Red River Ski Area


Red River Ski Area
Red River Ski Area

With the 2009-2010 ski season, Red River Ski Area celebrated more than 50 years of providing excellent downhill skiing in northern New Mexico. The lifts at Red River Ski Area rise straight up from the edge of town, so multiple lodging (rooms, suites, studios, condos, luxury mountain homes), eating and apres-ski opportunities are just a few steps away. The slopeside ski area lodge offers ski and snowboard rentals and an equipment tune-up shop.

The Red River area is steeped with history. Ute and Jicarilla Apaches raided the nearby pueblos and roamed this area for hundreds of years. When the first European explorers, fur trappers and prospectors came to the area, they put River City (as Red River was first known) on the map. Hundreds of gold, silver and copper mines with names like Golden Treasure, Silver King and Black Copper were carved into these mountains. Red River was a boom town, for a while. There were two general mercantiles, two newspapers, a livery stable, sawmill, blacksmith shop, barber shop, more than a dozen saloons, several hotels and boarding houses, a dance hall and a hospital. There was also red light district with plenty of soiled doves, high stakes gambling and barroom brawls to keep folks entertained.

Eventually, the mines played out but early on the homesteaders began to outnumber the prospectors. Red River gained a new lease on life by renting abandoned mining cabins to flatland visitors seeking refuge from the heat. In the late 1920s and early 1930s Red River started to evolve into the "mountain playground" that it is today.

Red River Ski Area's Moon Star Mining Camp is a unique experience straight out of Red River's mining past. Red River was popular with trappers in the early 1800's and prospectors followed in the 1850's and 60's. During a brief gold-mining boom, Red River's population soared to 3,000 (it's around 450 now), but by the early 1900s, the mines were finished and town was almost deserted.

Several years ago, a few Red River locals noticed more and more Louisianans coming to town during Mardi Gras week. So they decided to throw a party - or more accurately, a Mardi Gras-style "coon-ass" party. Now, this increasingly popular event includes nightly balls, costumes, lots of beads, parades down the slopes and down Main Street and lots of good Cajun cooking. The party usually runs from around Feb. 7th to about the 12th, "if'n yer intrested."

Red River Ski Area
The ski slopes come down right at the edge of town

Quick Facts about Red River Ski Area

Season: Late November - Early April (Weather permitting)
Hours of operation: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, MST
Lifts: 7:
  • 2 triple chairs
  • 4 double chairs
  • 1 surface lifts

Average annual snowfall: 218"
Snowmaking: 87%

Base Elevation: 8,750 ft
Summit elevation: 10,350 ft
Vertical Rise: 1,600 ft
Total Ski/Board Terrain: 660 acres
Number of Trails: 57
Trail Classifications:
Beginner: 32%
Intermediate: 38%
Expert: 30%
 
Red River Ski Area
Red River Ski Trails map: click on the map for a larger version
Ski Trails Maps courtesy of Red River Ski Area
Photos courtesy of TheArmchairExplorer, CCA-by-SA 3.0 License