Vail, Aspen, Park City. While it would be nice to travel to one of these top ski resorts, often the cost of a beer in the lodge is equivalent to a hotel room at a lesser known resort (although that may be a bit of an exaggeration). People in search of the ultimate slopes often think they must shell out the big bucks and travel to the top snow resorts to find the best lifts; yet those in search of adventure do not need to travel to the Swiss Alps or the Canadian Rockies to experience the rush.
In fact, one area of the country offers quite a lot of the same adventure that the top ski resorts do, yet it’s not an area you think of when it comes to winter sports. New Mexico these days is more associated with Breaking Bad than it is with world class skiing and adventure, yet, if you’re a thrill seeker and never been, it’s time to visit.
A Land Full of Resorts in the North
When one envisions the Rocky Mountains, usually Colorado comes to mind. Yet, what many don’t realize is that the Rocky Mountains begin in the state just south of Colorado.
The Southern Rockies start in northern New Mexico, and include the Sierra Nacimiento range, the Tusas Mountain range and the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range. Between those ranges, there are more than ten resorts offering amazing skiing.
One area in northern New Mexico with world class skiing to rival that of the Colorado Rockies is Taos Ski Valley. In fact, Taos Ski Valley is so world class that 51 percent of its runs are rated expert and above. Not an expert skier? Taos still has its share of beginner runs. So, it’s important to consult a ski guide to know you’re using the right skis.
Located within Taos is one of the highest peaks in New Mexico, Kachina Peak, and those in seek of serious thrill can hike The Ridge up to the peak for some fresh powder and no crowds.
Cultural Heritage in Santa Fe
After a day or three visiting the slopes, a stop in Santa Fe offers all kinds of adventure of its own. Santa Fe is a fantastic winter destination as its beauty and mild winter weather is a nice change from its scorching summers. The beautiful adobe walls that run throughout Santa Fe are covered with snow, and Taos is only an hour away.
While there is an abundance of cultural art in Santa Fe, there are some off-road adventures just on the outside of town. Snowshoeing through the trails in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains takes you through beautiful Ponderosa pines covered in blankets of Santa Fe snow. Cross country skiing is also a great Santa Fe adventure; the Norski trail at 10,000 feet is challenging but is quite an amazing experience.
Stopping Through the Ghost Towns
If you’re up for an excursion, there are dozens of ghost downs littered throughout northern New Mexico. Spreading all over from the eastern border to the western border, ghost towns are equally fun and eerie places to explore.
Some ghost towns are larger and more intriguing than others, but each one has a rich history that might be tough to uncover. Walking through a New Mexico ghost town truly feels like you’re either on a movie set or back in the Wild
While a bit of a drive from Santa Fe, Chloride is a ghost town worth visiting. Once a booming mining town, Chloride has since become semi abandoned yet hosts a significant number of visitors each year.