7 ski experiences you can only have in New Mexico

New Mexico maybe be part desert, but it’s also part mountains — a big part. There are the Sandias and the Sangre de Cristos (part of the Rockies), along with several other chains, and the combination of elevation and weather makes this one of the country’s premier ski destinations.

But in New Mexico, you also have access to world-class art, Native American heritage, and some of the country’s most cinematic terrain, which means skiing here is a cultural experience — not just a sporty one. When you’re here, you’ll get it. Here’s seven ski experiences you can’t have anywhere else.

Mountain + museums, Santa Fe

Santa Fe is known as an artistic and cultural hub, and not just within New Mexico — it’s one of the top destinations for independent artists in the country. It also happens to sit at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and though it may not seem obvious at first glance, these two things are very, very related.

Start your day on the mountain at Ski Santa Fe. It’s 20 minutes from downtown, has a surprisingly high base elevation of 10,350 feet, and includes 83 marked trails. Among those 83, you’ll find a solid mix of beginner slopes, cruisers, long bump runs, glades and tree runs, chutes, and small bowls (and Chipmunk Corner for the wee ones!). There’s also on-mountain refreshments at Totemoff’s Bar.

After a solid half day or more of skiing, spend the afternoon touring the city’s unique museums, like the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (the go-to spot for original O’Keeffe works), the Museum of International Folk Art, or Site Santa Fe.

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