Go skiing in the desert at the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort — Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort
Las Vegas may not be the first place you think of when it comes to recreational winter activities. After all, the city is known more for its “dry heat” than its frigid weather. But the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort is single-handedly working to change that.
Located approximately one hour from downtown Las Vegas in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort has been undergoing some improvements over the past few years, thanks to a $34 million expansion plan approved by the US Forest Service in 2011.
The resort’s latest development is a new snow tubing area that opened at the start of the 2014/2015 season. Separate from the ski/snowboard terrain, the designated two-lane tubing area gives guests the opportunity to go sledding in a controlled environment.
“We've had the notion of snow tubing for quite a while,” says Jim Seely, marketing director for the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort. “It was just finally time to provide an activity catering to those that are new to snow sports or, better yet, new to snow. Lee Meadows (in the Spring Mountains) has always been there with sledders, and we felt it was time to be able to provide something in a more controlled, organized environment.”
The new snow tubing area at Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort — Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort
Tubing is open weekends and holiday periods throughout the winter season, as well as for private parties and groups on non-holiday weekdays. Advance tickets for each 90-minute session are just $20 and include an inner tube rental, with access to a specially designed tubing lift. No outside equipment is permitted.
In addition to the new tubing area, the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort recently replaced its 32-year-old Chair 2 chairlift with a Doppelmayr quad chairlift. The new lift increases uphill capacity from 900 guests to 1,800 guests per hour.
The base area has also been re-graded, and the bottom terminals of both the Bluebird (Chair 2) and Sherwood (Chair 1) chairs have been relocated to allow for easier loading.
These improvements are all part of the multi-million-dollar master development plan which, when completed, will add 34 trails, at least six more lifts, upgraded equipment and enhanced guest facilities to the resort.
“It's a gradual process,” Seely says. “Every year we see an increase [in attendance], and we are happy that our constant renovations and improvements are appreciated by more and more people every year, including our summertime operations. Ultimately, we look forward to being a year-round resort offering everything from snow sports to downhill mountain biking.”
The Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort now offers free coaching to beginner and intermediate skiiers and snowboarders — Photo courtesy of Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort
Since renovations began, the resort has added 14 new trails and a new quad lift to its beginner terrain, as well as increased its snowmaking capabilities. Last season, it also became the first resort in the United States to offer lift ticket and season pass holders access to free coaching from its staff of certified ski and snowboard instructors.
Coaches are stationed on Rabbit Peak, the resort’s beginner terrain, so beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders in need of a few pointers have access to an instructor at no cost.
Currently, the resort offers guests 30 trails over 195 acres of terrain, with 15 percent meant for beginner skiers and snowboarders, 45 percent meant for intermediate skiiers and snowboarders and 40 percent meant for advanced skiers and snowboarders.
Other amenities include 250 acres of hike-to terrain, a retail shop, a ski and snowboard school, dining and drinking options and more. When all of the renovations are complete, Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort will boast a total of 50 trails and 10 lifts.