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Ski areas get in the holiday spirit

Try something different this year for Christmas and New Year’s: Load up the kids and grandparents and visit a local ski area for some special winter fun. All of the ski areas in northern New Mexico recently received several inches of the white manna from heaven, just in time for the holidays.

Instead of lying around the house and imbibing your third glass of eggnog on Christmas Day, why not head to a nearby resort to burn off a few of the sugar cookie calories instead? Besides the great exercise and fresh air, there are notably fewer bodies packing the lift lines and crowding the runs on Christmas than every other day during the holiday break.

Just before the big day, Angel Fire Resort presents a live magic show on Friday, and if you hang around, Santa and his elves will join skiers on the mountain Saturday and Sunday. Santas on skis and boards can be spotted at most ski resorts on Christmas Day, perfect for snapping a wintry family photo for next year’s holiday card.

On Christmas Eve, bundle up to enjoy fireworks and torchlight parades at Angel Fire Resort and Red River Ski Area. There’s something magical about being surrounded by snowy mountains during the nighttime hours, while staying cozy in the nearby lodge. If you miss Christmas Eve, Pajarito Mountain and Taos Ski Valley have torchlight parades to ring in 2017 on New Year’s Eve.

The torchlight parades consist of skiers and boarders carrying lights or torches while they traverse down slopes visible from the warmth of the indoor areas. The flowing trail of light winding down the mountain is a rare and a memorable way to celebrate the holidays.

At Angel Fire Resort, a lighted area of the mountain is open for nighttime skiing and tubing during the holidays, while indoors at the base area live music and other festivities abound.

Between Española and Taos along the high road to Taos sits Sipapu Ski Resort. Known for its affordable ski deals and creative family fun, Sipapu holds an annual Christmas Eve party with music, light displays, and art for all ages at the historic lodge.

North of Taos, the Red River Ski Area features torchlight parades and fireworks every Saturday during ski season. Before the light shows, skiers and snowboarders perform tricks and stunts as part of the Saturday Night Rail Jam. The whole tiny town rings in New Year’s Eve with a family-friendly party with food, games, and activities at the historic community house in Red River.

Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area lies just up the road from Red River, and hosts its own holiday tradition – a Christmas Eve Nordic ski along trails lit exclusively with farolitos. For the farolito ski tour, the professionally groomed trails lead to a new warming hut deep in the Carson Forest where posole, cookies and hot beverages are shared. Skis and other gear are available to rent.

—  Angel Fire Resort – angelfireresort.com

— Taos Ski Valley – skitoas.com

— Pajarito Mountain – skipajarito.com

— Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort – sipapunm.com

— Red River Ski Area – redriverskiarea.com

— Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area – enchantedforestxc.com

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