Long rides, day or night
Skiing is happening in Angel Fire this year, but everything is changing due to COVID-19 precautions. The ski industry is rocking and rolling in developing approaches to physically distanced lift mazes, chairlift limits, frequent sanitation protocols and much more, all according to the State of New Mexico Department of Health mandates.
Per the state’s mask requirement: All individuals shall wear a mask or multilayer cloth face covering in public settings except when eating, drinking or swimming. This includes all Angel Fire Resort premises.
Helmets nowadays typically include full face shields and neck gators are almost ubiquitous to snow sports enthusiasts, so being masked in winter is a no-brainer. Off the hill, people just have to be sure to have masks at the ready when moving between restaurants and in other public areas.
If 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. Terrain includes 50 acres of groomed trails as well as the Night Rider terrain park.The sun is still up at 4 p.m. when it opens, but the darker it gets, the more the temperature drops. Dress in layers and bring hand and toe warmers since extremities are first to get cold. The best skiing is often during a snowstorm because clouds tend to trap the heat.
Wear goggles with a clear or yellow lens for best visibility and take it slow, because it’s more difficult to see people or objects.
Ski school, family snow play
Also big hits if the governor OKs it are the five-lane tubing hill, a family snow play hill for sledding outside the country club, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Though not set in stone, ski school and free mountain tours may still go on with COVID protocols. If so, expect temperature screenings and answering questions about symptoms, known exposure, etc. Ski tours offer experienced, local guides teaching how the resort was born, Wild West legends and more. You must be an intermediate skier for the tours.
If finally approved, groups and lessons will be limited in number and physically distanced per state mandates yet to be issued.
Tickets and passes are typically booked online at angelfire.com or by phone, call Mountain Reservations at (844) 218-4107.
On mountain eats
Physically distanced eats and patio dining is available if the state allows. Angel Fire offers everything from pizza to fine dining pickup and takeout, such as at Angel Fire Resort’s Elements.
There’s convenient free parking in three large, nearby parking lots (Green, Blue and Black) with free shuttles during the winter to and from the base area of the ski mountain and the Nordic Center.
Besides skiing, Angel Fire has snowmobile tours, horse-drawn sleigh rides, Olympic Park family snowman-building or a good old-fashioned snowball fight.
Visit the unique shops and ski shops for 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 and food.
For more details about Angel Fire winter rates, lift ticket pricing, trails and reservations, visit angelfireresort.com or call (800) 633-7463.
Be assured, Angel Fire Resort is practicing all social and physical distancing guidelines and implementing new cleaning and sterilizing protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 while keeping activity offerings accessible, the resort says online. “As we open back up to our valued guests, we kindly remind everyone to enjoy Angel Fire Family Resort with social distancing measures and abide by new health and safety guidelines posted throughout the resort and on our website at angelfireresort.com.”
Opening Day: Dec. 11, 2020
Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks: Dec. 25, 2020
New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade and Fireworks: Dec. 31, 2020
Mardi Gras: Feb. 14, 2021
Spring Break: March 6-13, 2021
Closing Day: March 21, 2021
Base elevation: 8,600 feet
Peak elevation: 10,677 feet
Vertical drop: 2,077 feet
Average annual snowfall: 210 inches
Average winter high temperatures: 34 degrees Fahrenheit
Average days sunlight: 300+
Terrain parks: 3
Number of trails: 80+; 21 percent beginner, 56 percent intermediate, 23 percent advanced; 560+ acres.
Nordic Center: 12km of terrain for snowshoeing, classic and skate skiing; 5 trails: 1 beginner, 2 intermediate, 2 advanced.
Lifts: 2 high-speed quads; 3 doubles; 2 surface.
Snowmaking capabilities: 52 percent of mountain; 90 percent of beginner terrain
Lift hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Night skiing hours: 4 p.m.-8 p.m., weekends and holiday peak periods, weather permitting.
Information: (800) 633-7463; angelfireresort.com