Looking for a family ski destination that offers diverse terrain, excellent instruction, high altitude snow, plenty of sunshine and a cultural experience unlike any other?
Look no further than Ski Santa Fe, near Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Reason #1: Ski Santa Fe Is a Special Place For Families
Ski Santa Fe is a family ski area, in every sense of the phrase.
The mountain is family-oriented with excellent skiing and riding for guests of all abilities and a full array of ski and snowboard programming, including daycare. Ski Santa Fe is also family-owned and operated.
For decades, this medium-size ski area has been a place where New Mexico families, including the owners and their children, learn to ski.
Beginner ski and snowboard lessons for kids up to age 11 take place at Chipmunk Corner, adjacent to the main lodge. Chipmunk Corner is tucked away from the rest of the mountain and has a magic carpet on a very gentle slope.
Kids ages 10-11 can take beginner lessons at Chipmunk Corner or through the Snowsports School, which offers standard group and private lessons, along with an array of two-lesson packages for kids and adults of all levels.
Pro Tip: Skiing at Ski Santa Fe is affordable.
2019 lift tickets for adults (ages 24-61) begin at $80 for a single day ticket, with discounts available for multi-day tickets. Teen tickets (ages 13-23) and Senior tickets (ages 62-71) are $62 for one day, while child tickets (over 46” tall to age 12) are $54.
On-mountain food is also inexpensive and features regional specialties like traditional green chile stew and spaghetti sauce made from a family recipe.
While Ski Santa Fe doesn’t have lodging, winter is Santa Fe’s slower season, with discounts at many lodging properties in the city.
Reason #2: The Terrain, The Terrain, The Terrain
Long before I visited Ski Santa Fe I’d been hearing good things about this mountain from some of my most accomplished ski buddies.
They rhapsodized, with good reason, about Ski Santa Fe’s tree skiing, bump skiing and steep chutes off of the two mid-mountain triple chairs (#7 Millennium and #3 Tesuque Peak). What they didn’t tell me is that pretty much every acre of the mountain’s 660 skiable acres skis, from the groomed pistes to the many glades spread across the mountain.
All told, 20% of the runs at Ski Santa Fe are beginner, 40% are intermediate and 40% are expert. The ski area features skiing on three peaks, with 1,725 vertical feet, between the base area at 10,350 feet and the summit at 12,075 feet.
Pro Tip: Ready to ski trees?
You don’t have to be a kid to explore intermediate Adventure Land Glade at the bottom of the children’s Adventure Land run. A moderate pitch and wide spacing makes Adventure Land Glade a perfect place to experience skiing and riding in the forest.
Reason #3: The Snow and the Sunshine
With an average annual snowfall of 225”, it isn’t sunny all of the time at Ski Santa Fe. But given the resort’s high altitude and southern latitude, the sun is higher in the ski and the light is crisp and clear.
Located on the southernmost peaks of the Rocky Mountains, the resort’s high altitude keeps the snow soft and cold, maximizing conditions into spring.
And then there is the bluebird sky.
Writing about New Mexico in her 1927 novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather had this to say.
“Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky.”
Pro Tip: Bring sunscreen and warm layers.
Ski Santa Fe can be 10-20° F cooler than the city of Santa Fe just 16 miles downhill. La Casa Lodge has lockers if you need to stash a layer or ski bag, as well as an impressive snowsports shop if you need to purchase something you’ve forgotten.
Bonus Tip: Don’t forget sunglasses. They come in handy when enjoying live music on the deck at mid-mountain Totemoff’s Bar and Grill.
Reason #4: The City of Santa Fe
Santa Fe has been a cultural crossroads for over 400 years.
Step back in time at one of the city’s many museums and historic buildings, visit with Native American artists at the daily art market on the plaza, dine at one of the city’s 500 restaurants or hike and bike for miles into the surrounding forest.
Pro Tip: Embrace Santa Fe as a ski town and then take a day or two off from skiing to explore.
Bonus Tip: I find the PDF easier to read if I make the screen narrower and longer, so I can read a full page at a time.
Reason #5: It’s Easy to Get Here
In addition to offering great skiing, beautiful scenery, fantastic snow and excellent value, it’s also easy to get to Ski Santa Fe.
Daily flights serve Santa Fe on a limited basis, with more options available into Albuquerque, just an hour away.
Ski Santa Fe is between 30-45 minutes from Santa Fe.
Pro Tip: Take public transport instead of renting a car.
The Rail Runner Express train runs from Albuquerque to Santa Fe’s Railyard District near the Plaza.
If you are staying downtown, Santa Fe is very walkable.
The RTD Mountain Trail Bus runs daily from Santa Fe to the ski area. The fare is $5 each way and you’ll get a token good for $5 off everything at Ski Santa Fe, except alcohol.
The bus also stops at Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese-inspired hot springs and spa. Get off here to soak (again with a $5 off token) and get back on the bus later to return to Santa Fe without an additional charge.
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