Jan 23rd
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A Southwest Adventure

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A Southwest Adventure
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A Southwest Adventure

January 20-23...
    My husband Vic and I planned this ski trip last August and discussed going to the Arizona Snow Bowl in Flagstaff with a stop in Taos, New Mexico but we decided against going to Taos when we realized snowboarding wasn’t available there. We decided to go first to Angel Fire Resort (www. angelfireresort.com) also in New Mexico, then drive to Flagstaff, Arizona. This smaller resort, Angel Fire, is located in the same mountain range as Taos and offers snowboarding runs and A view of the Grand Canyonlessons as well as downhill skiing.
    We flew from Orlando with a stop in Denver then landing in Albuquerque early afternoon where we picked up our rental car, a Dodge Durango full-size SUV. We wanted four-wheel drive for road conditions along with plenty of space for luggage storage and ample seating for the three kids, Alyx, Trevor, and Catherine.
    Along the three and a half hour route driving to Angel Fire Resort we passed several casinos and saw many pueblo style homes and businesses, reddish brown in color and with rounded edges on the outer walls and flat roof lines. The road from Taos up to the resort was narrow and winding and the temperature had dropped with the elevation gain, to 39 degrees.             
Alyx on the slopes of Angel Fire Ski Resort
    Angel Fire Resort is located in the Wheeler Peak mountain range, the highest in New Mexico with 8,600-ft. elevation at the base of the ski resort and 10,677-ft. elevation at the summit.
    The resort offers two high speed quad and three double chair lifts. You’ll find 67 ski runs – 31% of them beginner, 48% intermediate, and 21% advanced. The average snowfall is 210 inches annually and there are snowmaking facilities on 52% of the ski runs. In addition to downhill skiing and snowboarding, activities at Angel Fire include snow bikes, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, tubing, sleigh rides, and ice skating.
    Angel Fire Resort has been purchased by Fairfield Resorts and some units are being converted to timeshare lodging. Renovations are currently in progress.
    Trevor enjoyed several private snowboarding lessons and Alyx took a private ski lesson. The learning curve for Trevor was tough but the instructor was patient and helpful giving our son some extra time and extra tips for tackling the slopes with a snowboard. Both kids had a great time.

January 23-February 2...
    A long driving day to Arizona Snowbowl (www.arizonasnowbowl. com; 928-779-1951), about 530 mi. and 11 hrs., from Angel Fire west toward Flagstaff (www.flagstaff chamber.com) in northern Arizona, which took us through Farmington and Shiprock in northern New
Sedona's sandstone cliffs Mexico. Because of rain and minimal snow conditions at Snowbowl, we took a couple of side trips and visited, first, the Northern Arizona Museum inFlagstaff. Interesting geological exhibits showed that at one time the region was under the ocean and also how the San Francisco Mountains were formed by volcanic action. Other exhibits showed how the scenic Monument Valley was formed by water and wind erosion. The kids enjoyed seeing a mastodon’s tooth, a dinosaur leg and tooth, and a skull of a predecessor of the alligator.
    We then drove south on State Route 89A through Oak Creek Canyon and into the picturesque tourist town of Sedona (www. sedonachamber.com). The earlier winter flooding in the area had receded. The red rocks of Sedona’s sandstone cliffs were breathtaking. We found a great place for lunch with an awesome view of the red
Cliff dwellings at Montezuma's Castle National Historic Site.dish colored cliffs, Shugrue’s Hillside Grill in the Hillside Sedona Plaza. After lunch we headed south and stopped to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross which was completed in 1956 and built on a twin pinnacled spur about 250 ft. high. Catholic services are held here on Saturdays and Sundays. There is a gift shop on the lower level.
    We continued south on Highway 17 to visit Montezuma’s Castle National Historic Site. We learned that these high cliffside dwellings were built around 1200 A.D., and were used by the Sinagua Indians until 1450, when they left the area for unknown reasons. Turning north from here we headed back to Flagstaff a distance of about 50 miles.
    The kids enjoyed more skiing at Arizona Snowbowl for the next couple of days, then we took another side trip, this time to Walnut Canyon an important Sinagua community between 1125 and 1150 A.D. The site was placed under the protection of the National Park Service in 1933 but vandals and pothunters had already carried away much of the cultural material including earthenware pots. The .9 mile round-trip walk includes a steep climb of 250 steps from the ranger station down to Island Trail to see a fascinating array of some 25 cliff dwellings. Elevation at the canyon rim is about 7,000-ft.


Where is Miles?

Miles is climbing one of earth's geological wonders. Where is he? Click here to find out.


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