Winter Alpine Recreation on Angel Fire Mountain
More than 200 inches of average annual snowfall blanket Angel Fire Mountain, a peak located in the Rocky Mountains of north-central New Mexico. From late fall through early spring, Angel Fire Resort—situated at the base of the peak—attracts winter-sports enthusiasts looking to explore its trails. The main lodge is just steps from the Chile Express chairlift, which whisks visitors up to the summit at 10,677 feet. From there, skiers and snowboarders choose their path of descent, with both gentle slopes and steep, expert routes. The mountain supports 76 trails, two freestyle terrain parks, and 30 acres of gladed skiing. And thanks to nighttime lights, you can swoosh down the lower front 50 acres after the sun goes down, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays.
There are plenty of winter activities on the mountain that don’t involve downhill skiing, including sleigh rides, snowmobile excursions, and tubing on the Polar Coaster hill. You can also ice-fish at nearby Eagle Nest Lake or embark on a winter horseback ride. Visit the Angel Fire Resort Nordic Center to access 15 kilometers of groomed cross-country skiing trails of varying difficulty, as well as designated snowshoeing paths.
The resort has a handful of onsite dining options to fuel long days of recreation. Views of the mountains surround both indoor and outdoor seating at the upscale Elements restaurant, which serves entrees such as new york strip steak ($30) and pan-seared crispy black cod ($33). Complement your dinner with a bottle from the restaurant's private wine room, which is stocked with 1,800 bottles. The casual Legends Grill pairs pizza and burgers with an extensive beer selection, including 11 craft microbrews on draft.
The indoor pool and hot tub, located beneath the lodge's atrium, relieve muscles worn out from a day on the mountain. Afterwards, get a restful night’s sleep inside a 500-square-foot standard room or Alpine Wing room, each outfitted with two queen beds.
Angel Fire, New Mexico: Stunning Scenery in the Southern Rockies
According to local legend, a tribe of Native Americans first called the mountainous Angel Fire area "fire of the gods," referring to the region's spectacular sunsets. As friars explored through the area, the name evolved into "the place of the fire angels," and 19th-century frontiersman Kit Carson was the first to dub the town Angel Fire. The unusual moniker stuck. Today, in New Mexico's northeast corner, at an elevation of 8,400 feet, fiery reds, oranges, and yellows still light the sky ablaze above the mountains.
Angel Fire is also known for its Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The angular, all-white memorial was erected in 1968 to pay tribute to a young soldier and son of a local doctor killed in battle. It’s home to a museum, visitors' center, chapel, and a Huey helicopter, which was in use in Vietnam.
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