Are you a single woman on the hunt? Get the inside scoop on the species of single men who roam the ski slopes in Taos, Red River, Angel Fire and Sante Fe.
I’m a ski bunny in a Valley girl’s body. I long for the snow, the slopes and après ski hot rum toddies by the fire. But what’s a rabbit to do when she gets a wild hare about wanting to ski in whiter pastures? She high-tails it over to New Mexico for some of the best skiing on the continent.
At the same time, I’ve been curious about the single life in these resort areas. Most people are there for a few days or the season, setting the stage for relationships that have expiration dates.
My hunt for singular snowmen started with my arrival at the famous Taos Ski Valley. Wow! This mountain is what most snow warriors dream of with over 12,000 vertical feet of challenging terrain, as well as several intermediate and beginner trails for the less experienced skier and snowboarder.
Taos is rich in history and has beautiful scenery with a relaxed, rustic, no-frills atmosphere. There is plenty of powder on the slopes. I skied a few runs and tried to find out about the local singles scene, but most of the ski instructors were so young they resembled pre-natal ultrasound images. So I headed to Taos Ski Valley’s best bar, the St. Bernard, to find some interview sources old enough to order a drink.
The St. Bernard is one of those wonderful places where you can sit on benches surrounding a big, blazing hearth and shoot the breeze with other like-minded snow people. This is where I found 46-year-old Steve, who told me the men outnumber women by five to one. In fact, the locals have a saying: “You don’t lose your girlfriend, you just lose your turn.” Meaning, the women get to decide who they want, when they want, and for how long.
The St. Bernard was where I also met 50-year-old “Wild Bill.” Bill lives in Taos year round and claims the average 21-year-old can’t keep up with him. He said he can read women like a horse whisperer reads a mustang, and offered these anecdotes: If a girl smokes and bites her nails, she’s easy. (I wondered if that theory still stood if she had fabulous gel overlays like mine.) Then he turned his attention to my attributes and said the size of my hoop earrings was indicative of the girth of “manhood” I enjoy. Well, I’ve been known to wear hoops with a four-inch diameter but I wouldn’t describe that as enjoyable.
I had a great dinner at Rhoda’s Restaurant, located slope-side in the Taos Resort Center. The quality and diversity of the surf and turf items on the menu was excellent and so was the wine. Rhoda’s has a quiet, sit-down atmosphere and the outside deck is a good spot to observe the action on the mountain.
That night I stayed at the Edelweiss Lodge and Spa, at the base of the Taos slopes — clean, cozy, warm. There is a charming crescent-shaped bar in the lobby, lined with glowing votives. The rooms are luxurious and modern, adorned with dark solid wood furniture, and natural stone tiled bathrooms.
My next destination: Red River, a rustic mining town at the edge of the Rockies that still has its cowboy charm. There are some challenging slopes here but most of the trails are geared towards the fair-weather skier. As for the town, the shops and restaurants are plentiful, and all within walking distance from the resort.
I met a charming ski instructor here nicknamed Banker Bob. A self-proclaimed “gregarious hermit,” he’s a divorced 60-year-old banking crisis manager who was sick of always being in a high stress job, and wanted to start living life on his own terms. Bob was financially secure enough to move up to the mountains, teach skiing as a hobby, and then work on and off as a banking consultant.
Banker Bob skied with me and showed me the mountain’s best runs. He is wonderfully charismatic so I inquired about his dating status. He says he loves women but relationships just get complicated. He admitted that he’s not very good with public displays of affection or even private ones at that! He even volunteered that he was “goal oriented” in bed, meaning he never took much of an interest in pleasing his lovers. He said, “I’m a three-minute man, if you catch my drift.”
When my toes started to freeze, I skied down to the Lift House Bar for some hot apple cider and the best onion rings in town. This is a very friendly watering hole where most of the customers are regulars. I sat at the bar and encountered a 31-year-old firefighter and part-time bartender, Jonathan Rouer. When I asked him for his take on the local singles scene, he recited a local expression: “Red River is good for men and dogs but hard on women and horses.” He lost me so I asked him to explain: “Everyone wants to ride them but nobody wants to feed them.” Crikey! I expected him to burst out laughing but he was dead serious.
That night I stayed at the Caribel Condominiums — a hop, skip and a jump from the base of the mountain. For people who enjoy a country-home setting with big, fluffy lay-z-boy chairs and a full kitchen, this place is for you. However, I didn’t have to use the stove because I was treated to a fantastic “sizzling bourbon steak” served on a cast iron skillet with sautéed mushrooms at the Timbers Steakhouse, just a few blocks away. This restaurant was woodsy and relaxed, with energetic servers.
My next destination: the Angel Fire Resort, a very upscale and well-equipped facility. The skiing was great. I rode the chair lift with lots of advanced skiers, but there were too many families with young’uns finding their ski legs. Fortunately, Angel Fire’s après ski culture was perfect. I had drinks in the resort’s romantic wine bar called En Fuego and then moved over to the Caliente Grill for dinner. The food here was unparalleled — dry aged steaks, thick chops, even a house-smoked salmon, with presentation that is world class.
I spent a lot of the day skiing with Dave Knight, a 37-year-old senior ski patroller at Angel Fire. He was very talkative and when I asked about resort relationships, he said, “The first two weeks in December is when employees arrive — many from South America and Central America. If you want someone to keep you warm during the winter, you have to get in there right away, or you’ve blown it and someone else is going to be a lucky man.”
I traveled back to Santa Fe that night and had dinner at Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen — with the most exquisite and authentic, freshly made blue corn enchiladas, tamales, and guacamole, this side of the Mississippi!
Day four was spent at Ski Santa Fe. This wonderful resort is nestled high in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains and was jammed-packed with happy snow worshippers. The view from the summit is stunning and delivers thrills including steep mogul runs and powder-filled chutes.
While in the chalet, I met a very handsome local divorcé named Michael Pullen. He’s 53 years old and is a retired math and science teacher. He has a ranch where he breeds Quarter horses and Australian Shepherds. He teaches fly-fishing in the summer and is a skiing instructor in the winter.
Michael’s ex told him she wanted a divorce on the day he planted yellow roses for her. After the divorce, acting on the advice from an old friend, he ripped out the yellow roses, planted red ones, and as soon as they produced buds, he asked out the first woman he saw. Although that gal didn’t pan out, he seems happy and at peace.
The common denominator between these singular mountain men is they are passionate about their personal interests. Even when there isn’t a woman in their life, they have their first love, which seems to be snow sports. I think that’s why they’re attracted to career women — it guarantees time to enjoy their own hobbies.
As for as the local women in these New Mexico mountain towns, they seem content with the singles scene. They’ve even adopted an old saying as their motto to describe the local men: “The odds are good but the goods are odd.”
Edelweiss Lodge and Spa
106 Sutton Place
Taos Ski Valley, NM 87525
700 W. Claim Jumper Road
Red River, NM 87558
800 237 7310
Ski Santa Fe
2209 Brothers Road, suite 220
Santa Fe, NM 87505
505 982 4429
Angel Fire Resort
10 Miller Lane
Angel Fire, NM 87710
800 633 7463
Red River Ski Area / Lift House Bar & Grill
200 Pioneer Road
Red River, NM 87558
575 754 2223
Taos Ski Valley
Rhoda’s Restaurant / St. Bernard Hotel & Bar
Taos Ski Valley, NM 87525
866 968 7386
Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen
555 West Cordova Road
Santa Fe, NM 87505
505 983 7929