Enchanted Circle ski areas gear up for winter

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Snow falls at Angel Fire Resort Thursday (Nov. 5). (Courtesy photo/Angel Fire Resort)

Snow is falling around the Enchanted Circle today, leaving skiers and boarders revved for the coming 2015-2016 season, and forecast are predicting “El Niño” will bring good snowfall for winter 2015-16. As with every year, ski area operators have been working non-stop to get ready for the season. Snowmaking operations are under way and  improvements, construction and maintenance are ongoing — anything to make our ski experience ever better. Here’s what’s in store:

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Snowguns at Angle Fire Resort (Photo provided)

Angel Fire Resort

Angel Fire Resort is investing in new snowmaking equipment with the goal to make snow more efficiently and at warmer temperatures. According to a resort press release, this will allow the resort to open more of its mountain earlier in the season.

“We are really excited to see how things play out this year. With the expected El Nino and the new snow making equipment combined it will allow us to give families the ultimate winter mountain experience and the best snow to enjoy it,” states Jamie Seifert, mountain operations manager, Angel Fire Resort.

Additionally, Jon Eppler, resort slope operations manager who has created parks for major events including The Winter X-Games and The Burton U.S. Open, was busy all summer transforming Liberation Park adding a wider range of user-friendly features, which enables riders to build their skills by experiencing progressive features throughout the park.

Eppler is a second-generation terrain park developer and feels that it’s imperative to create a mountain with uniformity and intuitive progressive features so that riders and skiers of all abilities can improve. The chairlift above the park has been renamed “Liberation Park Lift” Liberation Park’s creating New Mexico’s first terrain park with dedicated chairlift access.

“Having a dedicated lift for this terrain park is helpful for riders and skiers who want to spend their time in the park and not have to ride down to the bottom of the mountain each time,” Eppler said.

He also plans to create “Stash Parks” all over the ski mountain this winter, noting, “Stash Parks use non-conventional terrain park features, such as natural snow and logs to ride through as you make your way down the mountain. This breaks up the monotony of the green or blue run by creating fun terrain park features all the way the down the trail.”

Visit angelfireresort.com.

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Snow guns blow at Red River Ski & Summer Area Thursday (Nov. 5). (Photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)

Red River Ski & Summer Resort

Winter visitors to Red River Ski & Summer Area cannot miss the new Hidden Treasure Aerial Park on the beginner hill. This exciting new feature debuted in summer 2015 and will be re-open for business Memorial Weekend 2016. Aerial parks include different aerial challenges strung between huge poles at different levels above the ground. According to Red River Ski Area’s web site, the Hidden Treasure Aerial Park features three levels: the Junior Course, the More Difficult Course and the Most Difficult Course. It includes a junior harness zip line at the end of the first level and also a harness zip off the Most Difficult Course followed by the “Ultimate Decent” from the tower to the ground.

For decades, the area increased its snowmaking coverage to expand coverage area-wide. Improvements to ski terrain and buildings are ongoing. Visit redriverskiarea.com.

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Rendering of the new base area undergoing construction at Taos Ski Valley. (Image from the TSV website)

Taos Ski Valley

Work continues on the Blake Hotel, the new base-area resort that is scheduled to be completed in summer 2016. See here for updates.

In addition to the new Kachina Peak Lift that was opened to skiers and snowboarders last year, TSV’s slopes have been groomed to improve skiing conditions and snow-making capacity has been increased. A new base-area drop-off is also in the works. Visit skitaos.org.

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Snow falls at Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe Area Thursday (Nov. 5). (Photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)

Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area

Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area is doing normal upkeep and maintenance for the upcoming season. In recent years, the area has added two yurts for overnight rental as well as a mid-area “warming yurt” that allows day-use visitors to take a lunch break or get out of the cold. Season passes are discounted for individuals, couples and families until Nov. 15. Visit efxc.com.

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Snow at the Red River Ski & Summer Area Chalet. (Photo from the RRSA Facebook page)
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The Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe Area Thursday (Nov. 5). (Photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
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Snow on Al’s Run. (Photo from the TSV Facebook page)
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Base area construction at Taos Ski Valley. (Photo from the TSV website)