Winter in the Pines
Just over the snow-capped peaks, past the deep frozen valleys, and across the untouched plains to the east lies Angel Fire. 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.”
Today, the majesty of Angel Fire remains its hallmark, as it has for thousands of years. But the area has also become a destination for families to venture out in the snow. Descending into the Moreno Valley, travelers know they are in for an amazing time at a winter paradise.
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.
The popular family-friendly destination opens this season on Dec. 16. It now boasts 80 Alpine trails and seven lifts, plus more than 12km of groomed cross country and snowshoeing trails at the Nordic Center. 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. Sleds and discs may be rented at the Nordic Center
To confirm hours of operation, call the Nordic Center at 575-377-4488.
Average annual snowfall: 210 inches Average days of sunshine: 300+ Base elevation: 8,600 feet Summit elevation: 10,677 feet Vertical drop: 2,077 feet