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|John (Houston Texas, 19 Dec, 2006): I have been to Angel Fire for the last four years and it is a great family oriented resort. The people are nice and it is very laid back. The terrain is great when the snow is great. The past few years the snow conditions have been poor. I believe this is why some of the reviews have been negative. When there is an abundant amount of snow I would choose Angel Fire over any other resort. My family and I are returning for the last week in December. The terrain doesn't look too promising but I'm sure we will still have a great time.|
Brian T (Lake Charles LA USA, 22 Aug, 2006): My family and I skied Angel Fire during Mardi Gras 2005 and it was absolutely awesome. It snowed for several days and there was plenty of fresh power from the base all the way to the summit. We planned on going back for Mardi Gras 2006 but found out at the last minute that it was a very bad snow year. We changed our plans and went to Purgatory Mtn at Durango Mountain resort. When we arrived in Durango and saw no snow we were very disappointed, but as we continued the drive north into the mountains the snow improved. The snow at Durango was packed powder with and icey mix at the base. We talked to several people who had friends at Angel Fire during the same time and all reported that the snow was minimal and icy. We do plan on returning to Angel Fire for Mardi Gras 2007, but will be monitoring the snow reports frequently. It is a great family place for people with children. The Apres Ski is scant, but for someone looking for a great all around family resort I highly recommend this place. Lots of easy runs (greens), but even most of the blues are fairly easy ski.
Aaron Rognstad (Fort Collins, CO., 4 Apr, 2006): Angelfire is a good area when it has snow, but this past season was a drought year for New Mexico ski resorts. Angelfire only had trails open on their backside when I was there in March, and the snow was marginal.
Of the terrain that was open, I found a few blacks on the far west side of the backside that had several day-old powder. Most of the mountain's skiers and boarders were beginners from Texas and Oklahoma, so they're not going to be found on the black runs, which left some untracked areas on the side of certain runs.
El Sol is a fun run for about the first 300 feet of descent as it is a black and had some powder with a relatively steep pitch, for this area. Being that you had to walk to it on this particular, day due to the lack of snow, only a few ambitious skiers and riders had taken the plunge down to the Highway catwalk.
Seeing that I live in Colorado and have numerous better ski resorts much closer to me, I probably will never find myself at Angelfire unless I take a job down in New Mexico.
Best run: I poached Hari Kari and it was steep. I also scratched my board something fierce because of the inadequate snow cover, but that's what I get for ducking the rope.
Chris (NM, USA, 6 Feb, 2006): I visited Angel Fire in early February of 2006. 2005-2006 has been a bad snow year in New Mexico, and I was rather disappointed. Only four trails on the back side ("Hallelujah", "Fire Escape", "Badlands" and "Hully Gully") were open - not counting the feeder catwalk "Highway" as a real trail.
None of these trails is much more than mid-intermediate in difficultly when groomed, which they all were. The only trail open going down the front side was "Headin Home", a mid-novice level trail so gentle that there are places where you may have to pole. It was necessary to ski this trail to get to the base area from the back side.
The snow on the few trails that were open was not too bad, granular machine-made powder, over a packed icy base. In the places where the powder had been scraped off or blown away by the wind, it was rather icy, requiring caution.
Despite the lack of trail selection, they were charging the full $48 (adult, full day) price, when the combined length of the trails that they had open, was less than the smaller (and cheaper) areas in New Mexico would have, on a good snow year. When I complained; I was told that since they were running both the main front side lift (Chile Express) and the back side lift, (Southwest Flyer) they were charging full price despite perhaps only 20% of the available trails being open.
On a good snow year this is a fun-to-ski, fairly-large-sized (for New Mexico) ski area with a wide selection of trails. It offers mainly long mid-novice to upper-intermediate trails, with a scattering of advanced/expert trails. Notably; it offers long, but un-intimidating, novice runs all the way down from the top of the mountain. (The afore-mentioned Headin Home, and La Bajada, on the back side) A moderately competent novice skier would be able to ski down from the top of the mountain after minimal instruction.
However; it has been my experience, on all but the very best snow years, this area almost always has several trails closed. Often these are the more expert level trails. But often some of the more fun-to-ski, but more out-of the-way, intermediate trails are closed as well. This ski area is simply not located in a region that receives as much natural snow fall as some other areas. Especially if you plan to spend several days here: Read the snow report with a good degree of healthy skepticism. Or better yet, receive an unbiased report of someone who has actually been there during the last couple weeks.
Gary (Houston TX, 7 May, 2005): I vacationed in Angel Fire in March of 2005 and had a great time. The snow was terrific and the mountain is very well suited for beginner and intermediae skiers. There are some black runs, but the runs are geared more toward the intermediate and advanced intermediate skier. All the people at the Resort and in the town of Angel Fire were extremely friendly and helpful. Most of the people living and working in Angel Fire seem to be from Texas. The place has a real laid back atmosphere and it was not extremely crowded like some of the other large resorts I have skied. The longest wait in a lift line was probably 5-10 minutes and the two high speed quads were great.
There are many condominiums close to the ski base and some are very nice. However, after speaking with other families during our visit I would check out a condo carefully before booking it because there are also some very run down properties. The condo we stayed in was very nice. It was within walking distance to the slopes, was nicely furnished, and had great views from the living area. We found the condo through the Angel Fire Chamber of Commerce and it has its own website at www.geocities.com/mountainviewcondo. The Angel Fire Resort Hotel does offer some pretty good deals, but it is somewhat outdated, a little run down, and definitely not a 5 star hotel.
There is not much night life in Angel Fire, because it is a small town. However, it is a great place for a ski vacation away from the crowds of the larger resorts.
Some of the reviews on this website don't speak very highly of Angel Fire, but I did not have the same impression on our visit. Maybe Angel Fire figured out they were getting a bad reputation and over the past few years they have worked to improve the quality of their services. I would highly recommend Angel Fire for a family vacation.
Nancy Chandler ( 1 Mar, 2004): Avoid the town of Eagle Nest NM like the plague. Local merchants are con-artists and seem to delight in ripping off tourists. In particular, I suggest avoiding the Gold Pan Motel and all local eateries. The lift tickets are ridiculously expensive at $42/day considering the quality of the runs and the snow. Lift attendants allowed unsafe bosrding and unboarding of lifts at both Angel Fire and Red River. I recommend skiing Colorado any day.
Weston Probst (Tulsa OK, 26 Jan, 2004): Angel Fire is my favorite place to ski. In Feb. 2003 there were 8 of us that drove out to NM to ski at Angel Fire. The night we got there it snowed 8 inches and snowed most of the next day. It was ok skiing, alot of wind. On the 2nd day the snow had quit and it was so clear and nice. There was alot of powder and it was the perfect day for skiing. I have never had a better day of skiing. We are going again this year(2004) at the end of Feb. I hope it will be as great as last year.
Vicki (Albuquerque NM, 27 Jan, 2002): Made it up to Angel Fire, Jan. 2002. It was pretty crowded, but the skiing was great. The snow was powder/packed powder, all the lifts were running, but fairly long lines. The staff was friendly and the overall experience was good. I did hate walking up and down all those stairs in ski boots to get to the lifts and picnic tables/bar.