Landing at Albuquerque International Sunport, passengers get a birds-eye view of the mountain they are about to explore up-close. Often referred to as the “Land of Enchantment,” New Mexico has some of the most beautiful scenery from red cliffs to snow-capped peaks. Perched on the edge of the Rockies, the area offers light, powdery snow and pure-blue skies.
New Mexico ski resorts offer good values and a family-friendly atmosphere. Plus, historic Native American culture pervades the area, from Anasazi pueblo ruins to local art galleries. The delicious and authentic food offers hearty dishes which are rich with chili pepper spice. Locals have a down-to-earth, laid-back persona and are welcoming to outsiders.
Eight major alpine ski resorts are located in New Mexico, many in the Northeast area of the state such as Taos Ski Valley, as this is where most snow accumulates. Here are some of our favorite New Mexico family ski resorts:
Taos Ski Valley
Rich with history and historical prevalence, Taos Ski Valley is one of the few family-owned and operated ski resorts in America. Originally a ski-exclusive resort, Taos opened its doors to snowboarding for the first time in 2008. Today, avid skiers and snowboarders flock to this snow-covered mountain for some of the best trails and riding experiences around. With more than 1,200 acres, 110 trails and 15 lifts, this New Mexico family ski resort features a variety of terrains for all skill levels. The resort’s trails are evenly dispersed, with beginner and intermediate terrains making up 25 percent, with the other 50 percent on advanced and expert terrain.
This family ski resort in New Mexico features a children’s center offering a variety of fun-filled activities for kids of all ages. The nursery staff offers childcare to children 6 weeks to 1 year. Indoor activities, snow play and tasty snacks are provided for children ages 1 to 3, with half-, full- and multiple-day sessions available. Kids age 3 and up can participate in a variety of ski and snowboarding programs, allowing them to learn the basics of riding and work on new skills and abilities.
With plenty of lodging throughout the area, families can easily find something that will fit their needs and budget. From hotel rooms, suites and chalets to two- and three-bedroom ski-in/ski-out condo units.
Recommended Hotel: The Bavarian Lodge & Restaurant
Consistently rated one of the top family ski areas in the Southern Rockies, Angel Fire offers tons of terrain for tubing and skiing. Beginner and intermediate trails make up more than 75 percent of the mountain’s terrain, making it great for those just starting out. For more experienced riders, there are several expert trails along the back of New Mexico’s tallest mountain. More than 80 trails are accessed by seven chair lifts, overlooking Moreno Valley and Wheeler Park and three terrain parks. Music is pumped out on the trails from sound systems under the lifts, adding a festive vibe. A timed NASTAR race course is just above the 8,600-foot elevation base, offering recreational racing for anyone on a huge slalom format. The Polar Coaster is a three-lane trail down 1,000-foot hills, perfect for tubing. The freestyle terrain parks have jumps, rails and boxes, putting Angel Fire on the top for snowboarding in New Mexico. The mountain’s lower front side, home to the easier trails, is lit up and open for night skiing on select evenings.
Children ages 4 to 12 can learn to ski in one of four full- or half-day classes, split by age. In the ski programs, all children are encouraged, not forced, to ski or snowboard. Classes include lunch, snacks, rentals and free lift ticket. Select classes are for first-time skiers only.
Recommended Hotel: Angel Fire Resort Lodge
Ski Santa Fe
Nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Ski Santa Fe is a family ski resort in New Mexico with runs for beginners and a few challenging runs for more advanced riders. Deemed one of the highest ski areas in the United States, the resort has a base elevation of 10,350 feet. The Millennium Triple Chairlift takes visitors to a soaring 12,075 feet over 660 acres of gorgeous scenery, 1,725 feet of vertical skiing and 79 well-groomed trails that appease skiers of all levels. With seven chairlifts total, don’t expect to be waiting in lines at Ski Santa Fe. A freestyle terrain park, known as “The Bone Yard,” contains boxes, ramps and jibs for all riding enthusiasts. Guests can enjoy smooth runs up to 3 miles long, narrow chutes, and more challenging black diamond trails.
Chipmunk Corner Children’s Center caters to kids from age 3 months to 11 years. Full-day or half-day childcare is offered for kids’ up to 3 years old between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Split into groups by age, kids are provided with snacks and lunch. Snowplay is a group for 3 and 4 year olds that provide children with outdoor games and movies the entire day. Lil’ Chips is a ski lesson program that takes place during snow play, so children can go in between groups as they wish. Kids between the ages of 5 and 11 can take skiing or snowboarding classes with peers in the same age group. These classes cater to kids of all levels; the center has its own conveyor lift.
Families stay in the city of Santa Fe, known as the oldest capital city in North America. The city offers a range of galleries, museums, theater and restaurants. La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa offers a luxurious stay only two blocks from shopping and restaurants at the Plaza. The guestrooms and suites feature authentic Santa Fe decor and S’mores by the fire can be enjoyed, too.
Recommended Hotel: La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa