Ice skating in Taos
The Eis Haus skating rink in the lower plaza at Taos Ski Valley makes for a magical winter moment. Surrounded by big fireplaces and a stunning view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the new ice rink “continues to diversify Taos Ski Valley’s outdoor offerings,” says Tania McCormack, director of marketing at Ski Valley. “The rink gives a different option when you’d like to take a break from the mountain—and is a great activity for visitors who don’t ski or snowboard.” Open daily, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. $20 per person before 4 p.m.; $25 after 4 p.m. (includes skate rental). 116 Sutton Pl., Taos Ski Valley; 888-262-8398.
Snowshoeing Sandía Crest
Nearly everybody can get out and play in the snow with a pair of snowshoes. The large surface area attached to your feet keeps you buoyant, making it possible to walk over frozen terrain without sinking. Meander your favorite trails, hit a running rhythm, or take the dog for a romp.
The trails on Sandía Crest, in Albuquerque, are maintained by the Friends of the Sandia Mountains throughout the winter. The group’s president, Mike Madden, says he keeps four sets of snowshoes in his garage to take guests out when they visit. “If you can walk, you can snowshoe,” he says. “Quite a few people do bird-watching on snowshoes. We have a lot of migratory birds that pass through on their way south for the winter. We also have a resident bird population that stays around, so I see people out there with binoculars.”
Madden suggests the 10k Trail, named for its high elevation, or the Ellis Trail on Sandía Crest. Both are maintained, so your path won’t be blocked by fallen trees or other debris. “It’s a good family activity where everybody can have fun and nobody feels overly challenged,” Madden says. “You don’t have to worry about going over your comfort speed.” friendsofthesandias.org/recreation/winter-activities
Tubing in Angel Fire
Unlike skiing, which scatters family members all over the mountain, tubing brings the family together. The tubing hill at Angel Fire Resort has four runs and a magic carpet lift that removes hiking from the equation, allowing tubers to maximize their “whee” time on the hill. “The best part about Angel Fire Resort is it’s not just for skiers,” says Greg Ralph, director of marketing. “Tubing gives the whole family the opportunity to spend time together.” Ski boots aren’t allowed on the tubing hill, so make sure to bring other warm boots. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 10 Miller Lane, Angel Fire; 800-633-7463.
Snowmobiling in Red River
Hop on a snowmobile and cruise the Carson National Forest beneath snow-laden conifers to rolling vistas with Red River Sled Shed. Choose from two options, a 2-hour tour and a 3.5-hour tour. “Snowmobiling is a great way to access the mountain in the winter,” says Jason Akerson, who has owned Red River Sled Shed since its inception in 1987. “It’s wonderful scenery, and most people are able to do it.”
The 2-hour ride takes you to the top of Greenie Peak, where views overlook Red River Ski Valley and Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico. The 3.5-hour tour includes a 30-mile trail to the top of Sawmill Mountain, where views stretch all the way to Colorado’s San Luis Valley. On the trip back down, see an old mine dating to the 1500s. “It’s a good way for people to get great photos,” Akerson says. “You get up there and everything is white. A lot of the trees don’t have leaves. Everything looks bigger and cleaner.” Call ahead to reserve your spot. Wear warm clothing and bring sunglasses or goggles. 2-hour trip: $105 singles; $135 doubles; 3.5-hour trip: $165 singles; $205 doubles. 612 W. Main St., Red River; 575-754-6370.
Ski biking at Sipapu
Ski biking combines the ease of a bicycle with the fun of snow, and you can rent them at Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort any day of the ski season. “Doing it in a group is super fun,” says John Paul Bradley, general manager at Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort. “Ski biking with a few inches of fresh snow is a blast. They’re a hoot to ride.”
Bradley recommends that beginners hit the easy terrain course to get the hang of it. But once you’re proficient, you can ski bike any run on the mountain. They have a few sizes and models, including two for children, so any rider can achieve a good fit. “We offer it as another way to get people out and recreating during the winter,” Bradley says. “We have local families where kids snowboard or ski and the parents snowbike. The parents never skied, and now they are able to enjoy the mountain as a family.” 5224 NM 518, Vadito; 575-587-2240.