McLennan_Angel Fire winter14_0072

Photo Credit: McLennan/Angel Fire Resort

When it comes to planning a skiing vacation for families, people automatically look at Colorado and Utah without hesitation. And, for the last few years, I did too. That is, until I visited Angel Fire Resort in northern New Mexico and discovered the perfect family ski resort was right under my nose.

DestinationReviewAngel Fire Resort has an average snowfall of 17.5 feet and 76 runs for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. It’s a day’s drive from most Texas and Oklahoma cities or a 3-hour drive from the Albuquerque airport. Angel Fire Resort has a cozy lodge or vacation rentals, perfect for any sized-family.

What makes Angel Fire Resort great for families?

Family Skiing at Angel Fire Resort

Angel Fire Resort is small and quaint, with an at-home feel to it that can get lost at some of the larger ski resorts. With one main base area, it’s easy to figure out the mountain quickly and you feel very comfortable allowing your older kids to explore on their own. It’s big enough to have a variety of runs, but small enough to have a secure feel to it. There is one main quad chair lift to take you to the summit; from there, you can play on the backside (with several greens, blues, and blacks to choose from) or you can take the three-mile scenic run down to the base.

Angel Fire Resort

Photo Credit: Rebecca Darling/Texas TravelingMom

And for those interested in a bit of a challenge, Angel Fire Resort opened a new terrain park, this year. The Railyard offers boxes, rails, and jumps that are perfect for the beginner skier and snowboarder. And night skiing is available on weekends and holidays.

Angel Fire Resort is also affordable. Starting this year, they offer a Family Season Pass – $1,299 for a family of up to six, for unlimited skiing and snowboarding. Kids 6 and younger ski free, and fifth-graders ski free – they have to show a report card and be with a paying adult. And I was very impressed with the Parenting Pass they offer. This interchangeable pass allows two parents to enjoy skiing for the price of one. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay with the children while the other parent skis, and then they can switch. Angel Fire is one of few ski resorts that offer this perk.

Angel Fire Resort Ski & Ride School

Angel Fire Resort Ski School

Photo Credit: Rebecca Darling/Texas TravelingMom

The Ski & Ride School has several impressive components that set it apart from most other ski schools I have participated in. While class sized ratios (4:1 but less most times) and time on snow ( at least 5+ hours) are impressive, it was the attention to details that impressed me the most.

The school at Angel Fire Resort uses a GPS technology that allows them to track every single student on the mountain at all times. Instructors also have an alert system in place when they become too far away from their students. At the end of the day, parents can see all the runs their child has done.

Instructors keep detailed notes on every student to ensure they are in the right class level each day and these notes are kept year after year so students can have a progressive experience each time they come to school. Child can earn virtual badges for fun tasks that they can accomplish while at ski school, making it a fun experience for the kids too.

A day’s worth of instruction includes snacks & meals and they have a dedicated chef that focuses on nutritious comfort foods, taking into consideration individual children’s allergies and dislikes.

Ski School is offered for kids as young as 3 years old. The 3 Ski Program, specifically for 3-year-olds is a full day program that includes a short private lesson, lunch, snacks and Snowbear Camp. Not just for the kids, the ski school offers the High Five Learn to Ski and Ride Program. First-time skiers and boarders that are 13 and older can take five lessons and earn a free season pass. Lessons can be taken consecutively, on different visits, or even split between two seasons.

Other Snow Activities at Angel Fire Resort

Nordic Skiing at Angel Fire Resort

Photo Credit: Rebecca Darling/Texas TravelingMom

Angel Fire Resort offers so much more than just downhill skiing and snowboarding for the family. Over at the Nordic Center, cross-country skiing, skating and snowshoeing are offered with over 15K of groomed trails that wind around the golf course. Guests can take a lesson or rent the equipment and explore on their own. The Nordic Center also has a fun sledding hill for kids 13 and under with a variety of sleds to play on.

The Polar Coaster is located at the base of the mountain. Rides down this fast, downhill tubing course are included with your lift ticket. No need to tire yourself out going up & down this one, the coaster has a 700 ft conveyor belt to take you back to the top. Endless family fun can be had zooming down this hill.

Family Friendly Town

Angel Fire itself is a lovely town that seems to welcome visitors with open arms. Not only did we find friendly service and helpful people at the Resort, but the people who live and work in Angel Fire were genuinely friendly. We enjoyed dinner at PUB ‘n Grub one night where the staff not only recommend yummy food, but gave us great advice on skiing the next day.

Angel Fire Resort offers several fun events throughout the winter season that are fun for the whole family. The first weekend of February marks the annual Shovel Races & Winter Carnival. Don’t know what a shovel race is? (Don’t worry, I didn’t either) Try flying down the slopes on nothing more than a shovel. I would love to see these races. In March, Angel Fire Resort will have fun themed days, live music, contests, a large air bag, and more for their Spring Break Celebration.

Going back to the size, you can feel the wholesome, family atmosphere across this cozy town every where you go. And with mountain biking, hiking, a zipline at the summit, fishing and more during the summer, Angel Fire is not just a winter town. Next time you plan your winter vacation, take a look at Angel Fire Resort – it’s a fantastic vacation location for families.