Cloudcroft, New Mexico Trip

We recently returned from our holiday trip to Cloudcroft, NM. The trip was between Christmas and New Years and was spent in a cabin with Suzanne’s parents (Brett and Anne) and her sisters family (David, Mary Fran, Hailey, Holly and David Jr). Her parents sprang for almost all of the expenses of the trip.

It was about a 5 1/2 hour drive for us from Sonoita to Cloudcroft on Tuesday the 26th, so not too bad. It had snowed ( 6 – 8 inches) about 5 days earlier in Cloudcroft and it took the kids all of about 30 seconds to dive into the snow upon our arrival. It worked out well as the there was plenty of snow on the ground, yet the roads were clear. The adults spent the afternoon and evening visiting while the kids enjoyed the snow.

Wednesday morning, we all went into town to the city outdoor skating rink. All of the kids, plus Suzanne and Mary Fran, skated. Suzanne was a competitive figure skater in her youthful days, so she had a lot of fun skating as did the kids. The Jarzynka kids do a bunch of roller blading so they were quite good at skating. Savannah started the day skating on the outside, holding on to the railing. By the time we were done, she was skating around the rink without assistance. Sean was a bundle of determination. He can skate okay, but insists on trying to go fast and hard and spends a lot of time on the ice. He claimed that every inch of his body touched every inch of the ice. He wasnt going to give up and improved throughout the day. The owner/operators of the rink told Suzanne that she was the best skater they had ever seen at that rink.

Wednesday afternoon, was spent tubing down the slopes of Cloudcroft. The same crowd that skated, participated in the tubing. Mr Papa is just getting too old to risk his neck going downhill fast. :w00t: The kids really had a blast tubing and the conditions were quite nice.

The plan for Thursday was to go skiing. None of the kids had ever skied, so lessons were planned for them. Again, Anne, Brett and Mr Papa were not going to ski. There wasnt enough snow in Cloudcroft for the slopes to be open, so we planned to go over to Ski Apache in Riudoso for the day to ski. During the almost hour and half drive over there, it snowed and looked like it might snow all day. The snow actually let up in the late morning, but more was predicted for the night.

Suzanne immediately went for the slopes, while the five kids and the Jarzynka adults enrolled in ski school. Mr Papa spent most of the morning standing in the 22 degree weather watching the kids classes. They were really interested in learning to ski. I am past my skiing days, and never was a pro, but I must say, I wasnt impressed with the ski school. It was a very slow pace and light on instruction. This may be a difference between adult classes (where I learned to ski) vs the kids class. There was definitely some kids in the class that were slowing down the whole class. It was also mad chaos in the ski school area. There was well over 200 folks/kids taking lessons. There was very little room for any of the folks learning to ski to move let alone practice what was being taught. This was probably due to the holiday timing. The kids did manaage to learn the basics.

We all ate lunch in the ski lodge and then the ski schoolers had an afternoon ski class. Mary Fran and David, having skied before, felt they were ready and skipped the afternoon classes. They decided to take their kids to the mountain instead of the ski class. I didnt think Sean and Savannah were quite ready for the mountain, so they attended the afternoon session. During the session, they got to work on ski lift riding and were able to ski the bunny hill. They never did take on the mountain, but that didnt bother them or me. David hung it up a bit early as he got some altitude sickness at the top of the mountain. For the Dallas crowd, there was a much bigger altitude difference between their home (few hundred feet) and Ski Apache (10,000 ft) than there was for us from Sonoita (5000 ft). I spent the afternoon on the bottom of the slope again outside watching the skiers. I think I saw 6 wrecks where folks were carted off in sleds attached to snowmobiles. I really dont need to ski anymore. We headed back to Cloudcroft about 4:00 pm.

We awoke Friday morning to a couple of inches of snow. The forecast was for more snow that night too. Suzanne and Savannah decided to go ice skating again. Mary Fran and the other kids decided to go tubing again. They all had fun and returned about lunch time to the cabin, at which time it began to snow quite heavily and looked like it might snow for quite a while. One of the cabin owner’s kids, predicted a foot of snow. That would make the drive home quite interesting. The afternoon and evening was spent playing boardgames and enjoying the snow outside.

When we got up Saturday, it appeared that we had received about 5 inches of snow but was it was still snowing. Everyone packed up, said their good byes and got on the road before road conditions worsened. The snow plows were out in force, so the roads werent too bad. Heading down the mountain towards Alamogordo was slow going as the logging truck ahead of us went about 15 mph. We needed to travel slow and careful, but not that slow. Finally, he pulled over and let everyone get past him. About halfway down the moutain, an eighteen wheeler had slid off the road and down a hill. Luckily for him, it was on the moutain side intead of the drop off side. It was stilling snowing in Alamogordo at 4000 feet when we got off the mountain. The snow stayed with us almost all the way to Las Cruces.

The drive home took us about 7 hours. We had a longer lunch stop and traffic was heavier, but the extra 45 minutes getting off the mountain was the biggest delay.

This was a fun trip, though I still prefer to be home during the Christmas/New Years time. It was very nice to see Suzanne’s family as we dont get to see them too often. It was really wonderful for the cousins to get a chance to play together. They all got along really well. Hopefully, it wont be years again before we all get together again. Thanks to Anne and Brett for the wonderful vacation! thumbs_up: :wub: