At 660 skiable acres, Ski Santa Fe has about the same amount of terrain as famed Aspen Mountain, but the New Mexico ski area remains relatively unknown outside its home state. Despite its southern latitude, Ski Santa Fe receives a healthy average annual snowfall of 225 inches. The conditions are bolstered by the resort’s lofty altitude starting at 10,350 feet that is among the highest base elevations in the country. During low snow years, coverage on the ski area’s 1,725 vertical feet of terrain is helped by snowmaking on more than half of the mountain.
Although Ski Santa Fe now has a modern base lodge, the original base lodge still serves as a funky mid-mountain restaurant and bar known as Totemoff’s Bar and Grill. The restaurant’s namesake, Pete Totemoff, also has a trail named after him at Taos Ski Valley. A member of the New Mexico Ski Hall of Fame, Totemoff worked for the U.S. Forest Service before retiring to run the Red Chair Bar that now bears his name.
City of Santa Fe
The city of Santa Fe is internationally known for its distinctive architecture and 250 art galleries. The capital city of New Mexico sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Ski Santa Fe is located 16 miles north of downtown. The drive up the mountain takes about 30 minutes in good weather.
Given that Ski Santa Fe is just a day area, visitors must find lodging in the city. Fortunately, Santa Fe is blessed with numerous first-class hotels such as the Hotel Chimayo de Santa Fe. Several of the hotels offer ski-and-stay packages.
Ski Santa Fe looks over the New Mexico desert stretching below the ski area’s elevation going up to 12,075 feet. Some of the best vistas are from the intermediate trail named Gayway on the upper mountain.
Although the run simply honors a longtime female employee with the first name of Gay, a few of the resort’s conservative visitors shy away from the name in light of its contemporary meaning. They sometimes refer to it as “Gateway.”
Adaptive Skiing Program
Ski Santa Fe has an extensive adaptive skiing and snowboarding program. The Adaptive Ski Program gives individuals with a variety of disabilities an opportunity to enjoy the slopes. Sponsors and volunteers help make private lessons, equipment and lift tickets available for a nominal fee.
Ski Santa Fe has plenty of excellent gladed terrain. The trees are rather widely spaced on North Burn and South Burn. Sunrise Glade and Sunset Glade are tighter, but the difficulty would not be considered extreme. The trees and rock formations in the aptly named Big Rocks Glade, however, give skiers and boarders an opportunity to take on some very challenging lines.
La Casa Lodge
Unlike many other small and mid-sized day areas, Ski Santa Fe has a modern lodge for skier services at the base. Along with rental and gear shops, the La Casa Lodge features a dining area for more than 650 guests. The expansion and renovation of the lodge dates back fairly recently to November 2012.