Sunday, March 18, 2012

Enchanted Forest Ski Trails - Red River, NM

The ski lodge at Enchanted Forest
The prognosticators are saying we will get at least one more pass of winter weather before Spring arrives for good, 4"-8" of fresh cold stuff predicted for the mountains this evening. So, before the skis are ceremoniously stowed away for next season I thought it would be appropriate to highlight a recent trip up to Enchanted Forest ski area with Todd and John. If you're looking for a last round of spring ski runs you'd be hard pressed to find a better place in northern New Mexico.

Owners Geoff and Ellen Goins have done an admirable job of building this nordic ski and snowshoeing destination a couple miles east of Red River, which sits about 12mi east of Questa, which sits about 30mi north of Taos. Such is the reason I hadn't visited before now, but the trip is well worth the drive. This is the best nordic skiing in northern New Mexico. Beginning from the full service ski lodge, 20mi of groomed and tracked trails fan out under cover of pine forest. Additional signed and mapped trails exist for snowshoeing and hiking with the dogs. It's a pretty well laid out place. 

Over and through miles of trail

The Captain cresting a hill
Intersection with the snowshoe system
The fellas and I had picked up complimentary ski passes at the Chama Chile Ski Classic in January, which provided all the incentive we needed to make this trip. I get a fair amount of flak from these two for bailing on group downhill days in favor of my early morning xc sessions, but on this day it was those two clumsily free-heeling along while I powered around on my skate-ski setup exploring all of the fantastic groomed track. We kept to the easy and moderate trails and saw several groups enjoying the favorable ski conditions we've had this year. Saw a few deer too, wondering what we were up to in their neck of the Carson forest.

One section of the trail system affords clear views of the upper Red River valley and the saddle between Wheeler Ridge and Gold Hill. I had stood up on that same ridge (in these same skis!) not three weeks before, looking down into this valley wondering what on earth was down here. Wouldn't you know it if it wasn't miles of heavenly ski tracks gliding through the woods. How's that for an unexpectedly cheers-worthy coincidence? I'll take more of that please.

The lower Wheeler Ridge from a distance
Dude and trail
A major benefit of the drive to Taos is the increasing number of micro-breweries in the area. We chose Eske's Pub for an apres-ski stop over the Taos Ale House and the Blue Heron Brewery in Embudo. Nothing quite completes a day on skis like stories with friends over a beer.

Eske's, a Taos establishment

Enchanted Forest Ski Area: Day passes $7-15, ski and snowshoe rentals available as well as waxing and tuning services. Seasonal events include the Low O2 Challenge NM Nordic Cup, national snowshoe race qualifier, ski and snowshoe clinics, and moonlight tours. There are even overnight yurt accommodations offered in a backcountry setting several miles up-trail (reservations required). 

See also:   
 - Area Nordic Trails Listing

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  1. Red River is a pretty cool place...lots of good trails around there. The town could use a bit of a update from Texas based tourism (salt water taffy, buggy rides, etc) but it really is a fun spot. Also amazing how NM people avoid the place. Ditto for Ruidoso.

  2. Matt - It's certainly tucked away some, but the remoteness of the place makes it really fun to visit. The addition of Enchanted Forest is a huge plus. -KB



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