- Published: Saturday, 27 February 2010 16:00
- Written by Rebecca Louie
By Rebecca Louie
Red and green chiles bring the heat to New Mexican cuisine, but come winter, the state’s hottest attraction may be the Angel Fire Resort. Just three hours northeast of the Albuquerque Sunport International Airport, this ski and snowboard funderland in the southern Rocky Mountains offers an amenity-packed destination with engaging, mostly intermediate terrain.
I recently skied and snowboarded at several NM mountains and Angel Fire was definitely my favorite. What can I say? I’m a consummate city girl with a weekender’s attitude towards hitting the slopes. I’m not extreme (or good) enough to crave hair-raising steeps, and I like a little sophistication with my cocktail at the end of the day. That’s not to say this mountain is fancy. The great thing about skiing in New Mexico is that it lacks the pretensions and price tags of some of the Big Name resorts in neighboring states. It’s just that Angel Fire takes a few extra steps to provide guests with more than just a great snow experience.
Here are fast facts:
This is a gorgeous mountain with a range of runs that offer fun challenges without being overwhelming.
- Base elevation: 8600 feet
- Summit: 10677 feet
- Vertical drop: 2077
- Lifts: 2 high speed quads, 3 doubles and 2 carpets.
- Trails: 74, on 560 + skiable acres (including 2 terrain parks, 3 glade trails)
- Trail breakdown: 26% beginner, 50% intermediate, 24% advanced
- 50 acres of night ski
- 3 cross country trails
- Polar Coaster tubing hill with 3x1000 ft. lanes. (tubing is fun —get over yourself!)
Angel Fire pumped a lot of money into renovations last year, and it shows. The Lodge At Angel Fire Resort is located right at the base of the mountain. It has huge rooms with stylish bedding where pets are welcome and the wi-fi is free. For those who crave a more homey stay, several vacation condo rentals and homes flank the property. Funds also went into developing the dining options, resulting in the classy En Fuego Wine Bar, Caliente Grill, and Chinate’s Pizzeria. (Juicy details and tips from the chef in another post.) On the mountain, food options include The Village Haus Cafeteria (home to the Lazy Lizard Restaurant and Cantina), The Summit Haus, and Moguls at the Mountain Haus.
Ski and Snowboard School
For the bulk of my life, I’ve been a skier, but last year I vowed to learn to ride. I had taken a couple of lessons with a range of people — including Donna Carpenter, wife of Jake Burton, of Burton snowboard brands. Despite that, I’ve never, ever, ever made as much progress on a mountain as I did with the Angel Fire Ski and Snowboard School.
In partnership with organizations including CETUSA and USE, many mountain staffers at Angel Fire are students from South America. I was lucky enough to get paired up with Javier from Chile, who in an hour and a half one-on-one lesson had me shredding down imposing blues with a perfect, so-pivotal toe side (pre-Javier, my toe-side was toe-tally lame). He was sweet, patient, funny, and most importantly knew how to break down exactly what I needed to learn to step up my game, taking me through a series of “exercises” that isolated specific elements – knee, shoulder, speed — that culminated in amazing skill building. Totally worth it.
For More Information
Angel Fire Resort