Angel Fire resort, a town of 1,200 twenty-two miles northeast of Taos near Eagle Nest Lake, is the planned-resort version of Red River, conceived in the Moreno Valley between Eagle Nest and Taos 32 years ago—Angel Fire is to Red River what Vail is to Aspen on a New Mexico scale or, more to the point, it’s the Woodlands on the high range. Though the runs here were designed to make the most of the 2,077-foot vertical, it’s not the most challenging of mountains. In fact, it’s possible to do the front and back sides from top to bottom on easy green runs alone.

Recently, Angel Fire Resort has been upgraded with a $40 million expansion program that began when the Dallas partnership Craig Martin and Tim Allen bought the place three years ago. Improvements on the ski hill include two detachable high-speed quad chair lifts (which have shrunk lift lines and greatly cut the ride time to the top), ten new trails, and wider alleys; the country club golf course has been designated a cross-country ski center in the winter; and a lighted tubing park has been added next to the base of the ski area. Snowboarding events cultivate a snowboard-friendly reputation, and the first phase of a new 14,000-square-foot day care facility and children’s ski school opens this season.

Meanwhile, the real play is in land. “Construction and home development in the past two years have exploded,” says Kelley Davidson, the resort’s marketing director. “It’s the hottest real estate market in northern New Mexico.”—J.N.P.

Season: November 25—March 28 (800-633-7463;

Size: 443 acres, 67 runs (31 percent beginner, 48 percent intermediate, 21 percent expert).

Lifts/prices: 6 lifts. Full-day lift ticket $26 from November 25—December 17, $39 thereafter; half-day ticket $30. On-slope satisfaction guarantee: If you don’t like the snow conditions within the first hour, you get credit for another day.

2005 Note: Please check for up-to-date fees and services information.