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Winter in Santa Fe

FIND YOUR BLISS Several brand-new spas and treatment rooms have opened in town in the past few months. The 7,000-square-foot SháNah Spa, at the secluded Bishop's Lodge Resort (Bishop's Lodge Rd.; 800/974-2624 or 505/819-4000; www.bishopslodge.com; day packages from $245), focuses on Eastern healing customs, such as Ayurvedic oil massages and the energy-balancing practice of hatha yoga. Soothing Jur-lique facials leave guests feeling utterly at ease. Downtown's Avanyu at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort (330 E. Palace Ave.; 800/727-5276 or 505/954-9630; www.laposadadesantafe.com; three-night packages from $1,050) is ideal for a full day of rejuvenation. Work out on Cybex equipment or soak in a kidney-shaped outdoor pool heated up to 91 degrees. Favorite treatments include a bracing sports massage and the high-desert aromatherapy session with native herbs and oils—recommended for those unused to Santa Fe's altitude. One of the longer-running area spas, however, still offers perhaps the most memorable experience: the 80-acre Vista Clara Ranch (Hwy. 41, Galisteo; 888/663-9772 or 505/466-4772; www.vistaclara.com; day packages from $229) emphasizes holistic treatments with Native American influences, from a Hopi Indian ear-candle treatment to a dry-brush exfoliation and body wrap that uses the same mineral-fortified adobe mud that has been harvested by New Mexico's indigenous Pueblo tribes for centuries. Hot-stone, shiatsu, and craniosacral massages are also available.

HIT THE TRAILS Although nighttime temperatures drop into the teens in December, sunny, arid days can get up to 50 degrees—ideal weather for taking to the slopes of Ski Santa Fe (at the end of Hwy. 475; 505/982-4429; www.skisantafe.com), just 16 miles northeast of town in the 12,000-foot Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It's a more laid-back facility than the famous Taos Ski Valley, 90 minutes to the north, but it packs plenty of powder. The average annual snowfall here is a whopping 225 inches, and nearly half of Ski Santa Fe's 44 runs are expert.

Forty miles southwest of town, the milder climes of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (Hwy. 22, Pueblo de Cochiti; 505/761-8700), with an elevation of only 6,000 feet, offer an unforgettable afternoon adventure. On this two-mile round-trip hike, you'll wiggle through a narrow box canyon not much wider than a Stetson and ascend a jagged path overlooking a massive cluster of pointy sandstone columns, the so-called tent rocks of Kasha-Katuwe.

Andrew Collins, the author of Fodor's Gay Guide to the USA, lives in Santa Fe.


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