Red River, New Mexico: Eat, Play, Stay

When I heard there was a ski hill in Red River, New Mexico, my first thought was ”Really?!” I’ve called Colorado home for nearly a decade—a transplant from the rolling hills of Pennsylvania—and, while I’ve hit my fair share of resorts and ski destinations across the state, I had never ventured south—until this season. 

Red River Ski and Summer Area dubs itself as a “real ski town.” Nestled at 8,750 feet in the southern Sangre de Cristo mountains of northern New Mexico, the family-owned ski area has been operating for over 60 years and is unlike any ski resort I’ve ever visited. For a seemingly small blip on the map, Red River delivers big fun. The lodging and restaurant scene was surprisingly robust—and the skiing. Oh, the skiing! Even with the low-snow conditions we experienced (remember, we’re in La Nina this year, people!), our family had so much fun ripping groomers and exploring tree runs. 

Whether you’re solo or in need of a family getaway, Red River is a must-visit this season, next season, and each following year! And to prove it, check out our recap below.

EAT

STEAM Coffee Company in Red River, NM

From the delicious food and fantastic spirits to filling breakfasts and fresh baked goods, this town has its food and beverage options dialed!

Breakfast: T Bucks is your go-to for early breakfast eats. The cinnamon roles are the size of dinner plates and the other grab-and-go baked goods are equally delicious! We also enjoyed the quintessential New Mexico breakfast options and kids menu.

Coffee: Our family’s personal favorite Red River stop was the STEAM Coffee Co. The Lift swing, tunes and breakfast burritos were on point!

Brunch/Lunch/Drinks: Red River Brewing Company and Distillery was our game day go-to. Their appetizers are unmatched and the tequila is fantastic! Be sure to add this award-winning brewery/distillery to your list – a table is 100% worth the wait, even if you go during the busy time of day!

Dinner/Drinks: If you’re a burger lover, the Dairy Bar is a must! It may have limited indoor seating, but the burgers (and BBQ, to be honest!) were some of the best I’ve had in a minute! But, if you’re looking for fantastic tacos and yummy bar food, hit the family-friendly Bull O’ the Woods. With tap upon tap on the walls, their beer selection is other-worldly and our kiddos loved the pool tables.

PLAY

Red River Ski and Summer Area has over 60 trails served by 7 lifts. From the newest 3-seater Platinum, and 4-seater, Emerald, to the classic 2-seater, Copper, every lift ride was fantastic. They were fast (top to bottom averaged 12-14 minutes), efficient (with mid-mountain drop off options) and always fun (thanks to the views!).

Copper Chair passes right over Red River and up to the top of the mountain. It has great views of the terrain, the surrounding mountains and everything in between!
Scoping out early season conditions from the Platinum Chair.
Forest (5) ready throwing a thumbs-up from the Gold Chair and ready to rip!

The Skiing

Alright, alright, I know this is what you’ve really been waiting for. Let me cut to the chase: Red River is…FUN! I don’t say this often, but, the groomers were perfection. While we didn’t have any powder days (remember that whole La Nina thing?), but the hard-pack corduroy was some of the best I’ve ever experienced.

From summit to base area, our crew had a great skiing experience. Some of our personal favorites included:

Easy Way Down: Best top-bottom run for our kiddos! And some of the best views while on the snow.
Purkapiles Secret Trail: Best aspen run on the mountain! This green run might be rated “easy”, but that doesn’t mean advanced skiiers won’t find it insanely fun…and beautiful!
Moonstar Mining Camp: Best family-fun spot on the hill! This reconstructed mining town was full of old buildings and neat signs.
Moonstar Mining Camp: if I’m not skiing, you better believe I’m fishing! Also, Animals in the Forest was a great interactive opportunity from the Emerald Chair and through the camp. The kiddos loved finding the different animal pictures in the forest and it also helped us encourage the kids on their final run when they started getting tired.
Last run: Taking Broadway to the Lift House meant we only had a short walk to our hotel (Alpine Lodge) located right across the street.

The Special Events

Finally, the after-party! After skiing all day and wrapping up dinner, we walked back to our hotel on Saturday night to a heck of a show! Red River’s Torchlight Parade happens every Saturday night and features fireworks and a spectacular on-snow light show. It’s one I was glad to have a front row seat for!

To find out more and book your trip, check out Red River Ski & Summer Area! And a quick Pro Tip for those of you with season passes at other resorts. Red River does participate in reciprocity programs at with several other ski destinations. Find out more on their Season Passes page.

STAY

Alpine Lodge in Red River, NM

From quaint cabins to locally-owned motels and suites, Red River offers a lot of great lodging options. Our favorite part about the Alpine Lodge was it’s location. Our room had a perfect, front-and-center view of the ski area’s run known as “The Face”, where the Torchlight Parade, “Race the Face” snowmobile race and other great events occur! And did I mention the hot tubs? Ya, Alpine Lodge is ok in my book!

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