My family did this hike 2 years ago in March when there was still snow on the trail in the shaded parts. The view from the top was spectacular and we could see a snow capped Sierra Blanca on the northern horizon. We complete that cycle this summer by climbing Sierra Blanca and spotting Guadalupe Peak way to the south.
The hike down was tough enough, as you mention, but add the slick snow to the mix and there were spots where I thought I was going to slide right off the mountain! Your feet would slip right out from under you. As we neared the bottom in the late afternoon there were mule deer everywhere.