Angel Fire is located on the north side of Agua Fria Peak in northcentral New Mexico, just a few hours northeast of Santa Fe. The resort is mid-sized, with 560 acres of skiing. The vertical at Angel Fire is amazing. Peak elevation sits at 10,677 feet and the view is incredible. Base lodging rests at 8600 feet, giving a total vert of 2077 feet. Average snowfall for Angel Fire is 210 inches (5.3 meters) per year. Due to its location and altitude, the snow that falls is light, dry, and fluffy, perfect for skiing.
Trails and Lifts
Angel Fire has seven lifts for getting around its 80 trails. There are two high-speed quads, three double chairs, and two surface lifts that move 5770 skiers up mountain per hour. This may not seem like a large number of lifts for this size park, but once you take the Chile Express quad up to the peak, you can reach trails of every difficulty level.
There are 80 total named trails and 3 terrain parks. The difficulty mix for the trails is 21 percent novice, 56 percent intermediate, and 23 percent advanced. The three terrain parks are each split into individual difficulties. Night Rider is the easiest, and is located near the tubing area. Sweet Street is located just uphill from Night Rider and has a mix of small and large boxes and jumps. The largest freestyle area is Liberation, just off the Chile Express. It has multiple boxes, jibs, rails and a wide variety of jumps. There’s also a dedicated lift for this park, so freestylers rejoice; no more trudging back uphill after a great line.
Novice skiers are going to want to stick to the base area at first. There are two double chairs that service this mandatory slow area, and it allows them to get used to their skis. This is also where Angel Fire’s ski school is located. Once a novice is ready for a longer trail, there are several paths down from the peak. Headin’ Home is the longest run in the park, taking a lazy and meandering path along the western edge of the park.
Intermediate skiers should take Headin’ Home off the Chile Express and then take the cuts to steeper and more challenging terrain. Free Flight is a fun groomer and there are several mini chutes near Elk Glade. Heading east off of the Express lands skiers in the Southwest Bowl where the east side is all intermediate steeps and the west side is all black diamonds.
For advanced skiers, there are thirty acres of glades to explore as well as the steeps just downhill from Liberation Park. The best steep in the park is accessed by some hiking from the Southwest Flyer drop off. Once there, Nitro is a straight shot down a bumpy steep that lets you build up some great steam before a cut to the left to a mild ride back to the lift.
Angel Fire has a lot to offer families who visit. Sometimes the older kids don’t want to go skiing. Well, there are numerous other great winter activities. Tubing, ice fishing, sledding and snowmobile rentals are all offered as well. The town of Angel Fire is very quiet. There isn’t a lot of apres-ski to be found; instead, there are just a few small restaurants and a couple of cozy watering holes. Keep in mind that if you’re after night life, Taos is only a half-hour away. For a pure skiing experience, Angel Fire definitely doesn’t disappoint. The powder quality is just as good as you find at Taos, but Angel Fire is rarely as busy as its northern neighbor. The lack of lift lines and excellent intermediate skiing coupled with the relatively low prices makes Angel Fire a great ski destination.