When someone says the word New Mexico thoughts of amazing cuisine, beautiful architecture, and a serene desert landscape present themselves. Skiing and/or snowboarding typically don’t cross ones mind when discussing the “Land of Enchantment.” But with this winter being classified as a monster El Nino, New Mexico should be at the top of the list.
Of course you can head to Taos, that’s a given, but why not do something a little different? How about treading a bit further off the beaten path and check out a place that isn’t on most snow hound’s radars? Where is this…Ski Santa Fe. Seventeen miles outside the town of Santa Fe, it’s not be the biggest or snowiest resort in the country but in a winter like this the snow is pretty much a guarantee. Add five star quality food, culture over 400 years old and views you’ve never seen before this is a great option when skiing or riding the southwest!
With a base of 10,350 feet and vistas of over 12,750 feet the altitude alone might take your breath away, but if not the scenery definitely will. On an average year Sante Fe is known to have over 300 days of sunshine, so there is a very good chance you’ll get to see the panoramic view west across the vast high desert of northern New Mexico and north along the forested spine of the Sangre de Cristos. The altitude also helps keep the snow in good condition and the grooming crew makes sure that every morning the trails have perfect corduroy to carve! The 660 acres and 1,700 vertical feet may not sound massive, but when it snows almost every acre of it is rideable. This ski area is definitely fun and has a lot to offer with over 77 runs for all levels, but the entire trip shouldn’t just be focused on doing laps. Add a dash of adventure and seek out not only the skiing, but also the other things this area has to offer.
One of the Oldest Cities in North America
If you do head to Ski Santa Fe you’ll be lodging down in the capital of New Mexico. This city was founded in 1610 in the foothills of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains as a Spanish colony. Over the years this city has grown but it has kept its Pueblo-Style Architecture and winding narrow streets that make this city different than any other place in the country. There are many amazing historical things to see, like at its center sits the Palace of the Governors. Built in the early 17th century as the seat of government for Spain. This structure is the oldest continuously occupied public building in America. Buildings like this dot the landscape and are definitely worth the time to check out after you’re finished shredding the mountain for the day.
New Mexican Cuisine
So there is a ton to see and do in Santa Fe but what about the food? If you’ve read our El Nino post found here then you know that New Mexico is home to its own style of cuisine that is a fusion of Mediterranean, Pueblo Native American, Mexican, and Cowboy Chuckwagon. With ingredients like blue corn and chiles being a staple of this area you KNOW you are in for a treat. Even the official question of the state of New Mexico is “red or green?” which relates to the type of chile you want on your food. Don’t worry the New Mexican style chile is typically not a very hot chile so it won’t burn your face off like a ghost pepper. So, what restaurants should you try if you do end up in Santa Fe?
For something a bit fancier and out of the ordinary this restaurant might be your ticket. Mark Kiffen, the owner of Compound was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as the Best Chef of the Southwest. With a menu that changes seasonally based on ingredients that can be obtained regionally and an influence from the south-west and Mediterranean cuisines this restaurant is for the “foodie” that wants to celebrate a powder day up on the hill.
- Address: 635 Canyon Road
- Phone: +1 505 982 4353
- Hours: Open Mon-Sat noon-2pm (lunch), daily 6pm-to close (dinner), bar opens at 5pm
If you’re looking for authentic New Mexican cuisine done right then this is your spot. It might not be downtown, but it’s worth the drive to have the blue corn enchilada’s and some tasty tequila to go along with it. With over 300 types of tequila you’ll find one that fits your pallete to go along with the amazing cuisine. Heck, you may even see a celebrity or a local artist passing through.
- Address: 555 West Cordova Road
- Phone: +1 505 983 7929
- Hours: Open daily Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun noon-10pm
We all love to partake in some Tequila, but what if you want to enjoy a good craft beer in Santa Fe? If so, then head over to Second Street Brewery. Started in 1996 it has grown so much over the years that they now have two locations. The grub that goes along with the brews is amazing as well.
- Address: 607 Paseo de Peralta 10
- Phone: +1 505 989 3278,
- Hours: Open Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun noon-9pm
This is only a mere sampling of the massive selection of restaurants available in the city of Santa Fe. From Tomasita’s for breakfast to the Shed for red and green chile covered chicken dishes you’ll fall in love with this town not just for it’s food but its charm as well.
Ojo Caliente – A Hot Spring that isn’t like any other one in the world
After many days of hitting the mountain your body will be sore, tired, and need of a little bit of rest and relaxation. About 50 miles down the road lies Ojo Caliente. Deemed sacred by indigenous Native Americans of Northern New Mexico, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs has been a gathering place and a source of healing for hundreds, even thousands of years. Set in a 1916 mission-style building, it is considered the oldest hot spring resort in the country and home to the world’s only hot springs with four kinds of mineral waters. It might be a bit far to stay there for the entire trip, but its well worth a day trip this tranquil location.
When to go
March is the best time to hit Ski Santa Fe for a guarantee to have maximum coverage and the highest probability of one of the legendary storms brewing up from the Gulf of Mexico that can sit over the Sangre De Cristo range and just nuke on them for days. But, if you are looking for something a bit more exotic then heading to Santa Fe over Christmas is definitely when you want to be there.
Seeing all the pueblos covered in Farolitos is a sight to behold. Originated from Spanish Merchants, Farolitos or luminarias are made from brown paper bags weighted down with sand and illuminated from within by a lit candle. These are typically arranged in rows to create large and elaborate displays. It isn’t like anything else in the world especially if there is a blanket of snow covering the city.
Like the Spanish explorers that founded the capital of Santa Fe. Both the city and Ski Santa Fe are a perfect combination for someone looking for adventure, beauty, and a great deal of culture along with their ski trip.