Not much to do in Angel Fire related to off the slope activities. We spent most of our nights having dinner and relaxing by the fireplace.
1 N Angel Fire Rd, Angel Fire, NM 87710
Good for: Solo
10 Miller Lane
Good for: Solo
28 Aspen St, Angel Fire, NM, 87710
Highway 434 Main St, Angel Fire, NM 87710
Our best meals were on the slopes at a bar-b-que place (sorry, can't remember the names). They grilled veggie burgers for us. We also had a nice lunch at a mexican restaurant at the base of the lifts.
Due to the warm temps in January, there was lots of man-made snow, and lots of ice on the slopes. No fluffy powder here.
At the heart of the memorial is the chapel. Its elegant design inevitably draws the eye, and will draw your footsteps too. It is never locked – one of the conditions imposed by the Westphall family on passing the memorial over to be run as a state park (another was that there is no charge made to visitors, making it the only free state park in New Mexico). The reason for this “always open” policy is simple. When Victor Westphall first built the chapel, he used always to lock the doors at night. One morning when he returned he found a note that had been scrawled on a piece of scrap plywood, which read, “Why did you lock the doors when I needed to come in?” Since then the doors have never been locked.
Inside the chapel is a small auditorium with a few rows of seats looking down to this elegant candle stick caught in a shaft of light. The impact that the chapel makes on visiting bereaved families is evident in the strategically placed boxes of paper tissues dotted around the benches.
Photographs of thirteen Vietnam War dead are on display in the Chapel. The photographs are rotated every month, alphabetically by state. The one of David Westphall remains on display permanently.
Elsewhere in the grounds of the memorial is this moving sculpture by Taos artist Doug Scott, depicting a soldier struggling to compose a letter home to his parents. An inscription by the sculptor reads:
The words “Dear mom and dad”
are written ... now what?
He can’t tell them what he is seeing.
He can’t tell them what he is doing.
His eyes see a foreign land.
His heart sees the other side of the world.”
This may be a memorial to one particular war, but surely those words, and that dilemma, must ring true to any soldier, anywhere. For me this was the most moving thing at the memorial, as it emphasises the gulf between those who have fought, and are fighting, and the rest of us, who can only guess at (and only half-comprehend) a fraction of what they must experience.
This is my last tip; if you want you can return to my Intro page
In the grounds of the memorial is this Bell Iroquois UH-1 Helicopter, popularly known as the Huey. These helicopters are the most widely used in the world, and it was during the Vietnam War that they evolved into an essential resource on the battlefield. They were used for troop transport, ferrying cargo, air assault and medical evacuation, helping to overcome the challenges of warfare in the dense jungles. A Huey made it possible for a wounded soldier to be in a hospital within one hour, dramatically increasing survival rates.
This particular Huey, named “Viking Surprise”, was involved in a difficult and dangerous rescue mission in March 1967. It laid down smoke cover while other helicopters saw to the evacuation of troops. In its 13 passes over the area it was hit by 135 bullets, six of them through the pilot’s compartment. After repairs it went back into service, and was brought here to the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial State Park by the New Mexico National Guard in May 1999.
Skiing is the main reason most people go to Angel Fire, and night-skiing is probably the most exotic activity, but just being that high (over 8400 feet) and looking out over the Moreno Valley to the mountains beyond is great.
But the place to go to figure what's right for you and your companion or family is Angel Fire Fun, http://www.angelfirefun.com, the Angel Fire Convention and Visitors Bureau site. Or if you're already en route, just stop in at the Visitors Center, 3365 Highway 434 (also known as Mountain View Boulevard).
Fondest memory: The most memorable experience was a visit to the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial. It's a beautiful building on the outside, but inside is where the memories are. It's powerful to leaf through the book of soldiers who died or are still missing, and read their stories, see their pictures.