Ahh, Las Vegas! The home of bright lights, slot machines, and… skiing? Ok, maybe skiing isn’t one of the things that Las Vegas is famous for, nevertheless, every winter hundreds of thousands of visitors travel to Vegas for the fun. Many of them bring their skis and boards along to take advantage of a handful …
Sitting pretty on the Northern edge of Lake Tahoe, Truckee, CA is a town that will take your breath away… not to mention give you a lifetime worth of skiing and snowboarding. “But, I thought California was all palm trees, sandy beaches, and freeways…”, you might say. Well, think again! This mile-high town, just 3 …
Guide to Nevada’s 4 Ski Resorts
Nevada has a large, primarily arid landscape, yet along its borders lie several great ski destinations. With the mountains of Lake Tahoe and other ranges along the northwestern border of Nevada, the weather patterns make prime snowfall throughout the winter and bring some of the best skiing in the country to the state.
Home to the Carson Range of the Sierra Mountains, this region of Nevada’s snow is often known as “Sierra Cement” because it’s so heavy and wet. Try to catch it on a powder day for your best chance of it being lighter before it melts down and is too thick to glide through. Away from the western side of the state by Lake Tahoe, conditions are much drier, producing less snow, but it’s (arguably) more fun on a powder day.
Snow levels are sparse across the state, but the ski resorts see plenty. Some resorts can receive as much as 350 inches annually.
The season often begins in mid-December and usually ends in early April. Much of the state is sunny, which can mean slushy spring conditions. The best months to hit the slopes are January and February. The temperature might be colder, but the mountains have a good base and fresh powder translates to a safe and enjoyable day of skiing.
Of the four resorts in Nevada, two are located near Lake Tahoe, one is outside of Las Vegas and the fourth is the only resort in the northeast corner.
Lake Tahoe Ski Areas
Both Mount Rose and Diamond Peak are located around the Lake Tahoe area, where the lake straddles the border between California and Nevada. The two resorts are situated between Reno and Carson City, so either makes a good launching point.
Mount Rose opened in 1964 and boasts the highest elevation in the entire Lake Tahoe area at 8,260 feet. Although there are some beginner slopes, skiing and snowboarding at Mount Rose are excellent for those with experience. Eighty percent of Mount Rose’s slopes are blue or black over 1,200 acres of skiable terrain.
The mountain has a 1,800-foot vertical drop and some lengthy runs. The longest of its more than 60 runs stretches two-and-a-half miles. A two-hundred-acre Chutes area is open to expert skiers and snowboarders.
A bit further south at the edge of the lake, Diamond Peak is a more family-friendly and beginner-friendly option for skiers and snowboarders. The ski resort has incredible views of Lake Tahoe from its peaks. Diamond Peak is smaller than Mount Rose with 655 skiable acres.
Of its 40 runs, about a third are expert level. The resort has plenty of tree skiing but not a large amount of variation. The Village Terrain Park on the lower mountain is open to all levels of skiers.
Ski Areas at Opposite Corners
Golf, ski, and gamble all on the same day when you visit Lee Canyon in southern Nevada. The resort is located less than an hour from sunny Las Vegas, yet it receives 129 inches of snowfall annually. Two main lift lines head to two different peaks to access mostly blue and black runs and three terrain parks.
From there, skiers can hike to backcountry areas of the mountain or obtain an uphill travel pass that’s free but required for those wishing to trek to the summit. Trekking is allowed under certain restrictions.
As the only ski resort in northeastern Nevada, Elko SnoBowl Ski & Bike Park doesn’t need a lot of frills. The simple resort is open on weekends from roughly January through mid-March. It’s easily accessible via a shuttle bus that runs from the town of Elko.
There are ten runs with beginner runs accessible via tow rope and more intermediate slopes which can be reached by chairlift. The ski area has an impressive elevation of 7,000 feet and a 700-foot vertical drop. The top part of the mountain is geared to intermediate skiers but beginners can easily learn the basics with weekend lessons.
Not far from Elko SnoBowl, heliskiing is another option for Nevada skiers. Ruby Mountain Heli has brought skiers and snowboarders to the most remote areas of the state for 46 years. Nevada ski areas may not be plentiful, but what is lacking in quantity is exceeded in amazing quality ski experiences.