One thing families can be assured of not finding at New Mexico Red River Ski Area: Crowds.
On a recent visit there we were giddy with delight at having the slopes practically to ourselves. Locals say that while weekends can get busy, the weekdays are an ideal time for families seeking elbow room on groomed trails and in small ski classes.
In fact, during our mid-week trip in January, we had the pleasure of skiing with locals who seemed eager to show us around this charming resort situated at the top of New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle in the Southern Rockies.
We discovered that Red River is a small, unassuming town (about 500 residents) proud of its family-owned ski resort. Nothing fancy, just a happy place where people come to have a good time on and off the slopes. The Mountain has half a dozen old -school lifts that service 57 trails, of which only 30 percent are for experts. That means most of the mountain is ideal for cruising on long runs from top (at over 10,000 feet) to bottom and through aspen-lined trails under mostly blue skies.
Kids love skiing through Moonstar Mining Camp, which is a replica of a mining town. Nearby, there’s also a rustic, open-air chapel where resort manager Laura Judycki House and her husband, Tim, were married.
Red River’s terrain parks are maintained daily and offer skiers and riders challenging elements. With short lift lines we got in a lot of skiing and by day’s end, I was ready to ski the short but steep mountain face. Red River’s amenities include ski and snowboard classes for kids and adults. Lift tickets; $65 adults, $59 teens and $49 ages 4 – 12.
Snow Coach Dinner Tour
A trip highlight was a twilight ride up to the mountain top inside a toasty warm snowcat – decked out for comfort, (hence, the name snow coach) – for an exquisite dinner at Tip Restaurant. On that evening, we were the only ones in the restaurant and were pampered by Chef Kai Dunbar, a food and beverage manager whom we also skied with during our stay since these lucky guys get to ski when they’re not working!
The Menu: you get a choice of salmon or steak.
We opted for the garlic stuffed blackened ribeye with a white wine green chili cream sauce, served with salad, rosemary roasted red potatoes and garlic roasted parmesan green beans. The cost of $70 per person was well worth it. There’s also a children’s menu with chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese.
This photo shows the interior of the snow coach, which is a snowcat outfitted with cushioned seats and heat!
Where to Eat
Grab breakfast at the Main Chalet and Cafeteria, also open for lunch. Located near the beginner hill, the spacious restaurant has many long tables, making it a convenient gathering place for families. For lunch or après ski, the Lift House Bar & Grill is the happening place. On weekends, there’s live music. Enjoy green chili stew, Frito pie, tacos and burgers while watching skiers speed down the face of the mountain. To warm up and relax after a day of skiing we indulged in a little shot ski (six shot glasses secured on a ski).
Where to Sleep
Red River has many condos within walking distance of the slopes. We stayed in the Caribel Condos, located one block from the nearest chair lift. The condos have fully equipped kitchens and gas fireplaces. The photo on the left shows our view from our condo.
Los Angeles TravelingMom, Mimi Slawoff, writes a monthly family travel column for L.A. Parent magazine and freelances for various publications and websites. Follow her travels on Twitter @mimitravelz.