A New Year in New Mexico
I started 2016 with ski lessons in Angel Fire, New Mexico. I have family friends who have homes up in the mountains near Carson National Forest and I was able to join them over New Years weekend! This was my second time in the mountains and my first chance to learn how to ski. Growing up my family always chose warm, beach destinations to travel to where we would charter sailboats, so I will take sand over snow any day of the week. But I had been wanting to try skiing for a while now and I picked it up relatively easily, but not without a dozen mysterious bruises all over my body from tumbling down the mountain.
The houses were less than a mile from each other in Angel Fire so we alternated eating and drinking wine back and forth between the houses. We also had some delicious homemade spaghetti, fantastic oven baked Pizza Stop pizza, and some bomb ass breakfast tacos. I introduced everyone to Kaluha and cashew milk, which is basically alcoholic chocolate milk and it is delicious. I’m all about amazing food and chocolatey drinks.
Besides eating, drinking, and skiing, I also laid on a frozen lake and looked at the stars, fed wild deer and did a handstand 10,677 feet above sea level.
The best way to take a road trip is the scenic route.
I started my road trip in Fort Worth, stopped in Denton and later drove to Lubbock. I stayed the night in Lubbock and then drove from there to Angel Fire with my friend, Daryl. And we did the same route on the way home. So all in all, I was on the road about 10 hours each way. I used to loathe road trips and swore I would never do them again, but now I love them. I love looking out on different landscapes and taking it all in. After all, the best route is the scenic route.
There were some mountains on the way to Lubbock that I had no idea about on the way there. Mainly because I was basically driving blind. There was snow on the ground (yes, it snows in Texas!), it was after 10 pm and I had a visibility of 25 feet max thanks to some epic West Texas fog. The drive to Angel Fire from Lubbock was pretty and we enjoyed watching the sunrise in the rearview mirror. Want to know something about Lubbock? It smells really bad… We took a pit stop at Blue Hole in New Mexico on the way there and stopped at Bosque Redondo Lake on the way back.
When I take a road trip, I love stopping for abandoned buildings and badass graffiti, for beautiful trees and fields full of flowers, for sunsets and sunrises, and especially for handstand opportunities. So below are some of my favorite shots from this road trip.
Angel Fire; where we fed wild deer twice daily.
When we got to Angel Fire, I stayed in a cabin right on the edge of the Carson National Forest!! And being on the edge of a national forest meant wild deer and elk come to their house daily for corn! We would put out the corn in the trough and before we would even finish pouring the corn, the deer would come out of the forest. I tried to get one of the baby deer to eat out of my hand, but he was having none of that, so I just chilled on the porch with some of my deerest friends.
Learning by trial and error
I tried two ways to learn how to ski… First with an instructor at Angel Fire Resort and second with my friends and my own stubbornness. I booked my official ski lesson a few weeks prior to arriving and chose the Deluxe First Timers Ski Package. This comes with both morning and afternoon group lessons, a lower mountain lift ticket, and a bonus private lesson with the instructor. I barely lasted through the first group lesson… My experience with a professional instructor was unsuccessful and I learned to ski by trial and error with a lot of help from my friends.
The paid instructor’s pace was incredibly slow, and I was bored out of my mind by the time we got our lunch break. In the hour and forty-five minutes he had us, we might have skied a maximum of twenty feet, and there were only four students… So after lunch, my friends Brendan and Daryl took me on my first bunny slope and taught me how to ski simply by watching me and telling me what I was doing wrong. *Hint, it was everything.* I was that adult constantly pizza stopping down the bunny slope while all the tiny children whizzed past like experts.
Eventually I got the hang of it and I was pretty confident in my right turns by the end of my two days on the mountain. Almost every left turn I took ended up with me tumbling down the mountain… So I tried to stick with right turns and straight-a-ways. But I had a freaking blast!
Skiing tips I wish I had known:
1] Bring a water bottle with you in your ski jacket;
I carry a water bottle with me everywhere when I am at home in Fort Worth, but for some reason I forgot to bring a bottle with me on the mountain. It is so easy to get dehydrated in the mountains. Ski jackets are truly massive so it is really easy to fit a small water bottle in one of the many pockets.
2] Chapstick with SPF;
I am a lip balm fiend. I have a tube of it in every room of my house, every jacket I wear, every purse I carry, in my car, by my bed, by my couch… etc. So I highly recommend taking a tube of lip balm even if you aren’t obsessed like me. You should look for an all natural one with SPF; as it is easy to get sunburned on the mountain. See below.
3] Sunscreen in general;
It is easier to get sunburned in higher altitudes. And since you will be on a mountain, above sea level… you are more likely to get sunburned. Wear sunscreen! Your skin will thank you for it later on. My favorite all natural sunscreen is plain coconut oil (which naturally has around 8 SPF), but if you are looking for something with a stronger SPF I recommend Beauty By Earth brand. They have sunscreen up to 45SPF.
4] Hot hands;
Did you know that it gets cold on top of a mountain? Put a pair or two of hot hands in your ski pants or ski jacket to enjoy during lunch or to warm up during the ski lift up the mountain. DO NOT put hot hands in your ski boots…bad news bears if you do that. Your feet will just sweat and wool does not breathe, so the sweat has no where to go and you end up with cold and frozen feet, which is my personal hell. And while I didn’t put hot hands in my socks, I did not have the correct socks for skiing…
5] Ski socks;
Here is where I learned by trial and error again. Thick wool socks DO NOT cut it. For skiing: invest in a pair of wool socks specifically for skiing. They’re even labeled “ski socks” … so get those ones! You will thank me later when you can feel your toes the entire time you are on the mountain.
6] Ear warmers & a bandana;
If your head or feet are cold, you will be cold! Bring ear warmers or a beanie. Also, bring a bandana, you can tie it around your face and it helps you keep warm and it keeps snow from getting in your face. (Thanks for the tip, Jess)
7] Two pairs/types of gloves;
Layers will save your life. It is a good idea to bring two pairs of gloves; bring one thin pair of gloves and one pair of thick, waterproof pair. My thin gloves are e-tip equipped so I can use my phone without taking my gloves off. My thick gloves are waterproof and insulated and really kept my hands warm.
8] Eat at Pizza Stop;
Travel tip #14: Pizza Stop: the best pizza in Angel Fire, just down the street from the resort.
Shout out to Daryl & Brendan for teaching me how to ski!
I had a blast, crossed multiple things off of my bucket list, rekindled friendships, and laughed a ton. This trip was awesome.
onward and upward,
traveled during January of 2016