Let it snow in New Mexico: Make the most of the State's Spring Skiing
Red River Ski Area
In the small town of Red River you could draw a line where the old West meets Bavaria: Saloons, trading posts and steak houses vie with German-style markets and lodges for your attention. But let’s not forget the main Bavarian influence — the Red River Ski Area, which makes up for it’s smaller size (1,600 vertical feet over 57 runs) with variety. Take the kids on a tour of the Moon Star Mining Camp, go tubing, snowshoeing, or enjoy an evening snowmobile tour to the top of the mountain, followed by dinner on the peak.
For more advanced skiers, 30% of the mountain is rated expert, and because Red River tends to attract a lot of families, these runs tend to be seldom skied on, meaning more fresh snow for you. Just be careful about venturing too far into the trees off of Bad Medicine though — while it may look inviting, a few of the skiers in the group I was with, myself included, got lost and had to hike for 30 minutes to get out.
But the true highlight to Red River is definitely the old mining town itself, which is centred around the mountain — no matter where you are on the main strip, you’re never more than 1,200 ft away from a ski lift. Here, bars and restaurants seem to outnumber any other type of business, making for an incredibly lively après-ski scene, which kicks off at the Lift House (redriverskiarea.com/lifthousebargrill) the minute the runs close. It’s a great place to try New Mexico’s Happy Camper India Pale Ale, a citrusy, hoppy craft beer that’s perfect for after a long day of skiing.
If you happen to be at the Lift House at 7 p.m. on a Saturday, grab a seat on the patio and watch the weekly torchlight parade down the face of the mountain, followed by a fireworks show. After that, head over to Texas Reds steakhouse (texasreds.com) for a very non-vegetarian meal, or just grab a drink, crack some peanut shells onto the floor and listen to the live band perform an array of country classics.