mostly renowned for the latter. Over half of the marked trails are black or double black and there are also lots of great chutes and terrifying off-piste runs.

Is Angel Fire good for beginners? ›

Angel Fire has lots of nice beginner and intermediate runs, along with a few blacks for the experts. A good place to go if your group has a vareity of skier types.

What is skiing like in Santa Fe? ›

Did you know that Ski Santa Fe is one of the highest ski areas in the country? With a summit elevation of 12,075 feet and a vertical drop of 1,725 feet, the ski area boasts amazing vistas, steep bumps, powder-filled chutes and gladed tree-skiing.

What is the elevation of Ski Santa Fe? ›

Ski Santa Fe Statistics
Offices Open Daily8:00am – 4:30pm
Base Elevation10350 Feet
Peak Elevation12075 Feet
Terrain20% easy 40% intermediate 40% expert
Annual Snowfall225 inches
8 more rows
Oct 9, 2019

Who owns Ski Santa Fe? ›

The ski area will also build an 800-space parking lot and will operate a commercial mountain-biking enterprise during the summer. Defler's switch angered nearly everyone except ski area owner Benny Abruzzo and his family - well-known developers from Albuquerque - and alpine skiers eager to ski the "Big T" bowl.

Is Taos more expensive than Santa Fe? ›

Highlights. Santa Fe is 10.6% more expensive than Taos. Santa Fe housing costs are 18.3% more expensive than Taos housing costs. Health related expenses are 0.5% less in Santa Fe.

Can you ski in Taos in December? ›

Chances are yes there will be snow and if the ski area is open there will be some skiable terrain. The ski area is outside of the actual town of Taos where a majority of the lodging and dining options are found.

What is living in Taos like? ›

Taos is an excellent place to live and work. There is so much diversity and culture! There are excellent recreational activities especially for the outdoors-man. There is beautiful art and breathtaking mountain views!

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