Ski New Mexico cheap?
December 13, 2009 11:12 AM   Subscribe

Cheap weekend ski trip in New Mexico?

I've never been skiing before and I'd like to try. A group of friends wants to go to New Mexico to ski because it's within driving distance from Amarillo.

I've heard there are ski resorts around Santa Fe.

Say, a group of 6 or so people wanted to go skiing. No experience, no equipment. Maybe, around February 2010. How would we go about doing this in the most affordable way possible?
posted by abdulf to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
What about Ruidoso?
posted by sugarfish at 11:35 AM on December 13, 2009

The place that sugarfish mentions is Ski Apache. There are other New Mexico Ski Resorts. The two biggest are Ski Apache and Taos. They will also most likely the most expensive although I am pretty sure that Ski Apache is associated with an Indian Casino so there might be package deals that lowers your total cost (lift tickets, rentals, lessons, lodging, etc).

The smaller resorts/hills will be cheaper and most likely if you none of you have ever skied before then you aren't going to miss out on much by skipping Taos (if you goal is to do this as low cost as possible). Also generally speaking the off-hill rental locations are cheaper than renting equipment at the hill.

The one thing that you should consider is what clothing and gear you already have. This AskMefi thread on first time skiing covers the arguments pretty well.
posted by mmascolino at 12:14 PM on December 13, 2009

How long are you going for? Which resort are you going to? If it is your first time skiing, TAKE A LESSON OR 2 OR 3 OR 4. Your friends cannot teach you despite what they say, you will not have much fun "learning" on your own, and best yet, you should be able to hop all the lift lines in a ski lesson.

Gear rental, including a helmet. Is your condo going to have basic amenities, or are you staying in a hotel? If you want to save money, make dinner ahead of time and freeze it so you have meals every night- food's expensive. Buy sandwich makings for lunches and cereal for breakfasts. Bring your own alcohol.

Food and beverages are a HUGE cost in all ski resorts, trust me, we ski 30 to 50 days a year and know.

If you are going to ski santa fe, then here is a link to a page on their website with some good deals: discounts.

Also, look for packages including, rentals/passes/lessons and multiple ski days. Usually there are passes for 4 out of 5 days, etc.

More information would be really helpful.
posted by TheBones at 12:18 PM on December 13, 2009

I'd recommend Santa Fe ski area -- this is where most of the area locals go to ski for cheap, because for $10 more than Sandia you get much better skiing. I can personally recommend the beginners lessons here.

Unfortunately, lodging near the ski area in Santa Fe will not be cheap. You're looking at $100+ per night downtown (which is the closest accommodations), and more like $150-250 on the weekends. I suggest staying on Cerrillos Road and driving out to the ski area each morning... nice hotel rooms can be had for $60 per night there, and there's a Smiths supermarket where you can get cheap food and booze to bring up to the hill. Cerrillos is barely ten minutes further up the road, so unless you want something fancy, don't bother with downtown.

Los Alamos (Pajarito Mountain) is also a surprisingly nice and affordable place to ski, with a small, fun trail system and almost always zero crowds. Gear rentals here are also dirt cheap. The tourist amenities aren't as nice as in Santa Fe, though -- hotels and restaurants are limited, and absolutely nothing is open late. Still, if you get to Santa Fe and decide you want a change, you might try it for a day or two (it's just 45 minutes from Santa Fe, so you can very easily stay there at night and still ski Pajarito during the day.)

Either of these places will be $50 for a day pass and $22 to rent the equipment, per person, per day. You will probably be able to get a better price if you buy lessons and/or a multi-day package, though.

This is a good overview of all the ski areas in NM, with plenty of reviews. Check it out if you still can't decide.
posted by vorfeed at 3:00 PM on December 13, 2009

I grew up in Ruidoso. Between the recession and marginal snow the last few years, you should be able to get some screaming deals most weekends. You mentioned February. You won't be able to get ANY deals on President's Day weekend. That's one of their busiest times of year. If you are truly beginners, Cloudcroft would also be a good alternative for Southern New Mexico. All that said, Santa Fe is probably closer to Amarillo.
posted by slightly ridiculous at 4:45 PM on December 13, 2009

Lots of Texans go to Red River NM.
posted by tamitang at 5:29 PM on December 13, 2009

Just had a co-worker come back from Sipapu, which is half an hour or so south of Taos. They said it was open, family-owned, and the lift tickets are really cheap. There are also specials.
posted by answergrape at 5:48 PM on December 13, 2009

I grew up in the Amarillo area - in high school my friends and I would make this exact trip most winters. There's definitely some good skiing to be had in New Mexico.

What do you mean by cheap though? Amarillo is close enough (though just barely) that you could leave extremely early AM, make it to the mountain, ski all day, and be back in Amarillo a bit after midnight. Call it the no sleep method, and my preferred scheme back when I had the energy to do things like this. You certainly save on hotel at the expense of sanity.

Skiing is an expensive hobby. The major factors seem to be:

Equipment - probably around $30-50/day rental
Lift Ticket - in the neighborhood of $60-120/day depending on resort
Ski classes? - about $70-100/day depending on resort
Transportation, Lodging, food, other entertainment - depends on where you set your personal comfort level.

You'll find cheaper accommodation in non-resort towns if you're willing to travel a bit in the mornings to get to the ski area. As previously mentioned, off-mountain rental places are marginally cheaper for equipment (I've rented from C D Ski & sports on Georgia in Amarillo before a trip, although I wouldn't really say that the cost savings were worth the transportation hassle of carrying the equipment back and forth). I'll also go out on a limb and say that there's little chance of finding a deal on a lift ticket.

Have you considered the possibility of flying Southwest into Albuquerque and branching out from there? It's a ridiculously short flight, but tickets get pretty cheap if you watch the specials.

I'll put in a plug for the Angel Fire resort as a personal favorite, although I believe that Taos is closer and better known.
posted by owls at 11:43 PM on December 13, 2009

If you want to ski for 3 or more days, the Peak Plus Card (scroll down) will save you some money at Sandia Peak (about a half hour drive from Albuquerque) or Ski Santa Fe.

Buy some cheap used equipment (you will have to learn a little bit about equipment to do this), have everybody pile into a cheap hotel room, and eat meals you've prepared and brought with you.

Lessons are a must, but with 6 people you might be able to get a deal on lessons for everyone.
posted by yohko at 2:38 PM on December 14, 2009

« Older Ted Nelson and Vannevar Bush, please forgive me.   |   Gramps, what d'ya think? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.