Enjoying winter in Santa Fe

With a whole string of brief storms whirling though the Southwest this winter, the mountains above Santa Fe are primed with snow and full of opportunities for skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, or just taking a short walk up on a snow-packed trail in winter light. Just look at this webcam up at Ski Santa Fe! Check out the happy hikers enjoying their first snowshoe walk on Outspire’s Facebook page!

Just this past Sunday I needed to get out for some fresh air and exercise, and so I headed up the road to Aspen Basin, just below Ski Santa Fe, and parked at the Nordic Ski Area, armed with snowshoes and a thermos of hot tea. You can’t snowshoe on the Norski trails – those are reserved for cross-county skiers in winter – but the Winsor Trail passes through the parking area, and at this time of year, only snowshoes will let you enjoy this popular hike.

The Norski Trails, especially groomed for cross-country skiing

I headed down the Winsor Trail along a path trenched into well-packed snow.

The Winsor Trail

Lovely winter light streamed down through the trees and kept me warm the entire way.

Down the Winsor Trail!

This particular part of the forest is dominated by wonderful groves of Douglas Fir. Aspen mix in too:

Young aspen along the path

And since we are still within the mixed-conifer zone, a variety of pines and firs tower overhead:

Douglas fir, Ponderosa, and White Fir forming an open canopy below a beautiful winter sky

It wasn’t long before the packed trail became the road less traveled, and the snowshoes proved their worth.

Taking a break for tea

In places the fine, ancient bones of the mountains peeked out on southern slopes,

but along most the the trail the snow was thick and enveloping:

A small stream buried in snow

The winter forest is peaceful, yet remarkably invigorating. I credit the light, which illuminates the forest from below as well as above on sunny afternoons. But even a snowy day will bring its own magic:

“Between every two pine trees is a doorway to a new world” John Muir

So come join us this winter, and make time to enjoy our snowy forests while you are here. The Inn on the Alameda offers an anniversary special that makes a three-night stay in January or February particularly affordable, and there won’t be any summer crowds at your favorite restaurants.  And we’ll be happy to point the way up the mountain for your winter adventure!