Texas likes to think of itself as having it all, but when it comes to climate and topography, the state’s otherwise hugely varied terrain lacks one major feature: big, old mountains glistening with pillowy snow under a brilliant blue sky on a gloriously cold (but not too cold) winter day.

But, hey, that’s what New Mexico is for. Taos, Red River, Angel Fire, Santa Fe, Ruidoso—this is where Texas learned to ski. These days we might be just as likely to hop on a plane to Colorado or Utah, but the Land of Enchantment is still cheaper—and, not incidentally, one of the most beautiful places in America. Whether you’re just hours away in El Paso, a day’s drive away in Beaumont, or taking the easy route with a flight into Albuquerque (the major airport closest to every ski area but Ruidoso), New Mexico will always be the ski destination next door. Think of it as West West Texas.

That, of course, would be a sacrilegious statement to New Mexicans, whose love-hate relationship with Texas is, well, mostly hate. And since some of us continue to think of Resistols and Texas A&M pullovers as ski clothing, who can blame ’em? Still, they need us and we need them—so bring on the white stuff.

2005 Note: Please check the appropriate websites for up-to-date fees and services information.