Ski Santa Fe: Lifts and Slopes
Last weekend we went skiing in Santa Fe with some friends and had a blast! The New Mexico skies were blue as can be, the snow was great, and almost all slopes were open. Even though people had warned us about lots of people coming up on that Sunday, it turned out that most of these extra people stayed at the bottom two slopes and we never waited more than a few minutes for any of the other lifts. It was gorgeous! We spent all day trying the different lifts and slopes quickly found our favorites:
- Santa Fe Super Chief: You have crazy goods views of the valley if you exit the lift to the right. Then you can head down the fairly steep, but relatively easy short black Muerte and connect back to the lift on some blues and greens. I loved this one! We call the Santa Fe Super Chief the Beads Lift because the chairs pass by a few trees close enough for people to have thrown in a ton of beads (think Mardi Gras-type necklaces), some bras, and a few panties. It looks funny! We asked a few locals on the way up and they had no idea how it started, but told us that one Valentine’s Day the tree was even “decorated” with an over-sized boxer shorts sporting lots of red hearts.
- Tesuque Peak: All of us loved the Gay Way (one of the sloped when you exit the lift to the right). It’s a pretty long blue that starts with amazing views down the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and winds itself about halfway down the mountain. We did the upper part countless times and then usually opted for the Open Slope for the lower part. So much fun!
- Millennium: This lift gets you the furthest up, namely all the way to 12,075 feet. If you hang a left you have the choice between some steeper blacks with lots of moguls and some easy blues that slope down the mountain. All of us loved the very scenic Sunrise and Sunset which wind themselves between lots of trees!
Ski Santa Fe: The Resort, Getting There, and Renting Gear
Ski Santa Fe has a reputation as a very family friendly ski resort and I can see why. There is something for everybody, from really easy runs for new skiers to steep blacks with lots of moguls for the experts: you can see little kids zooming down the mountain alongside ski veterans who seem to have skied all their lives. What I admire the most though are the folks from the Adaptive Ski Program who provide ski lessons to adults and children with different kinds of disabilities. They have everything from mono-skiing to ski bikes and more. And let me tell you, I’ve seen some guys on those mono-skis that could kick anybody’s ass on some of the black moguls. A-ma-zing!
I’d say the only drawback to Ski Santa Fe is that you have stay in downtown Santa Fe and drive up the mountain every morning. It’s about 16 miles one-way and takes between 30-40 minutes depending on traffic. I am more used to ski in/ ski out resorts (like I wrote in my post comparing New Mexico Skiing to European Skiing), but honestly, the drive really isn’t that bad. You just have to get up a little earlier to get the most out of your day. And the mountain is beautiful, so the skiing more than makes up for the drive.
If you don’t have your own gear, I’d recommend renting it right at the base area. They have a fully stocked rental shop and all sorts of different brands. I think the huge advantage to renting there as opposed to down in Santa Fe is that you can always exchange things if something doesn’t work out. My boots started hurting after a little while the first time we went to Santa Fe last year and the guys from the shop quickly gave me a different brand which enabled me to ski pain free for the rest of the day. I’ll gladly pay a few dollars extra for that type of service. Can you imagine renting for a little less in town and then being stuck on the mountain with something that doesn’t fit just right? No thanks!
For lunch Ski Santa Fe basically has two options: La Casa Mall all the way at the bottom and a Bar & Grill about halfway up. I prefer the Bar & Grill for their patio and view of the slopes and the Casa Mall for their choice of food. Either one is fine though for taking a well-deserved lunch break and getting back some energy for the rest of the day. We opened our boots and gave our calves some space to breathe while hanging out in the sun and enjoying our burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, etc.
Ski Santa Fe: Pictures
Did I make you wanna give Ski Santa Fe a try yet? If not, check out some of the pics we took. A few are below and you can find many more in my Facebook album. I didn’t actually take any pics myself on this trip, but luckily Marco did. So, as usual, big thanks to him for being the “unofficial Country Skipper photographer” 😉
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