I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, during what was probably a pretty stupid time. I mean, it’s the middle of a pandemic. My first view of the city was a two-week quarantine. I am adamant about having an eventful and exciting winter here despite that fact (or because of it?).
COVID rates in New Mexico are currently skyrocketing. No one wants to get ill, and I especially hope none of you want to get others sick. Santa Fe is in a RED county at the moment. That means high alert, masks up, sanitize with every breath you take sort of measures. Mass gatherings are limited to 5 individuals at the moment. State Park visitors must be able to prove that they live in New Mexico. Indoor dining is currently wholly prohibited.
So. What in the world are we supposed to do to keep ourselves entertained?
1. Get Physical
If sitting around inside all day watching Season 15 of Supernatural on Netflix isn’t your thing, you picked the right town to live in. Santa Fe is lucky to have such a vast array of outdoor activities right at our fingertips. This winter, don’t shy away from spending time in the Great Outdoors. However, if you choose to do so, it can only make you happier and healthier.
If a walk is on your mind, take a hike. The Santa Fe National Forest is a great place to start. Don’t discount other options like Pecos National Historic Park for a morning stroll or Bandelier National Monument for an all-day adventure. If you’re stuck on finding new trails, my go-to app has been All Trails for the past several years. You don’t need to pay for the app to get a plethora of amazing uses from it. Aside from finding new trails, the app makes it easy to record your hikes and track your miles. The Santa Fe Tourism Board also maintains an exhaustive list of must-hike trails and outdoor spaces.
If hiking isn’t your thing, why not try a little golf? Yes, you can golf in the winter. Try putting a few holes at the Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe. COVID hasn’t stopped tee time, but remember to reserve your place and pre-pay for your round (do so online, here). Unfortunately, there isn’t any rental equipment available right now. Social distancing remains strictly enforced. However, if you have a set of irons growing dust in your garage, now is the perfect time to whip those bad boys out.
Is getting a bit vertical is more your style? Winter weather not quite your thing? Indoor Rock Climbing is a blast for newbies, and the Santa Fe Climbing Gym is open and ready for your business. Everyone must make a reservation to climb to maintain social distancing and safe COVID procedures. Due to COVID, you must also have your own gear - rentals are not allowed at the moment. However, if you want a winter activity, get a pair of shoes on sale and hit the gym. If hanging by your fingers from some plastic several feet in the air doesn’t get your blood pumping and your adrenaline spiking, then you might be dead.
2. Go Shred Some Powder
Snowboard or ski, it doesn’t matter. Santa Fe is home to a world-class mountain and a short drive away from a few more spectacular alpine offers.
Ski Santa Fe is a short drive up the mountain, as most Santa Fe residents already know. Currently, the resort is limiting uphill traffic. You must make online reservations in order to get your lift ticket. However, if you act fast you can get the time you want. Weekdays especially are great for groups. Indoor dining on the mountain has ceased, but there is an outdoor grille for those who arrive hungry.
Taos Ski Valley is also open, and operating at 25% capacity as per State Mandate. All indoor dining is closed, but hungry shredders can eat their food outdoors. Purchase lift tickets ahead of time online. Although guests are discouraged from après this season, and it’s important to note: the resort is cashless. Meaning, bring your cards if you plan on eating!
Sandia Peak hasn’t received enough snowfall to set an opening date yet. If this is your go-to mountain, pray for snow! Although it’s not advisable to purchase lift tickets, the Tram is open daily starting 10 am until 5 pm. You must buy your tickets online prior to riding.
Angel Fire Resort has 26% of its terrain open at the moment. If you’re itching to ski in Santa Fe, but you want something a bit different, Angel Fire could be your destination. Lift tickets and season passes are available online. If skiing and ‘boarding isn’t your thing, Angel Fire has tubing on offer.
3. Dine. In Style. Outside?!
Indeed, Santa Fe doesn’t currently allow indoor dining. However, the restaurant industry here in New Mexico is staying strong through reinvention. Many local eateries have expanded patio dining in a whole new way this winter. Patio seats with nearby fireplaces or warmers are the new normal.
The National Restaurant Association has recently stated that over 100,000 US restaurants have closed their doors permanently due to COVID. If we don’t want Santa Fe to have a surging number of businesses on that list, we need to act.
If dining outdoors this winter isn’t your cup of tea (or a plate of tacos), consider ordering out. A lovely winter date night could certainly include indoor dining options at your own homemade for you buy a local chef. Plus, apps like UberEats and DoorDash make it easier than ever to avoid leaving the comfort of your living room.
What are you waiting for? Get to eating!
4. Get Insanely Pampered
After a day in the great New Mexican outdoors, is there anything better than soaking in a hot tub?
Um. No, there isn’t. Hot springs are known to be amazingly rejuvenating. There’s a reason for that. Hydrotherapy (soaking in water) has been linked to reducing pain from ailments like arthritis. Mineral baths have been shown to help soothe psoriasis and eczema. Plus, springs with a good mineral content can increase circulation in the body and augment blood flow. One reason behind the statistically good health could be the prevalence of onsen in the country.
So what’s there to lose? Speaking of the Japanese, did you know that there is a Japanese-style hot spring located a mere 10 minutes from Santa Fe?
Ten Thousand Waves is located a stone’s throw away from the Santa Fe National Forest. It is a spa (Ten Thousand Waves), an eatery (Izanami or She Who Invites, the Goddess of Creation in the Japanese Shinto religion), and a hotel (Houses of the Moon).
For a real splurge, treat yourself and a partner to one of the private hot tubs and then a massage. Ten Thousand Waves is one of the only places in the United States to offer shiatsu massage - a traditional healing Japanese art. Once you’re finished, luxuriate at Izanami with a bottle of high-quality sake (my go-to is nigori, an unfiltered type) and a plate of sashimi. If you can’t manage a drive after all of that pampering, spend a night in one of the lodge’s insanely gorgeous boutique hotel rooms or suites.