What's Happening

Chocolate, snow and, chilly weather — who could ask more of a New Mexico February?

FEBRUARY 1–28
PASS THE FOLK ART
Ratón is a haven for lovers of art and the outdoors. The town’s Old Pass Gallery presents the work of New Mexico artists in a variety of annual exhibits. This month, catch the sixth non-juried Hispanic Folk Art Show, with 25 artists represented. “In terms of mediums, it’s anything goes,” says exhibit organizer Brenda Ferri, “as long as it’s traditional or contemporary Hispanic folk art.” (575) 445-2052; ratonarts.org

FEBRUARY 7–9, 14, 16–18, 22
MOUNTAINS OF MIRTH
At the 40-year-old Angel Fire Shovel Race Championships, at Angel Fire Resort (February 7–9), racers have been known to zip down the 1,000-foot course while seated on waxed shovels at speeds in excess of 65 mph. Children can also participate, and helmets are required for all racers (800-633-7463; angelfireresort.com). On Valentine’s Day, the Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area, near Red River, will host the Valentine’s Moonlight Ski and Snowshoe Dinner Tour (February 14), in which guests follow up a romantic snowshoe stroll or crosscountry ski outing with a catered gourmet meal in one of the ski area’s secluded, newly remodeled yurts (575-754-6112; enchantedforestxc.com). Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort’s most memorable family-friendly event is February Fun Fest (February 16–18), a tradition at this small resort, 68 miles northeast of Santa Fe, for more than 50 years. The weekend celebration includes a parade, costume contest, snow castle, outdoor winter games, and a treasure hunt with prizes (800-587-2240; sipapunm.com). The Just Desserts Eat & Ski (February 22), a 5K non-competition course that brings delicious sweets from Red River restaurants to the snowy terrain (18-Layer Chocolate Cinnamon Torte, anyone?), is a stellar outdoor movable feast. (575) 754-6112; enchantedforestxc.com

FEBRUARY 8
CACAO-ABUNGA!

If you love chocolate, don’t miss Silver City’s Chocolate Fantasia. This luscious event, sponsored by the Mimbres Regional Arts Center, brings amateur and pro chocolatiers together with retailers in historic downtown Silver City for a one-of-a-kind chocolate crawl. Twenty dollars gets you 20 handcrafted chocolates along the route. Complete your Valentine’s gift shopping while you nibble; empty heart-shaped boxes can be purchased at the Wellness Coalition (409 N. Bullard St.), along with tickets to the event, although it’s most prudent to buy tickets ahead. An array of games, live bands, and a parade round out the day. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. $20. (575) 538-2505; mimbresarts.org

FEBRUARY 8–9
CRUCES CRESCENDO
Virtuosic Israeli American cellist Amit Peled (and his circa 1700 cello) joins the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra as part of the ensemble’s ongoing Classics concert series. The mixed repertoire includes Leonard Bernstein’s Overture to Candide and selections from West Side Story, and Victor Herbert’s Concerto No. 2. To commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, the orchestra presents Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” which includes a reading of excerpts from Lincoln’s famous writings. Atkinson Recital Hall, New Mexico State University. (575) 646-3709; lascrucessymphony.com

FEBRUARY 8, 22, 27
SERIOUS COMPETITIONS
Competitive skiers and snowboarders have plenty of opportunities to shine in New Mexico this month. New on the race circuit is the Santa Fe Fireball Rando Race (February 8) at Ski Santa Fe (505-982-4429; skisantafe.com). The uphill/ downhill course covers 4,200 vertical feet and shows off some of the ski area’s choicest terrain. For those who want to take it a bit easier on the slopes, a separate recreational race covers approximately 2,100 vertical feet. Skis with skins and a helmet are required for both races. The United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association–certified Red River Rampage Slopestyle race (February 22) gives Southwestarea competitors an opportunity to gain points to qualify on the national level (877-754-1708; redriver.org). At the Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships (February 27–March 1), New Mexico’s largest and most prestigious ski and snowboard competition, athletes from around the globe challenge themselves in pursuit of a $15,000 purse. Taos Ski Valley; (575) 776- 2291; skitaos.org/freeride

FEBRUARY 14
IN THE BEGINNING

The Navajo Blessingway Stories, which embody the origin and creation narratives of the Diné, have been passed down from the matrilineal clan of the Saltwater People for generations. Diné storyteller, lecturer, poet, playwright, and folksinger Sunny Dooley has been sharing these oral traditions of her people for more than 30 years, and presents them on Valentine’s Day at San Juan College’s Little Theatre, in Farmington. “For Navajos, stories are how we build community and retain our uniqueness as a people,” says Dooley. 7 p.m. (505) 334-9325; farmingtonnm.org

FEBRUARY 23–MARCH 1
TASTING NEW MEXICO
In years past, more than 65 restaurants have participated in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Taos Restaurant Weeks at different times. This year, they occur simultaneously during New Mexico Restaurant Week. Diners in participating cities are treated to tastings, cooking demonstrations, and three-course restaurant meals at discounted prices. Find out more about participating cities and restaurants at nmrestaurantweek.com.

FEBRUARY 27–MARCH 4
LAISSEZ LAS FIESTAS ROULER!
Big Easy residents and Red River locals have at least one thing in common: They know how to throw a party. A 20-plus-year tradition in Red River, Mardi Gras in the Mountains rolls out parades, live Cajun music, costume contests and soirées, grand masquerade balls, crawfish boils and Cajun cooking competitions, and, of course, lots and lots of beads. Skiers and spectators can also enjoy the torchlight parade down the mountain on the night of Fat Tuesday (877-754-1708; redriver.org). In the southern part of the state, Mardi Gras in the Clouds takes over downtown Cloudcroft (February 28–March 2) with a parade, a battle of the bands, Cajun music and food, and entertainment under the heated “Big Tent” on Burro Street. (866) 874-4447; cloudcroft.net