I have traveled to Ruidoso, New Mexico with one of my book clubs. This time of year, the area is famous for Ski Apache, the Lincoln National Forest, Sierra Blanca in the Rocky Mountain Range, the Mescalero Apache Reservation, and the Inn of the Mountains Gods. They have not had much snow, so no one came anticipating skiing. (I am not a skier to begin with.) However, we woke up the morning of our first full day in town to find snow on the ground. As we started breakfast, snow began falling again. It was just lovely. After breakfast, Debbie led us in morning yoga. By 10 am the snowfall had stopped and the sun was out in time for a morning hike.
Round three on the morning exercise schedule was tubing. We all dressed up for the cold and headed out to our two SUVs. Our SUV got out relatively easily. The other SUV did not have 4-wheel or all-wheel drive and didn’t fare too well. There was no way (even) eight gals from hot, humid Houston with little to no “ice driving” experience were getting that vehicle up the driveway incline and out onto the street. We were down to one vehicle and traveling in shifts.
Determined to enjoy the snow, our group eventually made it to Ruidoso Winter Park for tubing. You don’t even have to walk up; there is a conveyor system. It was thrilling with the soft morning snow. There are routes of differing degrees. Sheryl did jump the track and ended up in another lane, experiencing two routes in one run. In the case of no snowfall, they use manmade snow. During the Christmas holidays, they offer twilight tubing. By early afternoon, the crowds began to develop and the wait to go down got a lot longer. After four runs, the group headed home.
Tonight we are staying in and a chef is coming to the house. By the time the group was back from tubing, he was already at the house with his assistant in full-blown preparation mode. The afternoon was our time for showers and games. Debbie decided the snow would make a wonderful base for her snow angel drink with tequila, topo chico, lime, and snow. I was a little hesitant having seen deer wandering around in that snow but she assured me she would use only clean snow that was within our fenced patio with no possibility that a “deer gift” may have been left behind in this virgin snow.
The problem with having a chief working in the open concept room with kitchen and den is that we all experienced the aromas of food prep while we were hanging out. By 4:30, we were asking when our 7 pm dinner would be ready. So Mashon changed his game plan and began making a course and then serving it to us with time in between. We grazed from about 5:30 to 8:30. Fabulous.
Our chef Mashon is on an Asian kick and one member of our group eats no red meat, so we had a lot of seafood. We closed the evening with more eating, drinking, and games. Another round of yoga is scheduled for the morning.
For our second full day in Ruidoso, we will have to split up. One group will enjoy in-home massages from one of two masseuses while the other group gets to check out the shopping in Ruidoso. I started my day by getting to enjoy a therapeutic massage. I then had time to get in a shower and dress while the second round of massages took place. When the four of us were done, we took the car that the other group had returned to the house and went into Ruidoso. You can park along the main street and walk up and down enjoying the shops.
We started by enjoying lunch at the Grill Caliente, all of us ordering red meat after last night’s seafood. The sun was out and some of the snow had melted and then had refrozen making it a little treacherous walking on the shady side of the street. We also learned that snow plows don’t have the best brakes when one of them almost ran Mary down by driving too fast and not braking soon enough. I felt like I had witnessed a near death experience, but the snowplow driver just shrugged and drove on.
We are fortunate to be here when the post-holiday January sales are going on. Our group’s favorite shops included Michelle’s with higher-end western clothing and accessories, J Roberts also with clothing and accessories at a slightly cheaper price point, and White Mountain Pottery with crafts from many artisans. We also stopped at Casa Decor to see their rustic Mexican furniture and home accessories and captured a photo with an outdated gondola which was out front.
Tonight is our excursion to the Inn of the Mountain Gods. This resort on the Mescalero Reservation has a beautiful setting overlooking the lake and mountains. It is not directly attached to the Ski Apache lifts. I was here many years ago with Boris and Rocky. The highlight of that trip for me was the horseback riding leaving from the resort stables. Horseback riding is available April-October, weather permitting, except during hunting seasons.
We have a driver and van from the Hotel so none of us have to navigate the icy mountain roads at night. We had a hard enough time getting out of the driveway since most of us were not in snow boots; Maria was actually in heels. We walked on either side of her to make sure she didn’t lose it in the driveway. The Inn has undergone a renovation since I was last there. Unfortunately we missed the sunset, even though we had early dinner reservations at 6 pm.
We started our resort evening at Wendell’s Steak and Seafood for dinner. Afterwards, some headed to the casino, others to the bar. In what I thought was an odd move, the casino permits smoking, but not drinking, while you are gambling. Mary and Pam hit the blackjack tables; Joanne and Debbie did slots. I stayed for a while to watch, but the smoke drove me crazy.
We were all tired and have to vacate the house early tomorrow to make our afternoon flight, so we didn’t make it a late evening out. Back at the house, we did a little packing and then enjoyed facial masks purchased in town that day. Pam supplied the cupcakes. We did hand massage gloves the first night. After Maria broke out and her hand swelled up, Debbie admitted they were from the dollar store. Given that history, we went for the $3 a piece facial masks. I choose the anti-aging variety which ended up looking like a tiger mask.
Morning meant quick showers, additional packing, and breakfast with whatever we had left. I highly recommend our rental home, Casa Encanto de Alto, to anyone who wants an upscale experience at a reasonable price. We left on time and made it to the airport early, only to find our flight was delayed. Since we were not in a hurry we decided to have lunch at a restaurant before security. We had all talked about starting “Dry January” (no alcoholic beverages) today. Then Mary reminded us that we started the trip with a margarita and suggested that maybe we should end with one too. It was an easy sell and we decided to hit Rock Bottom before starting Dry January.
We flew back to Houston from El Paso on a completely full flight. The margaritas made it easy for us all to get in a nap. Ruidoso was fun and ROBC made it special. No skiing necessary for a good time!