Angel Fire

Just over the snow-capped peaks, past the deep, frozen valleys, and across the untouched plains to the east lies Angel Fire.

Courtesy Angel Fire Resort

Appropriately named by the nomadic Moache Utes who congregated there in the spring and fall to renew their ancestral ties with the Great Spirit, Angel Fire has been known for centuries as a place unlike any other; a place to find heaven on Earth. When the Utes looked up from their valley home at the flickering sun radiating from the tip of Agua Fría (Cold Water) Peak, they labeled the place the “fire of the gods.”

Courtesy Angel Fire Resort

Today, the majesty of Angel Fire remains its hallmark, as it has for thousands of years. But the area has also become a place for families to come and relax and have some fun in the snow. Descending into the Moreno Valley, travelers know they are in for an amazing time at a winter paradise.

The fun

The popular family-friendly destination opens this season on Dec. 10. It now boasts 80 Alpine trails and seven lifts, plus more than 12km of groomed cross-country and snowshoeing trails at the Nordic Center.

Courtesy Angel Fire Resort/Chris McLennan

For advanced skiers the Bear, Elk, Shane’s and Eagle glades comprise the four tree-trail areas covering 30 acres.

In addition to skiing and boarding, Angel Fire is an excellent tubing choice. Dubbed the Polar Coaster, this four-lane groomed tubing hill sends riders down 1,000 feet of sliding bliss. There is also a family snow play hill for sledding just outside the Country Club. A single sledding hill pass is $8 per person. Sleds and discs may be rented at the Nordic Center for $10-$15. Sledding is available Friday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and daily during peak periods in December and March (conditions permitting). To confirm hours of operation, call the Nordic Center at (575) 377-4488.

Angel Fire is the only resort in the state to offer nighttime skiing, tubing, sledding and boarding.

The history

Courtesy Angel Fire Resort

Roving Franciscan friars, with the aim of converting the area’s American Indians, transposed the moniker into “the place of the fire of angels.” Arriving to the area in the mid-1800s was Lucien B. Maxwell , the largest land grant owner in U.S. history, hoards of trappers and Spaniards — many of whom bore witness to the unique glow. Frontiersman Kit Carson is credited with conceiving the name “Angel Fire” in 1845.

The idea for the Angel Fire Ski Resort was born in the mid-1960s during an unassuming, typical family Sunday dinner. Wichita Falls, Kansas, transplant and cattle rancher George LeBus made the comment to his father, Roy, that they should install a tow rope on their 25,000 acre spread in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range so they wouldn’t have to drive so far to enjoy one of their favorites pastimes — skiing. Roy ran with the idea.

By the winter of 1967, Roy LeBus’ vision of a ski resort became a reality. A community sprang up around the ski area and the Angel Fire Chamber of Commerce was founded in December 1982. The town was incorporated as the Village of Angel Fire in 1986.

Winter events

Due to COVID and the uncertainty of the pandemic, dates and times for resort events had not been released at print time. Check angelfireresort.com for updated details.

Past events have included: Pictures with Santa, Ski & Snowboard with The Clauses, Family Fun Fest, USASA Giant Slalom Race (snowboard only), Member Moonlight Dinner and Ride, Winter Carnival, Super Bowl Party at Legends Grill, Annual Military Winter Fest, USASA Jedi Challenge Ski Cross and Boardercross, and Mardis Gras.