Angel Fire, New Mexico is a great ski destination for families. It has an elevation of 8,400 feet and has over 500 acres of ski slopes. It is located about 9.5 hours driving distance from the Dallas/Fort Worth area (which is where we live).
It is a very small town (a population around 1,200), but lots of rental homes and condos available for those who want to enjoy the ski slopes. I recommend http://www.vrbo.com to find a rental and do some comparison shopping for what is available. You can get a decent, multi-bedroom condo for around $150 a night (or even less). Most have real wood burning fireplaces and are located within walking or shuttle distance to the slopes.
Kids age 6 and younger ski free at Angel Fire! How awesome is that! You have to get rentals, but there are lots of ski rental shops in the town of Angel Fire, so the prices are competitive. I was extremely pleased renting gear for my twins and husband at Winter Sports in Angel Fire https://www.wintersportsskishop.com. Their shop is located about 100 yards from the lifts right at the base of the mountain. The store has a huge free parking lot adjacent to it and if you don’t want to walk the 100 yards to the lifts, there is a free shuttle that circles around every 5 minutes! The daily rate to rent skis and boots for my three year old twins was only $18 a day, each! They were so helpful at this store. They carefully fitted my boys with boots that fit just right and every staff member in the store was extremely helpful! I had trouble putting on my own cold ski boots, so I went into their store and they put my personal boots on their boot warmer! We missed two days skiing because of a stomach bug, so I went into the store to extend our rentals an extra day and they did so at no charge! They gave us free rental for three people for the extra day. I didn’t ask for anything free, I just explained that we were sick and we were going to extend our vacation an extra day to make up for the lost time on the slopes. The very nice woman working at the rental desk offered the extra day of rental free of charge because we were sick! How often does that happen these days? It was so nice doing business with a store and people who were genuinely nice and kind hearted. We will definitely be using this store to rent next year. I highly recommend them based on our experience.
The Angel Fire ski school is great for teaching kids to ski. Here is their website: Angel Fire Ski School. They have lessons for all ages. Our daughter Brielle enjoyed being in their ski school this past week. Ski school is never cheap, but it is worth the money to have your kids learn to love skiing. Kids who are taught by their parents will often want to quit on the first day. It’s usually because they aren’t enjoying the learning process. It can be scary too. The ski school teaches in a way that makes each moment of the day fun while learning to ski. The kids leave ski school with a sense of accomplishment and a great attitude about the sport. Having worked as a ski instructor for kids I have personally seen the success of many children learn to ski while in ski school. Angel Fire has a ski school that is well established and well respected, so if you want your kids to utilize their lessons, you must make reservations in advance. Their ski school fills up! Here is my daughter participating in the Angel Fire ski school.
I like the fact that they attach GPS units on each of their students in the ski school. You can actually see where your child went skiing each day! They keep classes small too with instructor to child ratio small. There were only 4 kids in my daughter’s ski school group. We dropped her off each day at 8:00 sharp and picked her up at 3:30. She had a blast! Which is no small feat, as she can be pretty fearful at times. She put on her brave face to ski and I know the ski school had a large part in helping her feel brave.
Sledding and Tubing
The Angel Fire resort has snow tubing and sledding. The tubing is right in the middle of the ski slopes (between two green runs). Kids must be at least 42″ tall to go tubing. My twins were not tall enough this year. I saw lots of people having fun tubing. It’s a great way to change up activities during your visit and enjoy the mountain in another way outside of skiing. Here is the link to their page about tubing: https://www.angelfireresort.com/activities/winter-activities/tubing-hill/
There is also sledding available on a groomed hill at the Country Club. Follow the signs to the Angel Fire Country Club/ Nordic Center (this is different than the Lodge). The sledding hill is adjacent to the club. You pay $5 per person (inside the Country Club) for a sledding pass. Bring your own sleds, or they have some for rent as well. It is definitely a great deal for enjoying sledding on groomed slopes. If your kids are small like mine, you don’t have to start at the top, you can simply walk down a bit and start sledding at a less steep part. There were kids flying down that hill having a blast! They had a staff member monitoring the sledding hill to ensure that everyone was safely sledding. Here are pics from our day sledding there:
The primary shopping location for all of Angel Fire is the Lowe’s grocery store. It was a busy location when we were there, but they have most everything you may need. They also have a DVD rental machine, which is handy if your condo doesn’t have cable. Don’t forget to buy firewood there if your rental has a wood burning fireplace.
