[R346R, Ski Santa Fe] may sit timid in the shadows of its world-famous neighbor [R454R, Taos], but local skiers laugh off the anonymity. They make the 1.5-hour drive north to Taos on occasion but have no complaints about the short 16-mile ride to the family-owned Ski Santa Fe in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Right now, visit all the Southwestern charm, romance, and fun of this world-renowned artist's haven at a discount. Some of Santa Fe's finest hotels and bed & breakfasts are offering mid-winter savings with special rates and ski package deals.

Ski Santa Fe is among the highest ski areas in the continental United States, with a base area elevation of 10,350 feet and the new Millennium Triple chairlift that transports you 12,075 feet. The family oriented resort may cater to countless numbers of children's programs but those hunting for challenges can find them.  Flat? No sirree. In Big Rocks Glade you'll find steeps and cliffs with pitches up to 50 degrees. Uninteresting? Chilies Glade and the Big Burn present steep chutes, tight tree lines, and powder. Bumps? Yes. Loads of 'em, so you better make sure your skis are forgiving. When the bumps just get too big, there are out of bounds areas to explore.

The land under Lake Peak is technically off-limits because it belongs to the Native Americans in that region. Sacred grounds. The other... the Big Tesuque (aka Big T)...is a powderhound's delight that descends from the radio towers on Big Tesuque Peak, behind the resort. Your lines finish at the road so feel free to hitch back to the resort.

Santa Fe at the end of your day is filled with options. For ladies, nothing rocks more than a New Mexican margarita on the rocks while the experienced aesthetician massages your feet with citrus essential oils, a tangy lime salt scrub and a vitamin C-packed hydrating masque, then decorates your boot-worn toes. At the end of your Margarita Madness Pedicure at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa you'll be saying, "This is the best pedicure ever."  

Shopping, too, especially for handmade crafts, jewelry and chili peppers, will set your excited eyes ablaze.  Look to the local Indians sitting along the wall of the Palace of the Governors on the town's plaza for the best deals and most authentic arts and crafts. Stroll amid the baked brown adobe homes and buildings, the hanging ristras of chilies, and the farolitos (small candle-lit sacks placed on the edges of roofs or fences) and luminarias (mini bonfires built in the courtyards and driveway entrances). Dine on sumptuous New Mexican cuisine throughout the city. Dishes are spicy and inventive and not smothered with cheese and refried beans.

Dinner at La Plazuela in the center of La Fonda Hotel is filled with Old World charm. Skylights, carved furnishings, brightly colored place settings enhance what you'll soon devour. Fill up on Diver scallops with New Mexico Goat Cheese Cream and toasted pinon nuts, corn masa stuffed with grilled sweet corn, roasted shallots, chile poblano, squash blossoms, and queso fresco, char-grilled filet mignon over corn enchiladas and Xmas Chile (that's red and green chile together) before curling up in the authentic Native American Picuris style of Santa Fe at the Hotel Santa Fe. Turn in early on the weekend and you might catch the Native flautist in the lobby or a cocktail by the crackling pinon fire in the kiva fireplace.

A deluxe room at the Inn On The Alameda is separate from the lobby and offers a sense of solitude and tranquility. Settle into a cozy, king surrounded in authentic southwestern décor- hand-carved wood, Talavera tile and custom wrought-iron. The included continental breakfast is more than enough to get you back on the hill in the morning.  

Winter in Santa Fe  is so much more than a simple ski vacation. The snow-covered Rockies of Taos and Ski Santa Fe, 200 restaurants, hundreds of shops, more than a dozen museums, and more than 200 galleries make this a ski town for the whole family.

More information:

Lodging Packages; If you have a particular hotel you'd like to visit, ask them if they can offer deals on lift tickets and transportation. Though it's not advertised, most can accommodate skiers.  

Ski Santa Fe 

La Fonda Hotel

La Posada Resort  

The Hotel Santa Fe  

Inn On The Alameda