Retro Slopes for Family Fun

Red River Ski

The once-mining town of Red River, New Mexico still evokes a rough-n-tumble past of gold-diggin’ prospectors and trappers in coonskin caps. It’s rugged and tiny, with a population of roughly 450, and therein lies the magic of the ski and snowboard experience at Red River’s core. A true ski-in/ski-out town, Red River Ski Area skips the pomp and production of mega resorts and offers a humble and efficient family mountain that glows with charm and retro fun. Sure, some of its retro elements border on kitsch, but who cares? It’s groovy!

I had a great time skiing and snowboarding at Red River Ski Area, whose lifts are within walking distance of 80 percent of the various lodgings along and around Main Street. My favorite part? The back side of the mountain, where they’ve tucked the adorable Moon Star Mining Camp. With flat tree trails, fun buildings and an animal scavenger hunt, the beginner terrain is aimed at kids but a treat for kids-at-heart like me who enjoy a little fantasy with my impeccable nature views.

That’s not to say there isn’t awesome terrain for grown ups. These are the Sangre de Cristo Mountains after all! Read on for the deets!

The Mountain
This family-run fun destination has mostly intermediate and advanced terrain. However, it’s a small mountain, so size is relative.

  • Base Elevation: 8750
  • Summit: 10350
  • Vertical Drop: 1600
  • Trails: 56 on 290 skiable acres, including 3 terrain parks
  • Trail breakdown: 32 % beginner, 38% intermediate, 30% expert
  • Lifts: 3 triples, 3 doubles, 1 surface
  • Ski and Snowboard school: Private and group lessons available.


Red River Ski

Bonus Fun

  • Nighttime snowmobile tours. Cap off a day shredding the slopes with a snowmobile tour that includes stops at the Ski Tip, Placer Creek and an open meadow. Chomp on a light meal of New Mexico’s signature Green Chile Stew and sandwiches.
  • Mardi Gras. It’s the biggest bash of the year, waking up this sleepy town with an infusion of party, party, party.
  • Tubing. Rent a tube and rock the end of the day with a 45 minutes tubing session after the lifts close.
  • Child care. Okay, so maybe you’re tired of the bunny slopes and want to jack rabbit to the steeps without your worrying about your kids. Red River offers the Buckaroo Child Care Facility for tots 6 months to four years old.

Notable Grub
The Lift House Bar and Grille (200 Pioneer Road, Red River, NM 87558 / 575-754-2976) makes awesome, hearty pub fare and has a range of local brews. It’s also where the nightlife’s at, topping off weekends on the slopes with DJs and bands who party way into the night.

The standalone ski resort doesn’t have a lodge of its own. However, the property is surrounded by a range of homes, condos, lodges and inns that meet a range of budgets and aesthetics.

For More Information
Red River Ski Area