We also shopped at the Family Dollar in Angel Fire (not to be confused with Dollar Tree). I hadn’t shopped in a Family Dollar in years, but I was so pleased with how much they had, as well as their low prices. We picked up some extra detergent, socks, snacks, extra hats, toilitries, paper towels, etc at this location. I paid the bill and looked at my receipt and was shocked with how little I spent. That doesn’t happen to me too often in life! I recommend stopping there first for your shopping needs and then whatever you can’t find there go to Lowe’s for the rest.
Ski Lift Tickets
We purchased ski lift tickets at a discounted rate at our Costco here in Southlake, TX. The deal was $99 for one day passes for two people. That made it just $50 a day for us to ski each! Our kids were free (other than ski school and rental). Kids ages 6 and under ski free at Angel Fire (that’s as of the time this is written in Feb. 2017). Below is a chart of their current lift ticket prices. You can buy them in person right at the base of the mountain. Be sure to take a snap shot of your kids’ birth certificates before you go on vacation, so you can prove their age by pulling it up on your phone.
Pack the Right Gear
Plan ahead and buy your gear before you leave on your vacation. Ski gear is not cheap in a resort town. I suggest helmets for your kids. They do have them available for rent, but you can buy them for a decent price on Amazon in advance. All you need to do is measure your child’s head (as per the helmet manufacturer instructions). Below are the items I suggest you get before you head on vacation. We purchased much of our gear on Amazon and Zulily (way in advance of the trip for Zulily since their shipping and handling is about 30 days).
1. Ski pants and ski jackets- This is a no-brainer, but I do suggest a jacket that has removable/multiples layers. For the ski pants I prefer bibs for the kids so that when they fall down the snow can’t get inside their pants.
2. Ski helmets- Shop online, but be sure to measure your child’s head first.
3. Water proof mittens- Kid’s hands get colder in gloves because their fingers get separated, so mittens are a better bet for warmth. I had two sets of water proof mittens for each of my kids. This came in handy, not because they got wet, but because mittens got misplaced, so the spare sets were needed.
4. Neck gator- I purchased hat and neck gator combos that were made to be worn with helmets. I like how the neck gators can be pulled up over their mouth for additional warmth. http://amzn.to/2kYyqqh
5. Wool socks- I hadn’t packed these for my kids, so we ended up having to buy these at the resort shops. Kids don’t have circulation as great as adults, so if your extremities feel cold, then theirs are even colder. Cold kids makes for crabby kids, so keep their toes warm by providing them with wool socks. Once again, it’s another thing to easily shop for on Amazon.
6. Hand warmers- Order a few packs on Amazon to have handy in your pockets. That way when you take breaks from skiing hands can more easily be warmed up. http://amzn.to/2mqGtJI
7. Ski goggles- Once again, I ordered my Kid’s goggles online and the price was great in comparison to the ski resort prices. Check out Amazon and you will see what I mean.
8, Sunblock- The snow is highly reflective, so you can get burned even on overcast days.
Some additional gear that you may want for your little ones (that we used for our kids) includes the “Wedge Maker” or “Edgie Wedgie” which clips on the front of their skis to help them make a wedge http://amzn.to/2lceU4O and the ski assist harness http://amzn.to/2lchFTJ. These items are located at most of the ski shops at Angel Fire as well.
Be sure to have plenty of layers for the temperature on the given day you are skiing. Temperatures can widely vary, so check the forecast. It was 50 degrees the first day we skied, but the mountain can get well below zero degrees, so be prepared.
Even if you are a beginner skier you can go all the way to the top of the mountain because they have a green run that goes from the top all the way to the very bottom. Just follow the signs for “Headin Home” when you get off the Chile Express that runs all the way to the top (it’s the quad lift). Enjoy your time skiing Angel Fire!