I arrived in Ruidoso, New Mexico on November 20, after several stops and hotel stays along the way. After all, it is a 16 hour trip, so no need to rush. I know it seems crazy to go west to cold country for the winter when others are traveling south to stay warm, but every now and then I like the change, and the way the mountains, trees and potential for snow add to the holiday excitement. The little village here is decorated for the Christmas season (and I do not apologize for calling it that—whoever “invented” political correctness should be burned with a yuletide log).
The twinkling lights hanging along the storefronts in mid-town look just like a holiday card, and the people bustling around the shops remind me of those described in the traditional carols playing on the radios inside the stores. It is, indeed, a magical time, and although I love South Padre, the palm trees just can’t compete this time of year with the tall pines and junipers. It just smells like Christmas here. Of course, when the temperature is 19 degrees in the morning, it definitely feels like Christmas.
Ski Apache is open, and ski racks on top of SUVs are as common a sight as fishing poles hanging out of pick-up truck beds at the island. The drive up the mountain is scary, especially if the snow refreezes over night. Even with the newly added guard rails, it is a treacherous 12 mile drive. But it doesn’t stop the die hard skiers and snow boarders. In my younger years I forged up there and skied a few times. These days, I opt for a hot toddy and a good book in front of my fireplace. Skiing is hard work, and there are not enough hot tubs to make me less sore the next day. Been there, done that, and glad to have the memories, which include landing in a snow drift and running over an old man, not to mention falling off the lift when the operator yelled jump.
They had to stop the whole lift just to keep the chair from taking off the top of my head. And I had lessons!! Think what might what have happened if I had tried this without ski school. As you know from reading earlier blogs, lessons don’t necessarily “take” with me. But I love a winter wonderland, and I’m happy to be here to celebrate the season. So close your eyes and think snow!