Angel Fire Vacation Rental
Ski, Bike, Golf, Hike, Fish and More!

Insiders Ski Guide

Angel Fire simply offers some of the best skiing in the southwest U.S., period.  For starters, Angel Fire boasts New Mexico's ONLY high speed detachable lifts- and they have two of them, one on each side of the mountain.  That means that you won't spend a lot of time on the lifts (or waiting in line for them), and you will spend a lot more time skiing.  

One of Angel Fire's greatest weather advantages, is occasionally one of its weaknesses.  Being one of the U.S. southernmost ski resorts, there are many beautiful sunny ski days where the temperatures are a comfortable 40-50 degrees- especially in late February and March.  And while this makes for incredibly comfortable skiing, it can present a challenge for finding the best snow...unless you know how to plan your day.  On warm, spring days, the key is to get out early and hit the groomers on the front side.  Avoid un-groomed trails on the front if the day before was balmy (over 40 degrees), those will be icy.  Prospector, Jasper, I-25 are great intermediate runs and are groomed regularly.  Just check the grooming report before you head out.  Beginners...Heading Home is groomed daily, and is a GREAT early morning front-side run in late February and March.  After a few runs (by 11 AM or so) its time to hit the back side.  The backside of the mountain is colder, and more protected from the sun.  The snow holds up much better, and offers great skiing until mid-afternoon on even the warmest days.  Hully Gully, Fire Escape, and Eagle Glade are some amazing intermediate runs.  If you're ready, Nice Day, Hell's Bells, and Minder Binder are three of the greatest ski runs in the country.  Beginners will love Highway to Hallelujah, which despite sun exposure always seems to hold up incredibly well.  Then, later in the day, you can head back to the front side where the snow on the steeps (Glory Hole, Sluice Box, Free Flight) will have softened up and be ready to carve.  Note that the flatter/beginner runs will begin to slush out on those warm early spring days (thereby causing the aforementioned ice the next morning).

For early winter skiing, I like to head straight to the backside of the mountain as early as I can get there.  I know there will be great skiing on the front later in the day, so I avoid the bulk of the skiers and hit the back.  It is not uncommon to hit the backside early and ski a few runs without encountering another skier.  We feel like we have the mountain to ourselves, and lift lines?? Please!  I think a lot of visitors are hesitant to ski the backside, perhaps fearful of 'the unknown'.  But frankly, the best skiing at the resort is on the backside, and there is certainly nothing to fear.  The fall lines are incredible, and lift ride back up is only about 5 minutes, so the ski time to lift time ratio is absurdly good- maybe the best anywhere.  The terrain is perfect for raw beginners, and well as seasoned veterans, and the snow is always PERFECT.  (just don't tell anyone- I share this at risk of losing my honorary "locals card").  Later in the day, the weary are calling it, so its a great time to hit the front.  While there isn't a "bad run" on the front, per se, conditions can dictate what is best from day to day.  Don't hesitate to seek out a local skier and and ask what runs are "good" especially if you are limited on time.  Don't waste a run on a trail that isn't up to par.  

Another great thing about Angel Fire's trails is that "all roads lead to Rome" so to speak.  As long as you are going downhill, you are going to end up at either the front side main base, or the backside exception.  I took a 'wrong turn' late in the day in Breckenridge years ago, and found myself 2 miles from my hotel trying to figure out how I was going to get back.  Not a worry in Angel Fire- which is great if you have kids you want to turn lose on the slopes.

The bottom line is that Angel Fire offers the quality skiing of many of Colorado and Utah's so-called finer resorts, without the cost, or pretentiousness often associated with them.  The terrain is remarkably varied in both skill level and style.  There is a great mix of wide open and fast groomers, rolling "backwoods" trails, challenging glades, and intense steeps.   Angel Fire is a quintessential small town with a definite laid back feel.  You won't pay outrageous prices for food or beverages like you will at some resorts, and lift ticket prices are typically 30-40% less than comparable Colorado resorts.  If you have been to Angel Fire, you know exactly what I mean.  If you haven't...well, its time! 
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