Winter Adventures in Santa Fe (By Sue Mally)
I’m on a mission. To promote winter! Many of us, myself included, often dread the shorter winter days, frigid temperatures and snow-covered roads. Winter seems to be a time for hibernation, a season to burrow into our dens or warm homes, and await the coming of Spring.
Winter in Santa Fe, however, is different. Of course, it is the City Different! There definitely is a lull, a sense of slowing down, but you don’t have to look very far to find things to do. For those who love winter sports, the Santa Fe Ski Basin is located just 16 miles from downtown and offers 660 acres of beautiful alpine terrain. It’s a popular destination for locals and visitors, particularly for parents who want to drop off their children at Chipmunk Corner for lessons while they ski some of the challenging runs.
In addition to downhill skiing, one can opt to go cross country skiing, snowshoeing or backcountry skiing. For cross country skiing, our favorite destination is the Norski Trail. Groomed in the winter months by a volunteer group, Norski is an easy, single-track trail, 2.5 miles in length, that “hugs a ridge at 10,000 feet” and takes you through a magical forest of aspens and spruce trees. The trailhead is located near the Santa Fe Ski Basin and has ample parking.
Another popular winter activity is snowshoeing. In Georges’ opinion, our weather and terrain makes snowshoeing the ideal winter sports. Georges, of course is my better and more active half, who spends most of his waking hours outdoors! For snowshoeing in Santa Fe or northern New Mexico, the options are limitless – you could snowshoe up the Aspen Vista trail or down Pacheco Canyon, or be adventurous and snowshoe up to Santa Fe Baldy.
Last but not least, backcountry skiing is extremely popular with many Santa Feans. Georges and his friends put “skins” on their skis, trek up towards a mountain top, remove their skins and then ski downhill. A great workout and exhilirating for those who want to venture off the beaten path. It is not an activity, however, that I would recommend for visitors unless you’re familiar with the terrain or you opt to go with a guide.
My goal for this winter is to get outdoors and enjoy the present, enjoy the season. If you’re visiting Santa Fe in February or March, I hope you’ll get out in nature as well. Call us for information about certain trails or for our guided winter excursions. Go Walkabout and live in the NOW.