We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

FIrst Time Skiing - Red River or Angel Fire NM

Which Taos hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
dallas, texas
Level Contributor
444 posts
12 reviews
Save Topic
FIrst Time Skiing - Red River or Angel Fire NM

would you recommend Angel Fire NM or Red River NM for first time skiing ? we are a family of 6 with 3 teenagers and one 7-yr-old (all girls) and mom and dad. None of us have ever skied and was hoping to go to the place that was less crowded with the best beginner slopes. Any suggestions? We are from Dallas and NM would be the closest to drive.

santa fe, NM
Level Contributor
187 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: FIrst Time Skiing - Red River or Angel Fire NM

Have you considered some of the southern resorts like Ski Apache or Cloudcroft? It would be closer to drive and the town of Ruidoso is cute and less expensive than northern NM.

If you are set on Angel Fire or Red River... I personally like Red River better as I find Angel Fire very expensive for lift tickets (although I have heard that you can get package deals on lodging and lifts... but I have never been successful!). I find both base areas similar.

As a Santa Fe local, I think the Santa Fe ski area is really a nice combination of easy to medium slopes and a great town! Lots to do with your kids if they decide skiing/snowboarding is really only fun for a day or so... And some fun activities for mom and dad, too!

But if your family really wants to commit a vacation to skiing, go to the best ski school... Taos! It won't matter how many green runs there are because your kids will be skiing blue in a couple of days. My experience is that Taos' ski school is much better than any of the other areas in NM. And Taos is a nice town, too!

2. Re: FIrst Time Skiing - Red River or Angel Fire NM

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

TripAdvisor staff removed this post because it did not meet TripAdvisor's forum posting guidelines with prohibiting self-promotional advertising or solicitation.

We ask all of our members to keep their forum messages free of self-promoting advertisements or solicitation of any kind - members affiliated with any tourism-related business should not include commercial contact information or URLs in their forum messages.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 09 March 2008, 17:48
Edmond, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
112 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: FIrst Time Skiing - Red River or Angel Fire NM

I also agree that Taos is your best bet. It is known for having one of the best ski schools in the country. The kids program is outstanding, and so is the adults. Both my teen sons learned there when they were in junior high and after just a day or so, they could ski all over the mountain, and neither of them are the least bit athletic. DH and I used to ski there many years ago, when it was crowded, but in the last few years, since we've started taking our kids, there have been virtually no crowds, and we always go over spring break. When we first started taking our kids, we lived in west Texas, and we drove about three hours further to get to Taos, rather than stopping in Ruidoso. Although I haven't been there in years, it is known for being extremely crowded, because of its close proximity to Midland, Lubbock and El Paso.

Also, because of its location, Taos usually has much more and better snow than either Red River or Angel Fire.

Another local restaurant you don't want to miss is Michaels Kitchen.

Mystic,CT
Level Contributor
46 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: FIrst Time Skiing - Red River or Angel Fire NM

TAOS definitely the better choice....in all respects.

We have been skiing there for 25 years and now the kids are bringing their kids.

I agree wholeheartedly with posts above, and would only add that Roberto's restaurant is our favorite....problem is if the snow is great, Roberto is skiing...

Biggest mistake some make is staying on the mountain....the altitude is not conducive to good sleeping the first night or two, and proximity to town itself lends plenty for the kids to do and see. The road to the ski valley is well cared for and a pleasing 30 min trip.

Austin, TX
Level Contributor
15 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: FIrst Time Skiing - Red River or Angel Fire NM

Try Sipapu - a small family oriented ski area on 518 (opposite side of Taos from Taos Ski Valley.) It's small enough you all can go separate ways then easily meet up. We went there last year for Spring Break and had a great time. Although it was my son's second time to ski, it was like he was starting over. By the end of the trip, he was on (some) blacks--both at Sipapu and Taos.

We're heading there again after Christmas. Good Luck!

Oklahoma
3 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: FIrst Time Skiing - Red River or Angel Fire NM

If you are still planning, please do NOT go to Taos Ski Area if you are all beginngers!!! Taos is a mountain for experienced skiers to expert skiers. It's NOT much fun for beginners! It is an "expert" mountain. And the ski area (Taos Ski Valley) is not in Taos itself so you have to drive up to the ski valley if you stay in Taos. Don't get me wrong, Taos is fun skiing for those who know what they are doing but Angel Fire is best for those who have never skied at all. Red River is alright for beginners but does not have as many or as long or as wide runs for beginners.

Angel Fire also has snow boarding and tubing if your teens are interested. Taos does not allow snowboarding. Usually, the weather is good enough if you stay in Angel Fire and want to drive to Red or Taos in the evenings for dining or clubbing, but with teens and and a 7 year old, it does not sound like you are into the bar scene. There's not much for kids to do in Taos Ski Valley after the lifts close-- again, the ski valley is quite a ways from Taos.

Where ever you go, be sure and take lessons! Do NOT allow a "friend" to take you to the top with the promise of teaching you how to ski. After a group class or two, you can also take a 'private' lesson -- they allow several people in a private lesson. I don't know if a lift ticket is still included in the lesson fee but it used to be.

Angel Fire has snowboarding lessons too and also has a children's program with day care but I'm not sure of the age limit.

All around, Angel Fire is the best for beginners. After a couple of days on skis, drive up to Taos Ski Valley and take a look or even ski there for a day or 1/2 day. You'll stand at the bottom of the mountain looking up and thank your maker that you did not try to ski there as a rank beginner.

If you are wondering how I know all this, it's because I was born and raised in the flat lands like you (Oklahoma) but I lived in the Enchanted Circle for 10 years and was a ski instructor at 2 out of 3 of the resorts mentioned above and skied all three and partied at all three. I would not take my children to Taos Ski Valley for their first skiing experience.

