A mountain’s glow
With views that include Touch-Me-Not, Baldy, Wheeler Peak (highest in the state), Eagle Nest Lake and the Moreno Valley, Angel Fire Resort features expansive, long trails — 2,077 feet vertical feet means you can ski for some time before you must get on a lift again.
Roy and G.F. LeBus laid the foundation for Angel Fire in 1955 and the resort opened for skiing in the winter of 1966. Many skiers were transported up the mountain that year with a Thiokol Sprite snowcat. The world-famous shovel races had their inception when workers rode grain scoops down the hill at day’s end. The first formal competition was in 1979.
The resort has expanded the ski season seven days with an opening date of Dec. 14, closing on March 24. Several of the past winters have seen the best snow later into the season. As long as the powder continues, and the weather cooperates the resort plans to stay open the additional week.
Angel Fire Resort was named “America’s Most Affordable Ski Town” by realtor.com and ranked a Top 25 “Best Family Ski Resort in North America” by Dream Vacations Magazine.
Do you live to ride? Angel Fire Resort offers New Mexico’s only night skiing and snowboarding on weekends and holidays from 4 to 8 p.m. on the front side of the mountain. Tickets are only $12 with a same-day ticket or $24 without. Terrain includes 50 acres of groomed trails as well as the Night Rider terrain park.
If the kids still have energy to burn at the end of the standard daytime session, night skiing is a great way to let them do it. Is also a great way for grownups to get more slope time. The sun is still up at 4 p.m. when it opens but remember, the darker it gets, the more the temperature drops. Night skiing is cold. Dress in layers and bring hand and toe warmers since extremities are usually the first to get cold. Wear goggles with a clear or yellow lens to get the best visibility. Also, because it can prove difficult to see people or objects, take it slow and always watch your surroundings. The best skiing is often during a snowstorm because the temperature tends to be warmer because of the clouds.
Sunset Private Lessons are available during night skiing with special discounted rates for skiers and snowboarders singly or in small groups up to four of similar ability. To book, call Mountain Reservations at 844-218-4107.
This season marks upgraded snowmaking adding new snow guns to Headin’ Home, one of the longest and most popular runs. The mountain operations team is adding more permanent stick guns to the backside trails such as Hallelujah, that will make snowmaking operations more efficient and will allow for a better “throw” resulting in better coverages. The resort is also adding another state-of-the-art fan gun that specializes in making large amounts of snow over greater distances. The additional equipment will allow the resort to open more runs earlier in the season.
Angel Fire Resort continues improvements to its full-service Children’s Ski School and on-site daycare for children age 1 and older, known as Snow Bear Camp. Several programs are in place to help parents get the most of their time on the slopes while their children are actively engaged in learning to ski and board, making new friends and having fun. For programs and special passes, visit angelfireresort.com or call 800-633-7463.
Last season, Angel Fire Resort opened a new hike-to-access black diamond trail named C-4, in what was previously out-of-bounds territory north of the ski mountain. C-4 is a new 9-acre challenge with a 1,000-foot vertical drop for the expert skier and a must-hit on a bluebird sky powder day. From the top of the Southwest Flyer quad chairlift, skiers and snowboarders will need to hike for 15 minutes to reach this isolated trail, which opens when snow conditions allow. Additionally, skiers and snowboarders can enter the black diamond trails Nitro, Detonator and Baa-Da-Bing via the same hike-to-access as the C-4 run, which all descend into the Back Basin.
Thrill seekers can also check out four advanced glade areas (or treed trails) totaling 30 acres; and, under the direction of terrain park designer Jon Eppler, Angel Fire Resort’s three parks — Liberation Park at the summit for advanced boarders, beginner park Sweet Street and Night Rider (a combination of small- and medium-size features) — will be expanded with new or improved features and jumps. Eppler, who has created parks for major events including The Winter X-Games and The Burton U.S. Open. New this year is a boarder cross/skier cross course including high berms, sweeping turns, and small, medium and large rollers.
Besides skiing and boarding, Angel Fire Resort also has a large selection of non-ski family activities including a tubing hill (the Polar Coaster complete with a 700-foot surface lift to take the hiking out of tubing), a traditional sledding hill, indoor pools and a hot tub. As conditions permit, the tubing hill is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tubing is offered in 1-hour blocks and is $25 per person.
A full Nordic Center offers rentals and lessons for classic and skate styles and snowshoe hiking. Additionally, in the Village of Angel Fire, horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice fishing and snowmobiling are also available.
After all of that adventure, food and drink come to mind. Angel Fire has that covered, too, from pizza to fine dining, such as Angel Fire Resort’s Elements. Elements, located in the Country Club, has been recognized by Wine Spectator for its world-class wine selection.
