Grooming, Snow Conditions
Crowds, Ticket Prices, Lack of High Speed Lifts
Ski Santa Fe is an area that has quite a bit of potential but that is held back by the owners. This area draws the biggest crowds in New Mexico and charges $69 for an all day lift ticket, so you would think that the money could be put into the mountain...not always the case.
First the mountain...the high elevation helps Ski Santa Fe get some of the highest snow totals in New Mexico, and also helps keep the snow good long after the storm. The grooming staff is some of the best around, making sure that the snow is always good on the groomers and never icy. When it's been weeks since the last storm and even Parachute and Muerte aren't icy, you know they're doing something right.
The biggest complaint people will have about this area is the quad lift...it's a disgrace. If you charge $69 a day to ski on 600 acres, you must have at least one high speed detachable lift. The quad as it is stops a lot due to beginners falling when loading and unloading. There is plenty of terrain off of this lift for them, so upgrading the lift to make it easier for them is a must. If Wolf Creek can charge $58 a day and manage to install their 2nd detachable lift this year, Santa Fe can get one.
The other problem with the mountain is how the layout funnels people into one area. On crowded days, it's downright hazardous. The layout forces the ski patrol to be extra strict in speed enforcement. It's a downer to have them whistling all the time, but it is necessary to keep people safe.
The upper mountain terrain is great for intermediate to advanced skiers. Whether you like steep groomers or bumps, there is something for you up there. For beginners, the lower mountain is very gentle and is a great place to learn.
As far as the lodge goes, the lodge expansion completed last season was needed and is a huge upgrade. The new locker room is nice, but putting in token lockers was cheap and is a pain...how about the nice all day lockers like are found at Durango? They're bigger and allow easy all day access. The food upstairs has gotten better, but there is still room for improvement. The expanded dining area is a huge upgrade.
Parking...it sucks. The lot is pretty spread out due to terrain limitations. There is a shuttle, but one morning when I had to park pretty far out the parking attendant said the shuttle was still warming up and it would be a half hour before it would be running. No excuse for this, you have to be ready for your customers when they arrive.
All of the staff I have interacted with this year have been great. This is something they were getting knocked for several years ago in reviews, and the difference in the attitudes of the staff is remarkable. Ski Santa Fe gets five stars now for customer service.
In conclusion, this is a good area that is close to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, but you pay for the convenience without getting a whole lot in return. If the owners would put more profits into the mountain they could get this area to 5 stars easily.