Santa Fe: The Sure Cure for Cabin Fever

There’s no hiding from the fact that Old Man Winter has the northern hemisphere firmly in his frosty grip. Santa Fe’s 320-plus days of sunshine help mitigate winter’s icy hold and even the season’s short days still seem long – especially now that I’ve read all the books I got for Christmas. There’s only one cure: get up and go! Care to leave the cabin and come along?

Mountain Medicine is a Cure-all

Ninety five percent of Ski Santa Fe’s 77 trails are open, groomed and ready to tackle on skis or boards. Schussing down the hillside beneath a cloudless blue sky or catching some air on a mogul makes you feel totally alive. An easy 16-mile drive leads to the 10,350-foot base and 660 pristine acres. Unless you’re wedded to your gear, forget schlepping and rent what you need (or forgot) at the Ski Shop. After that, it’s up to you!

Skis or boards, simply Ski Santa Fe and you do either! (Photo Credit: Ski Santa Fe)
Skis or boards, simply Ski Santa Fe and you do either! (Photo Credit: Ski Santa Fe)

The runs (20 percent easy, 40 percent intermediate and 40 percent expert) and colorfully named trails (Burro Alley, Desperado, Muerte) are unmistakably New Mexico.  The winter event schedule mixes weekend races with Beats on the Basin monthly afternoon concerts. And that cute guy serving Irish coffee at Totemoff’s Bar midway up the mountain? Call that an added bonus!

If slow immersion into snow-white alpine surroundings is your thing, choose snowshoes. Outspire Hiking & Snowshoeing’s tours are an irresistible temptation to bundle up and venture out into the forest. If you’re a novice like me, Outspire’s great guides really help you get the rhythm right. The plop of snow dropping from a Ponderosa pine, the screech of a hawk circling overhead, a gust of wind dropping the last dead leaves from an aspen grove – Santa Fe’s unique winter beauties quietly await your audience.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland is the tune you’ll be singing when you take a snowshoe hike with Outspire. (Photo Credit: Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing)
Walking in a Winter Wonderland is the tune you’ll be singing when you take a snowshoe hike with Outspire. (Photo Credit: Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing)

Santa Fe Loves Stars on Ice

Those 320-plus days of sunshine I mentioned mean no outdoor ice skating, but that doesn’t mean you can’t skate to your heart’s content. The Genoveva Chavez Center, home to basketball and racquetball courts, an indoor running track, full-on fitness facilities, lap pool and warm-water therapy pool, also boasts Santa Fe’s open-daily ice rink. And with a climate-controlled environment, instead of layering up into immobility, you can glide with comfort and ease.

Holiday on Ice? A Hanukkah party at the Genoveva Chavez Rink made that happen and private parties are welcome! (Photo Credit: Genoveva Chavez Community Center)
Holiday on Ice? A Hanukkah party at the Genoveva Chavez Rink made that happen and private parties are welcome! (Photo Credit: Genoveva Chavez Community Center)

The variety of available activities makes the Chavez Center a family-friendly destination. Skates are an easy rental, and there’s ample seating for spectators to take a picture of your precise pirouetting or watch a battle on hockey skates.

Warm Up Your New Mexico Visit the Meso-American Way

A cup of hot cocoa is the classic winter companion. But Santa Fe’s hot chocolate has City Different style. If you’ve never tasted the nectar that ancient Meso-Americans created from cacao, you’re in for a surprise. Kakawa Chocolate House takes tastebuds on a chocolate adventure you won’t soon forget.

Picturing – and partaking of - a perfect potion at Kakawa is a sweet Santa Fe sensation.
Picturing – and partaking of – a perfect potion at Kakawa is a sweet Santa Fe sensation.

Kakawa’s chocolate elixirs are a revelation that changed the way I think about the cup of comfort Mom served after the mittens came off. Deep, rich, not overly sweet or bitter, these beverages deserve to be sipped and savored slowly. Spiked with native herbs or flowers (and of course, there’s a chile iteration), these concoctions are lovingly hand-crafted into an alternative universe of chocolate flavor. The Pre-Columbian era receives its due, as do 16th and 17th century Europe. American versions run the gamut from Jeffersonian to contemporary, along with original recipes like Modern Mexican and Chai. No wonder the New York Times called Kakawa a 36-Hours must! And with artisanal 80 percent dark chocolate creations made in-house, I guarantee you’ll be back!

You’ve Earned a Cuddle-Up by the Fireplace

Once you’ve gotten your ya-ya’s out, cabin fever is history. That’s when it’s time to toast your toes and challenge your nose over a wine glass. When day is done, grab a seat at El Cañon Cafe & Bar inside the Hilton Santa Fe and you’ve got it made.

Light up the night with a visit to the Hilton Santa Fe for a glass of vino at El Cañon! (Photo Credit: Hilton Santa Fe)
Light up the night with a visit to the Hilton Santa Fe for a glass of vino at El Cañon! (Photo Credit: Hilton Santa Fe)

Part of El Cañon’s coziness comes from the 300-year-old hacienda it calls home. The location is ideal for friendly coffee meet-ups but nighttime is the right time to warm up by the kiva fireplace and compare vintages from the extensive wine list. Light dinner fare lets you create your own pairings in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere that just says “ahhh, Santa Fe.” Be sure to check out the Hilton’s Winter Getaway Package, which thoughtfully includes two adult beverages nightly!

Escape for the Cure

Share a toast to Santa Fe and beat those winter’s blues.
Share a toast to Santa Fe and beat those winter’s blues.

Don’t let winter keep you home on the range and stuck in the house. A Santa Fe getaway is the perfect prescription for curing winter weariness. Plus, there’s no better time to catch the year’s best specials. And what could be more special than fresh snow, azure skies, and a memorable spot for sharing a glass of wine by a warm piñon fire? 

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