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Angel Fire, Red River Suit Themselves To Those New To The Slopes

New-RR-Cover Gentle terrain all to themselves is where beginners and novices feel most comfortable and ready to learn. (Image via Red River Ski Area Facebook)

The Enchanted Circle highway loops through scenic northern New Mexico, providing the route to a pair of ski and snowboard resorts up high in the the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that cater to those who are learning the sport.

The southernmost is Angel Fire which sits on 560 acres of a former cattle ranch with 8,600-foot base elevation. Mostly, Angel Fire appeals to never-ever, novice and leisure skiers and riders.

Known also as a mountain biking mecca, the all-season resort's menu of kind-and-considerate blues and greens sling off a long ridge. A large terrain park runs its own chairlift off the 10,677-foot-high summit. Less than one-quarter of the trail map is rated black.

Appealing to vacationing families, Angel Fire deeply discounts day and season passes for kids 6 and under, seniors 75+ and fifth-graders. It's a member of the Powder Alliance, and pass partner with Cooper, Monarch and Powderhorn. Night skiing lights up on selected evenings, and ample tubing and sledding hills beckon. Not much of an apres-ski scene.

Head north over Bobcat Pass (9,820 ft. high) to Red River Ski Area in a tight canyon 8,750 feet above sea level. A half-day's drive from Texas Panhandle, the Red River valley draws heavily from the high plains. It exudes a Western cowboy vibe with plenty of eats, rooms and music.

The trail map depicts just over 200 acres on a compact but surprisingly steep pitch off its 10,350-foot summit that attracts storms with its persistent northern aspect. Expert runs dive off the high ridge, blues fill up midmountains above lower greens. Snowguns reach more than 85% of Red River. Crews added more snowguns and water lines this summer.

A secondary base at Main Chalet is a premier learning area aimed at improving skill by moving through progressions. Two moving carpets, slow chairs, gentle terrain and a novice terrain park serve the beginner in a non-threatening way. Kids 5 and under and seniors 70-plus ski and ride for free.

Along with Ski Cooper and Sunlight, Red River is in the Freedom Pass system, meaning a passholder from any of 21 U.S. mountains gets three free days at any of the others. A Red River season pass partners include Monarch, Powderhorn, Snow King, Diamond Peak and Red Lodge.





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