Terrian, Snow, Lack of Crowds, Home Town Atmosphere
Lack of good beginner terrian
Pajarito Mountain is truly a hidden gem in New Mexico. This area is not all that well known outside of Los Alamos, and unheard of to most from outside of New Mexico. This is noted by the lack of crowds here. There's almost never a lift line, the runs are always uncrowded, and parking is close by.
For being such an unkown area, Pajarito has some of the best terrain around. Fast groomers, and great bumps! When the snowfall is good, the snow stays good, with a base at 9,000 ft and most of the slopes facing due north! While there is not a huge variation in the runs, there is a definate progression in the difficulty of the runs.
The one thing that is lacking here is good, advanced beginner terrain. The step up from the beginner hill up to Lone Spruce is pretty drastic (Lone Spruce is only rated a green due to the fact that it is very wide, and is marked as a slow skiing run; it would be rated a blue almost anywhere else due to the pitch). Most other skiiers will find plenty of variety to keep themselves entertained!
As for the lodge, the food in the cafe is pretty good, and reasonably priced for a ski area. The wait for grill orders can be pretty lengthy on Saturdays though. The Saturday beer & band series is a great touch, and hats off to management for bringing in some great local breweries for the apres ski!
If you are looking for nightlife, stay at the Buffalo Thunder resort, about 20 miles away. It has all the casino entertainment you'll need! The drive up from there is pretty quick and easy.
If you are looking for fancy base lodging, you are looking at the wrong area. Pajartio Mountain is owned by the not-for-profit Los Alamos Ski Club, and the locals take great pride in their mountain. They welcome skiiers and boarders from out of town with open arms, as they understand that the ski area needs them for its own survival. If you are in the area, come check out Pajarito Mountain!