Some folk like to spend their whole ski vacation in one place. Not us. We like roadtrips. We hit the road in mid-December. Seven ski areas in seven days. We started in Colorado and chased a big storm down to New Mexico.
Our first stop was Angel Fire. We didn’t know what to expect, but what we found was an upper mountain with the best early season conditions in our week long trip. The patrollers had dropped ropes all over the mountain including a “best-case-scenario”, where they opened three hiking trails, but someone forgot to take down the CLOSED sign. What followed was an uninterrupted afternoon of thigh high powder runs.
The next day we went to Red River to cash on their half price weekend. This means 50% off lift tickets, rentals, lessons — and even lodging. We found a $50 one bedroom apartment within walking distance of the lifts. You won’t ever find that in Colorado. Red River had been open since Thanksgiving, so most of the good stuff was tracked out. We still found some nice hits on the ridge line under the Red Chair.
Our final stop was Sipapu, about twenty miles from Taos. And for the first time in a week, the sun finally made an appearance. This family friendly resort has a whole mess of discounted tickets — more than we’ve seen for just about any ski area. They’ve got a cozy old school lodge and less crowds than we’re used to seeing. The upper mountain hadn’t been opened yet on our trip. Too bad for us we had to leave. There looked like some sweet glade skiing tucked up there.
Some of our favorites from New Mexico:
Favorite Ski Trail Name: Glory Hole at Angel Fire.
Best Bar to Throw Back a Beer: Bull O’ The Woods Saloon in Red River. And if you’re there on Sunday, they’ve got a $10 buffet during football season. Score!
Best Powder Stashes: Angel Fire by about sixteen inches of powder. The upper mountain got socked by early season storms and if you don’t mind hiking, there’s even more to explore.
Best Place to Crash for the Night: Most resorts give you free lift tickets when you purchase lodging. Sipapu gives you a free place to stay when you buy a ticket. There’s deals for free overnight stays in Taos and Las Vegas, but we recommend staying right at the slopeside lodge.
Runner Up Place to Crash: 1/2 price weekend in Red River means 1/2 price lodging around town. We stayed at the Ponderosa, a quirky seventies style pad that boasted a one room apartment with fireplace and kitchen for an amazing $50 bucks a night.