Nevada may have extravagant casinos and a vibrant nightlife, but there’s also some hidden ski gems in and around Las Vegas. If you’re around Nevada and craving a run down the slopes, you don’t have to miss out. Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest near North Lake Tahoe has many ski resorts clustered within its snowy wilderness and we’ve gathered four of the best resorts you can visit.
1. Diamond Peak
Diamond Peak, which has been open for 50 years, has many open glades as well as tree skiing. The resort is community owned and the mountains are always well groomed. According to Diamond Peak’s website, three of their snowmaking machines use Pistenbully's “SNOWsat snow depth monitoring technology”, which monitors snow levels and produce snow according to each day’s needs. This resort also stands out because of its environmental sustainability efforts. In fact, two of the resort’s snowmaking machines run on environmentally clean diesel fuel, burning less energy through their gas consumption. 46% of Diamond Peak’s slopes are intermediate but they do have a few options for beginners, including their Child Ski Center for ages three through six. Plus, Diamond Peak has just built their new “Village Terrain Park”, available for all experience levels and with “progression-oriented boxes and rails” to thrill all their riders.
2. Heavenly Mountain Resort
Heavenly Mountain Resort is spread out equally between Nevada and California, with a massive 4,800 acres to boot! The resort does get very warm, especially on the California side, but still gets 360 inches of snow per season and its runs have an average of 73% snow coverage. Heavenly Mountain Resort is also near southern Lake Tahoe where there are lots of casinos and great restaurants, so vacationers will have plenty of entertainment outside the resort. Heavenly has 34 miles of cruisers and four different bases, two on the Nevada and two on the California side. Nevada’s Boulder Base Lodge has plenty of beginner slopes and hosts Heavenly Mountain ski school, while California Base Lodge has more varied slopes and also the most dining options out of all the mountain bases.
3. Mount Rose
Mount Rose, only 25 minutes from Reno, is great for all ski levels, with plenty of exciting double black diamond runs for the more experienced skier. Though it’s not the biggest Nevada resort, with two mountain bases and 1,200 acres of ski area, Mount Rose has a base elevation of 8,260 feet - nothing to shake your skis at. In Mount Rose’s community centered atmosphere, beginners can test out their skills in the Enchanted Forest Zone or for more challenging slopes visitors can try the Chutes, which are some of the longest vertical slopes in North America. The Mount Rose ski team, for ages six and up, builds camaraderie and develops important athletic skills. With a parking lot right next to the ski area, Mount Rose is a warm and welcoming family option.
4. Lee Canyon
Lee Canyon, formerly Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort, has a Vegas feel but aims to be a nostalgic blast from the past. Management returned the park to its old title, Lee Canyon, after realizing that many of their loyal patrons even had patches on their jackets that said “Lee Canyon”. You’ll know you’re in Vegas from the names of the slopes, with titles like “High Card”, “Black Jack” and “The Strip.” This resort doesn’t escape its Sin City reputation so easily. However, Lee Canyon definitely deserves a spot on our list because of its many sporting options. The top of Lee Canyon’s highest mountain, Lee Peak, is 11,289 feet and when you get to the top you’ll see signs warning you about altitude sickness. Lower down in the park, Ponderosa Glade is a gorgeous ride through Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, as you twist and zoom through mountains of green. Lee Canyon also has four terrain parks and many black diamond courses. For a real challenge we recommend a black diamond course on 9,370 foot Bluebird, like the End Chutes or Flying Home slopes.
Nevada may be known for its slot machines and crazy nights but its best kept secret are its next caliber ski resorts.