The country’s southernmost ski resort is a hidden gem thanks to its uncrowded slopes, deep, dry powder and incredible views of desert landscapes. With 1,900 vertical feet, 750 skiable acres, and annual snowfall of more than 15 feet, you get serious skiing without having to worry about traffic and treacherous mountain passes. Access 55 different runs via 11 lifts or a gondola—from groomers to moguls to wide-open bowls and a park, there’s terrain for every skill level. And, of course, this New Mexico resort boasts hundreds of blue-sky days a year.

At just over three hours from Albuquerque and two hours from Roswell, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the high desert gives way to Ski Apache’s snowscape. Stay in Mescalero in one of the 273 luxury rooms at Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino, then grab breakfast on your way up to the slopes at Cornerstone Bakery and Café in Ruidoso.

If you’re looking to explore more of southern New Mexico, don’t miss Cloudcroft, a funky town with great food and locals. Then head to White Sands National Monument, where miles of white gypsum sand dunes create a totally different kind of winter wonderland.

Lift tickets: $68