Angel Fire Resort offers convenient free parking in three large, nearby parking lots (Green, Blue and Black) with free shuttles during the winter season to and from the base area of the ski mountain. Shuttles also stop at designated condominium stops. There is a $1 per ride fee (cash only) for each pick-up and drop-off at these stops or for greater convenience, purchase a 12-trip punch card for $10 at The Lodge’s front desk or from the shuttle driver.
Free shuttles are also offered from The Lodge to the Country Club during the winter season with a daily shuttle to the Country Club Nordic Center.
Angel Fire features unique shops and ski shops where you’ll find ski clothing, gear and accessories, souvenirs, T-shirts and sweats, women’s ready-to-wear and fine arts and crafts, bath luxuries, liquor, snacks, espresso, food … you name it.
Need a place to rest? Angel Fire Resort offers winter lodging accommodations at the Lodge, located at the base of the ski mountain, private home rentals and at the luxury RV Resort. For more information on the RV Resort go to angelfirervresort.com.
Season: Dec. 14, 2018-March 24, 2019
Lift Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; 5-8 p.m. for night skiing (on weekends and holidays)
Base elevation: 8,600 feet
Summit elevation: 10,677 feet
Vertical drop: 2,077 feet
Average annual snowfall: 210 inches
Terrain parks: 3
81 trails: 21 percent beginner, 56 percent intermediate, 23 percent advanced
Skiable acres: More than 560
Nordic Center: 12km of terrain for classic and skate skiing and snowshoeing; 5 trails: 1 beginner, 2 intermediate, 2 advanced
Lifts: 2 high-speed quads, 3 doubles, 2 Sunkid Wondercarpets (one public, one Ski School access only)
Glade skiing: 4 glade (or tree trail) areas totaling 30 acres. All are designated as advanced terrain.
Snowmaking capabilities: 52 percent of mountain, 90 percent of beginner terrain
Night skiing hours: 5-8 p.m. (weather permitting, this is available on weekends and holiday peak periods).
Dec. 14: Opening Day
Dec. 15-16: Winter Demo Daze
Dec. 24: Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade (6 p.m.)/Ski and board with Santa
Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade, 6 p.m.
Jan. 1-6, 2019: Winter Carnival, a family-friendly event. In addition to skiing and tubing there will be face painting, giant yard games, tray tobogganing, live music and karaoke.
Jan. 19, 2019: Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour. This event brings inspiration and education about important issues to audiences around the world. The tour will soon return to the Angel Fire RV Resort with documentary films that will explore the themes connected to Mountainfilm’s mission of using the power of film, art and ideas to inspire audiences to create a better world.
Feb. 8-9, 2019: World Championship Shovel Races. The 40th World Championships are open to anyone with a basic snow shovel and some nerve. Competitors sit on the scoop of a standard aluminum snow shovel, handle pointed downhill, then lift their hands and feet. Gravity does the rest. Top speeds regularly exceed 60 mph. The high-speed race draws racers and spectators from all over the world.
Feb. 21-24, 2019: Military Winterfest. Active duty, retired, National Guard, Reserve, Vets, Gold Star and their families are invited to visit Angel Fire for six days of indoor and outdoor and adaptive winter activities, with a special appearance by former U.S. Army Gold Knight and Double Amputee Dana Bowman as he parachutes into the resort, and an honorary military fly-by. Visit veteranswellnessandhealing.org for more details.
March 1-5, 2019: Celebrate Mardi Gras in Angel Fire with live music, parades, daily special activities and a masquerade ball.
March 8-17, 2019: Spring Break Country Fest
March 23, 2019: 2nd Annual Downhill Chilly Bike Challenge, an epic downhill bike race on the snow. Start Super D style, head down Heading Home trail to Exhibition where racers will finish.
March 24, 2019: Closing Day
For more details about Angel Fire event times, winter rates, lift ticket pricing, trails and reservations visit angelfireresort.com or call 800-633-7463.
“The Teacher Pass”
Angel Fire Resort is offering a heavily discounted, full-season ski pass of $99 to all teachers K-12 through Dec. 13.
The Teacher Pass is designed to thank educators for the work they do with students by offering an affordable ski experience throughout the 2018-2019 season. The game-changing pass is a first of its kind in the industry as it is the first discounted season pass that has been offered exclusively for today’s educators. No blackout dates.
While The Teacher Pass can be purchased online now, teachers will need to present their ID and a current pay stub from a school anywhere in the country to validate the pass on their first day of use. Additionally, The Teacher Pass may be purchased at the ticket window once the ski season has started. The Teacher Pass is not eligible to be a part of The Powder Alliance Pass program.
For more information and to purchase The Teacher Pass visit angelfireresort.com/activities/winter-activities/skiing-and-snowboarding/season-passes/.