Good luck and have fun!

P.S. The best skiing in New Mexico is usualy in late January, Feb & March -- but skip spring break if you want to avoid crowds! If you decide to fly, Utah has some wonderful places to ski and at some Utah ski areas the runs are above the tree line so you are skiing in big bowls.

Oklahoma
3 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: FIrst Time Skiing - Red River or Angel Fire NM

If you are still planning, please do NOT go to Taos Ski Area if you are all beginngers!!! Taos is a mountain for experienced skiers to expert skiers. It's NOT much fun for beginners! It is an "expert" mountain. And the ski area (Taos Ski Valley) is not in Taos itself so you have to drive up to the ski valley if you stay in Taos. Don't get me wrong, Taos is fun skiing for those who know what they are doing but Angel Fire is best for those who have never skied at all. Red River is alright for beginners but does not have as many or as long or as wide runs for beginners.

Angel Fire also has snow boarding and tubing if your teens are interested. Taos does not allow snowboarding. Usually, the weather is good enough if you stay in Angel Fire and want to drive to Red or Taos in the evenings for dining or clubbing, but with teens and and a 7 year old, it does not sound like you are into the bar scene. There's not much for kids to do in Taos Ski Valley after the lifts close-- again, the ski valley is quite a ways from Taos.

Where ever you go, be sure and take lessons! Do NOT allow a "friend" to take you to the top with the promise of teaching you how to ski. After a group class or two, you can also take a 'private' lesson -- they allow several people in a private lesson. I don't know if a lift ticket is still included in the lesson fee but it used to be.

Angel Fire has snowboarding lessons too and also has a children's program with day care but I'm not sure of the age limit.

All around, Angel Fire is the best for beginners. After a couple of days on skis, drive up to Taos Ski Valley and take a look or even ski there for a day or 1/2 day. You'll stand at the bottom of the mountain looking up and thank your maker that you did not try to ski there as a rank beginner.

If you are wondering how I know all this, it's because I was born and raised in the flat lands like you (Oklahoma) but I lived in the Enchanted Circle for 10 years and was a ski instructor at 2 out of 3 of the resorts mentioned above and skied all three and partied at all three. I would not take my children to Taos Ski Valley for their first skiing experience.

Good luck and have fun!

P.S. The best skiing in New Mexico is usualy in late January, Feb & March -- but skip spring break if you want to avoid crowds! If you decide to fly, Utah has some wonderful places to ski and at some Utah ski areas the runs are above the tree line so you are skiing in big bowls.

Oklahoma
3 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: FIrst Time Skiing - Red River or Angel Fire NM

If you are still planning, please do NOT go to Taos Ski Area if you are all beginngers!!! Taos is a mountain for experienced skiers to expert skiers. It's NOT much fun for beginners! It is an "expert" mountain. And the ski area (Taos Ski Valley) is not in Taos itself so you have to drive up to the ski valley if you stay in Taos. Don't get me wrong, Taos is fun skiing for those who know what they are doing but Angel Fire is best for those who have never skied at all. Red River is alright for beginners but does not have as many or as long or as wide runs for beginners.

Angel Fire also has snow boarding and tubing if your teens are interested. Taos does not allow snowboarding. Usually, the weather is good enough if you stay in Angel Fire and want to drive to Red or Taos in the evenings for dining or clubbing, but with teens and and a 7 year old, it does not sound like you are into the bar scene. There's not much for kids to do in Taos Ski Valley after the lifts close-- again, the ski valley is quite a ways from Taos.

Where ever you go, be sure and take lessons! Do NOT allow a "friend" to take you to the top with the promise of teaching you how to ski. After a group class or two, you can also take a 'private' lesson -- they allow several people in a private lesson. I don't know if a lift ticket is still included in the lesson fee but it used to be.

Angel Fire has snowboarding lessons too and also has a children's program with day care but I'm not sure of the age limit.

All around, Angel Fire is the best for beginners. After a couple of days on skis, drive up to Taos Ski Valley and take a look or even ski there for a day or 1/2 day. You'll stand at the bottom of the mountain looking up and thank your maker that you did not try to ski there as a rank beginner.

If you are wondering how I know all this, it's because I was born and raised in the flat lands like you (Oklahoma) but I lived in the Enchanted Circle for 10 years and was a ski instructor at 2 out of 3 of the resorts mentioned above and skied all three and partied at all three. I would not take my children to Taos Ski Valley for their first skiing experience.

Good luck and have fun!

P.S. The best skiing in New Mexico is usualy in late January, Feb & March -- but skip spring break if you want to avoid crowds! If you decide to fly, Utah has some wonderful places to ski and at some Utah ski areas the runs are above the tree line so you are skiing in big bowls.

dallas, texas
Level Contributor
444 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: FIrst Time Skiing - Red River or Angel Fire NM

Thank you so much for the info -- we are booked for Angel Fire March 2 - March 5. We are very excited. I'm glad we elected to not book at Taos -- we want the first experience to be good.

Are the ski lessons good at Angel Fire? They have a better price deal at Red River for lessons, but we chose Angel Fire. I'm hoping that we can get some good lessons. Would you recommend private lessons or group lessons?

Thanks again for your input - Have a Happy New Year !

dallas, texas
Level Contributor
444 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: FIrst Time Skiing - Red River or Angel Fire NM

another question...

what restaurants would you recommend at Angel Fire. We are staying at a condo so we will cook some - but i know we'll also end up eating out. Would you recommend driving up to Red River one day - is there anything to "see" up there that we wouldn't find at AF? Also, we are planning on doing snowmobiling one day -- do you recommend any vendors in town? I have heard that AF has good snowmobiling and that it should be a lot of fun.

Sorry for all the questions -- I appreciate any input.

Thanks again - ajpesina