Discover Pristine NM Cross Country Skiing

January 6, 2015 | By: Monica Christofferson

Discover Pristine Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing in Northern New Mexico!

Breathtaking natural beauty and the quiet stillness of a snow covered trail are just part of the appeal of cross country skiing and snowshoeing in New Mexico. The Land of Enchantment offers a wealth of outstanding landscapes, trails, and events that focus on these simple, but demanding winter sports.

At the unforgettable Valles Caldera — a 13.7-mile wide national preserve in the Jemez Mountains of Northern New Mexico — you’ll discover one of the most pristine winter landscapes in North America. Created during the eruption of a super volcano over 1 million years ago, today you can immerse yourself in the quiet tranquility of this premier Nordic skiing and snowshoeing destination.

There are miles of professionally groomed trails for all levels of experience. Adventurous cross-country skiers and snowshoers may also trek off the beaten path to break their own trails within the 5,000-acre Valle Grande – the largest of several grassy valleys within the Valles Caldera. Depending on the snow depth, you might spot some elk wintering on the Preserve, coyotes, or perhaps a few bald eagles feeding along the East Fork of the Jemez River.

Reservations are not required, but check in at the Valle Grande Information Center and Gift Shop to pay for your Day-Use Permit. Snowshoe rentals are available and two warm lodges complement the amenities.

One of the highlights of the season are the Moonlight Events, which allow you to experience the magic of the Preserve after the sun goes down. Purchase your permit as late as 8 p.m. on the day-of, then enjoy the full moon, bonfires, and stars until 9 p.m. Be sure to take advantage of the final two Moonlight dates on Jan. 31 and March 7.

Click the below to start planning your trip to the Valle Caldera National Preserve: Skiing/Snowshoeing

For those looking to get their competitive juices flowing, New Mexico’s premier cross country ski event — the 42nd Chama Chile Ski Classic and Winter Fiesta — will be held Jan. 17 & 18 at Windy Point (just below Cumbres Pass on Highway 17, 12 miles north of Chama).

The event will feature both freestyle and classic style cross country races, a snowshoe race, and combined ski/snowshoe competitions. All races are held on pristine forest property course with rolling hills at close to 10,000-foot elevation and a special half-mile stretch along the historic Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad tracks.

This year’s course has been modified slightly to improve the track by creating more smooth curves and better approaches to hills resulting in a better ski and snowshoe experience. The 12K Classic course is two loops of the 6K course and 18K Skate Skiing ski course is three loops of the 6K. The 6K-snowshoe course is the same as the 6K ski and will start shortly after the start of the 6K ski, to preserve the “classic” tracks.

6K Freestyle – 1 loop around the race course

18K Freestyle – 3 loops

6K Classic & 6 K Snowshoe – 1 loop

12K Classic Ski – 2 loops

6K/6K Combined – 2 loops

12K/6K Combined – 3 loops

Each day also includes live music, beer & wine tasting, dinners, special clinics, etc. Learn more registration, detailed race info, and an overview of all the weekend action below:

42nd Chama Chile Ski Classic and Winter Fiesta


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