LAS VEGAS -- Ski, snowboard and Las Vegas? You bet. As incredible
as it sounds, skiers and snowboarders alike will find plenty of
challenging trails a scant 40 miles north of the gambling mecca.
That's where the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort, which has
been nestled in the Spring Mountains for 40 years, can be
Changes are afoot at the former family-owned resort, which was
acquired by Park City, Utah-based Powdr Corp. on Nov. 15, just 10
days before it opened for the season.
The company also owns the Boreal Mountain Resort, Soda Springs
Ski Area and Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, all located at Lake Tahoe,
as well as the Park City Mountain Resort in Utah and Oregon's Mount
Bachelor ski resort.
But exactly what changes will be made -- and when -- is not known.
"There really are no set plans that I can go public with at this
time," said Brian Strait, general manager, adding that the new
owner needs time to assess the resort.
There is, however, "a huge wish list" of ideas, he said.
"Some of them are pipe dreams [while] some are immediate,
meaning within the next two to three years," Strait said.
According to Strait, most of the resort's structures were built
in the mid-1960s and cannot accommodate the number of people who
currently visit the ski area.
For example, he said, "the number of rest room facilities --
that's one [project] that's on the radar screen for next
"We're also looking forward to the summer because we're in the
process of coming up with a design for expanding our snowmaking
pond so it will hold more water and we can make more snow faster,"
One project that already has been completed is the remodeling of
the rental shop.
"Our primary focus [right after opening] was to reduce lines at
peak times," Strait said.
So immediately after Thanksgiving, he said, the rental shop was
rearranged "to gain more square footage for people to get their
rental boots fitted."
An effort also was made to reduce lines in the resort's
The resort features three lifts and 10 runs -- "about 1,000
vertical feet of skiing and snowboarding," Strait said.
For snowboarders, who were first allowed to practice their sport
at the resort in 1984, "we have a fairly extensive terrain park
with one half-pipe," he said.
For skiers, there is a full ski school with lessons for children
as young as 4 years old.
"For anyone who wants to learn to ski or snowboard, we offer
everything," Strait said, noting that the resort offers discounts
for groups of 20 or more.
"We even rent clothing -- there's a demand for it," he added.
"We've had people come up here in blue jeans and tennis shoes who
say that they want to ski or snowboard. We outfit them with
clothing, rental gear, lessons and lift tickets. We are the fullest
of the full service."
The ski season here typically can last until Easter if the snow
holds, Strait said.
"I'd definitely consider [extending the season], depending on
snow conditions and, of course, the primary driver is the demand
from the customer base," he added.
After that, "We don't have any definitive plans in place for the
summer," Strait said.
"At the minimum, we will have a limited food and beverage
offering. We would like to develop mountain-biking trails, have an
alpine slide, chair rides -- there's a whole laundry list that just
keeps going on.
"Summer is going to be such a vital part of our business," he
said. "It's so much cooler up here than in the city. Last summer it
was 116 degrees on the Strip and 85 degrees in our parking
For more information about the resort, call (702) 385-2754 or
(702) 645-2754 or visit www.skilasvegas.com.
To contact reporter Amy Baratta, send e-mail to [email protected] .
Going from the Strip to the snow
LAS VEGAS -- Getting to the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort
is fairly simple, according to general manager Brian Strait.
"First, you take a drive north out of Las Vegas [on I-15 and
then on Highway 95 North] through some pretty desolate country. The
elevation is about 2,500 feet. Then you make a left-hand turn [onto
Highway 156] and the road just goes up -- from 2,500 feet to 8,500
feet in about 17 miles.
"You start off with a few cacti and then you get into the Joshua
trees. You start getting into a little bit of snow, then junipers
and then the ponderosa pines, which are 200 feet tall. Finally,
you're in the mountains at [an altitude of] 12,000 feet.
"It's some of the most spectacular scenery you can imagine, and
you just left the Las Vegas Strip less than 60 minutes ago."