Im writing this review as a sign of gratitude to the place that nurtured my skiing ability and taught me to truly love this winter activity. The ski area in Santa Fe has always been at the crossroads of trying to figure out if it’s the small, local place with a strong connection to its loyal ski fans or a big-time resort in the making so that it can attract more of the zombie legions from the lone star state. This has made development of the area a touchy subject that every local skier feels strongly about whether he or she sits on one side of the issue or the other. For the sake of disclosure, I think Santa Fe is big enough and shouldn’t attempt to draw more people than the natural area is able to support. Nothing short of turning Santa Fe ski area into a Keystone or Breckenridge will change the notorious overcrowding mentioned in other reviews, and the natural layout of the ski area is simply not amenable to those changes.
Enough rambling about internal matters, here’s what the visitor needs to know. Santa Fe is a small-medium sized ski area that can be crowded and have long lift-line waits for terrain that’s classified as blue and green. Those of you coming to santa fe as a family intent on learning to ski might have a frustrating experience, especially around the holidays. Im not trying to discourage you completely from coming here, but you’ve been warned. Fortunately, the difficult terrain on the upper mountain is far less overrun. The triple and millenium chairs offer access to some of the most challenging steeps Ive skied (Columbine chutes, big rocks, etc.). If you’re a good skier and in shape (remember the altitude), Santa Fe is a worthy destination in a good snow year. Chat it up with a local while on the chair and he or she might show you some of the stuff not on the trail map as well as take you off-track down Big-T. Again, the key thing to note is that every season is hit or miss in terms of snow. Be sure they have it before you go there. Also, if you’re a class A-one hot-dogger (meaning skier, not snowboarder) don’t forget a day or two up at Taos Ski Valley while youre in NM (only 2 hours by car). Another thing to remember about Santa Fe is that it has great Apres-ski. If the skiing doesn’t work out, at least get crazy at the Cowgirl bar and eat lots of green chile!