Skiing New Mexico

Ski Santa Fe
Young skiers at Ski Santa Fe

It's the view, they've always told me. From the Tesuque (pronounced Ta-SU-kee) Peak summit, you can see 8,000 square miles. I've always believed them. Really, I have. I've just never seen that view. Because each time I've ascended the triple chair or the adjacent poma-tow, the view has been swallowed by falling snowflakes and dense clouds. My last visit was no exception—even though it took place in late March. In town, spring was in the air. But on Tesuque? Mid-winter.

Deprived of the view, there was only one thing to do. Ski. We headed to our right on an intermediate-rated run called Sunset that lips the Tesuque Peak ridge. A series of chutes, tree runs and sheer bowls dropped to our left. It was a question of choosing our pleasure—and we chose Tequila Sunrise, a funnel-shaped trail that sets up like a natural halfpipe. Indeed, these abundant natural halfpipes help to make Santa Fe a favorite among snowboarders. (That they remain banned at Taos also helps.) After we banked big S-turns off Sunrise's sides, we returned to test the trees. Up top, the glades can be precipitous; but towards mid-mountain we found a seemingly endless selection of routes through evergreens on pitches that allowed us to play to our heart's content.

Go the other way off Tesuque Peak and you have three dazzling choices: Gayway, a wide, intermediate cruiser, is naturally groomed by the prevailing winds; North Burn offers a natural terrain park filled with obstacles remaining from a major forest fire; and Big Tesuque Bowl, presents a true out-of-bounds challenge that graduates from open space to tight trees and ends on the access road about five miles below the base lodge.

Ski Santa Fe has it all. It offers every conceivable form of downhill sliding terrain—from perfectly manicured intermediate highways and approachable bump runs, to off-piste slams and the winding, giggle-inducing, kids-only Adventure Land. It's a true local ski area with a locals' feel. The base lodge is modern but unpretentious. There's no slopeside development. Moms and dads drop off juniors for the day. College students rip it up after classes. But nearly half the visitors arrive from as far away as Europe, adding just the right measure of destination feeling.

And, it's pure; the hill, based at 10,300 feet and topping out at 12,003 feet stands nearly 5,000 feet above human clutter. The resort has 550 acres and 43 trails, 20 percent of which are beginner, 40 percent intermediate, and 40 percent advanced. If you need a room, find it in town—a 20-minute drive away. A town, by the way, that was founded 13 years before the Pilgrims landed. And, while you're down there, you can augment your skiing with visits to hundreds of gourmet restaurants, superb lodging, a hearty and healthy arts community, eight museums and 19 nearby Pueblos. It's a completely unique combination of culture and recreation.

Ski Santa Fe
Phone Number:
Accommodations: 800-776-7669
Web Site:

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 8 Nov 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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