Snowed In


Photo Courtesy of Erin Krska

Erin Krska, Copy Editor

Living in South Texas, you wouldn’t see much snow at all. When you go on a vacation to a place unlike your home, you’d typically want to experience that new place’s culture, environment, and weather. The place my family decided to go on vacation to was Ruidoso, New Mexico, also known as one of the most southern places to go skiing.  

Before vacationing in New Mexico, I had only left Texas once to Hot Springs, Arkansas. These two places were very different. Arkansas was covered in so much green, with humungous trees lining the highway. The drive there was a beautiful and pleasant experience. New Mexico was a different story. A vast majority of the drive was driving through a vast expanse of desert, but not the kind of desert most would expect. While driving further and further closer to the mountains of New Mexico, under shrubs and behind small hills, were patches of snow! I’d never seen anything like it! I understood it got quite cold at night in the desert, but I never thought it could snow.  

When we finally got to the Airbnb we were staying, we observed that there was not only A TON of snow everywhere and on everything, but the driveway up to the house was a long, steep, curving driveway that anyone from the valley wouldn’t even dare try to drive up without four-wheel drive vehicle.  

After everyone got settled inside, my mom, brother and I went outside to play in the snow for a few hours. When we went back inside to warm up my dad told us that there was a lot more snow on its way for the next couple of days.  

When we woke up the next day, there was about 2 feet of snow on the ground and it continued. Now were getting a little worried. We went and bought a bit of food at Walmart before we got to the house, and we noticed that most of the shelves were empty. For some reason we weren’t as alarmed by this, but maybe we should have been. By the second day of non-stop snow, my mom told us not to drink a ton of milk in case we needed to eat bowls of cereal.  We weren’t running out of food, but we needed to conserve it because we weren’t sure how long we’d be snowed in. 

We spent two days shoveling what snow we could off the long winding driveway but couldn’t get much accomplished because the altitude was taking a toll on us. When we weren’t shoveling snow, we were sliding down the hill on sleds to keep ourselves entertained or watching movies on Netflix and drinking hot cocoa. 

The entire time we were staying in New Mexico, my mother was making calls to snow plow companies, constantly checking the police department’s Facebook page, and checking the weather. After days of constant phone calls and keeping tabs on the weather channel, my mom found a someone through a friend of a friend on Facebook that owns a paving company. The next morning at 8 am, a man came with a small tractor and plowed our entire driveway in 30 minutes.  

After days of being stuck in a cabin, we took a drive around town to get to know our surroundings. We went to some small stores to browse, had lunch in town and then headed back to the cabin until the next day.  

Although we weren’t scheduled to leave Ruidoso until the second of January, we were planning on leaving the first due to all our plans being cancelled by this weather. We had plans to ski, but the road to the resort was closed. We were supposed to go on a sleigh ride on New Year’s Day, but the road was closed there too. We decided to salvage the remainder of our vacation to go to Fredericksburg Texas, spend a night there, then leave the next day. 

Once my family returned home, I reflected over how different Ruidoso is from the valley. First, the biggest different is the altitude. Ruidoso and its surrounding cities sit about 7,000 ft above sea level while McAllen is only 122 inches above sea level. On its own that sounds interesting, until you’re gasping for air from just walking to your car because the air is so thin up in the mountains. 

Second, just because its cold, doesn’t mean you don’t sweat. Don’t expect to be layered up in 7+ jackets and feel fine. I’m always cold everywhere I go, and I did fine with a t-shirt, fleece, and insulated jacket. Pretty much just wear warm clothes, but don’t worry too much.  

Finally, if you ever go to a new place that you’ve never been to before, keep in touch with either the locals or the police department to keep updated on the weather conditions and other important information.