It may be 65 degrees in the Las Vegas Valley, but it snowed on the ski mountain a mere 30-minute drive from our house. I know, I know. The words “Las Vegas” and “snow” do not belong in the same breath, but it’s true: Las Vegas has a ski and snowboard resort that is said to rival some of the most famous mountains in Utah, and it was the first ski resort to open this winter.
So there you go.
I’ll be the first to admit that I love the warm weather that comes with Las Vegas living, so the idea of bundling up in a winter jacket and layers that involved long underwear left my teeth chattering. Add to that the fact that I haven’t skied in nearly ten years and it was a whopping 15 degrees at 9:00 on a Saturday morning when I arrived at Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort and you have a fairly good idea of how I felt when I tumbled out of the car onto this place that felt a million miles from my nice warm bed.
Las Vegas Ski & Snow Resort is fairly robust considering the constraints its working within. If the mountain face was pointed even a few degrees in any other direction, the snow conditions would be drastically different, but because of its unique location in Lee’s Canyon at the base of Lee Peak, the resort is able to offer 16 trails and three chair lifts over 385 skiable acres. A large-scale renovation project expected to take 10 to 12 years to complete will increase the size of the resort to 50 trails and 10 lifts. Three special events and ski school yurts have already been built.
Obviously big things are on the horizon at Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort, but for me, the goal was simply to stay upright on my skies. Pizza slice, not French fries, my high school friends from Wisconsin reminded me when I mentioned I was venturing out into the snow. Stuffed like a marshmallow already with two layers of pants, two shirts, a coat, gloves, a hat and a scarf, I shuffled into the gear room to put on snow pants, stuff my feet into boots and gather up my skis and poles.
Knowing I hadn’t skied in what seemed like eons, it seemed like the smart decision to sign up for lessons when I was given the opportunity, but I discovered on my first slide down the hill that skiing comes back to a person kind of like riding a bike does. I held fast in my pizza slice, snowplowed to the bottom of the hill and hopped on the ski lift. The chilly morning nip had melted from the air and the sun reflected on the slopes. For a few brief moments I even slipped my gloves off.
I took a few more trips down the bunny slope—safe and tame—before venturing up the mountain to something a bit more challenging. This time the chair lift rose higher and the ride was longer. We rode over the stunt area and I watched in awe as snowboarders slid down railings and over jumps. I found out later our foreign exchange student had taken a jump or two and she gave the snowboarding experience two thumbs up. I must be getting old because while I like watching these kind of stunts, I can’t imagine doing anything like what these snowboarders were doing. My skis will stay in a pizza slice, thank you very much.
At the top of the ski run, I took the path of least resistance (that is to say, those marked with green circles) all the way back down to the lodge. It was a fun, exhilarating run, and I was thrilled to realize I hadn’t lost too much since I’d last visited a ski hill.
I absolutely love living in Las Vegas for all of its action, activity and quirky attractions, and Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort is just one more reason to love my city. Despite being a warm-weather girl, I love knowing that I can go from city life in capris and a t-shirt in one hour and be on a ski lift the next. What’s not to love about that?
If you go:
- Plan to hit up the resort in the morning. Because Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort generates its own power, it closes at 4:00 in the afternoon, so evening skiing isn’t an option.
- Take a lesson if you’re new to skiing or snowboarding. The beginner lesson package includes a 2-hour group lesson, equipment rental and a lift ticket.
- The food offerings are not all that stellar, so I suggest you pack a snack or bring your own lunch. With the expansion of the resort, there may be better dining options in the coming years.
- A single day lift ticket on the weekend costs $60, which might seem steep but it’s actually in par with similar mountains. What you get for your money at Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort are short chair lift lines, lots of staff on site and well-groomed runs.
- Check out the events that are going on at the resort. Races, competitions and mixers are frequently scheduled, and visitors are welcome to watch or participate (depending on the event).
My experience at Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard was compensated but all opinions are my own.