Red River Ski & Summer Area

red river article

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While most people spent the Super Bowl weekend glued to the TV with chips and salsa, 360 Magazine headed to Red River, New Mexico to celebrate the Mardi Gras festivities in the snow. Voted as one of the top five ski towns in the United States for Mardi Gras celebrations, the Red River Ski and Summer Area threw an unforgettable Roaring 20s theme party for locals and visitors alike, and our team was more than happy to be a part of it.

Located 168 miles from Albuquerque, the quaint ski resort town is easily reachable by car following the detailed instructions on the Red River website. Home to only 477 locals in a rich historical setting, the town is a home away from home for visitors across all life stages. What made this weekend so memorable, was the outstanding lodging, the vast array of outdoor activities, and the exclusive Mardi Gras festival. Here are some of the highlights and recommendations:

Red River Ski offers fifteen different lodging options on site, ideal for both small and large groups. For those looking to indulge in a bit of luxury, the Alpine Lodge on the River is the place to be with two private hot tubs, a fitness center, and dry sauna. Private fishing is available as well if you want to enjoy a little quiet time in nature. Three Bears Lodge combines a rustic atmosphere with modern comfort right in the center of town while keeping to a wallet-friendly standard. We stayed at the Auslender Condominiums which was just a short walk from the lifts and a couple of minutes from the town center. It is very accessible after a long day of skiing or hiking. Housing is from one to four fully furnished bedrooms and full sized kitchens. Each room either comes with a balcony or a deck, perfect for a laid back night while enjoying the gorgeous mountain view. Additionally, the shared community room is a great way to socialize with fellow travelers.

Red River offers many outdoor activities, such as snowmobile rides, skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. With great powder at all locations and at an average of 10,000 feet elevation, these were a blast to explore. First time skiers need not be afraid. The Red River staff’s friendly and patient approach puts any level of learner at ease. The beginner’s slope offers a great opportunity for practice and ensuring safety at all times. Generally, the terrains are for beginner and intermediate skiers; like the Moon-Star Mining Camp, advanced skiers and snowboarders will feel satisfied too, especially on the toughest run,  Catskinner. Other rider favorites are Pot O’ Gold Terrain Park and Hollywood Terrain Park. Want more than skiing? Then wade through the snow with an exhilarating snowmobile ride at 50 mph. We got our adrenaline fix on this fun, rugged terrain interspersed with steep drops. The snowmobile trails extend far beyond resort limits, so opportunities for adventure are endless. Greenie Peak at 11,249 feet, Valle Vidal—a 100,000 acre wildlife tract, and Upper Red River Valley are the most visited snowmobile destinations. If venturing out alone sounds scary, Red River has guided tours through Bobcat Pass Wilderness Adventures and Red River Sled Shed.

The day does not end there though, Motherlode Saloon welcomes the night owls for special, western inspired entertainment. Originally started by an entrepreneur and a wanna-be John Wayne, John Richard Grill settled on Main Street and made it his home in the ’50s. Eventually, his brother took the business further and succeeded under the name of Texas Reds and Motherlode Saloon. Although the gambling scene ended a few decades ago, it opened doors for many live entertainers to showcase their talent. A few of the visitors include Michael Martin Murphey, Gary P. Nunn, Rusty Weir, Leon Russell, and Ray Benson & Asleep at the Wheel. Michael Smith debuted as the most recent addition to the lineup. If singing is not enough, the saloon everyone off their seat with some good ol’ country dancing. Of course, having a good time would not be complete without a few kicker drinks and drink makers. As part of the Mardi Gras weekend, bartender teams showed off their mixing skills in a friendly competition to an enthusiastic audience.

This brings the weekend festivities to a wrap. Throughout the week, there were over 48 events to choose from, and these were just snippets of a grand celebration that continue to bring people back every year. Red River Ski and Summer Area has met and exceeded expectations in lodging, dining, and entertaining which is why we recommend it to all ages at all times. Ready for next year’s Mardi Gras? Save the date: February 23-28, 2017. For more info on winter and summer fun, visit


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