The Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort on Mt. Charleston may be able to open earlier this year than ever before thanks to recent cold temperatures. If it opens this weekend – plans call for possibly opening this Thurs. or Friday – it will be their longest season ever. And, if that happens, it may just well mean that this usually hotter than hell climate will be part of a new national record for winter snow– beating out every other ski resort in the country and open first.
The staff at the resort says recent cold weather has allowed them to make plenty of manmade snow and that means the slopes can open early and they can hire more employees sooner- very good news for a very stale Las Vegas economy with unemployment running nearly 11 percent.
The dip in temperatures this week is allowing snowmakers at the resort to create fresh powder sooner than ever before. In order to pull it off and open sometime this week, the resort needs one more night of cold temperatures. He says snowmakers have been able to create all the snow in the last two nights when temperatures on Mount Charleston dropped to about 18-degrees at the 8,600-foot mountain elevation.
Yes, it’s true. Granted, it’s not the Vail or Aspen Colorado variety, but Las Vegas usually receives a good sprinkling of the white fluffy stuff each year, showing it off on the nearby snow-capped Charleston Peaks.
In the last couple of months, snow has made a rare appearance, sprinkling its way down to the Las Vegas valley floor for days, snarling traffic for hours for some, and providing a new photo op for others. And for one day the local schools were even closed.
The only developed ski facility in Southern Nevada is the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort in Las Vegas, which lies in the Spring Mountain National Recreations Area, located about 45 minutes from downtown Las Vegas. Skiers can ski all day and then either stay there at the Charleston Hotel and Resort, or the Mount Charleston Lodge, or just choose to head back to Las Vegas to take in a Las Vegas show or try their luck on the gaming tables and slots.
In addition to its café and bar, the 8,300-foot-level recreation area base boasts a sports shop, equipment rentals, and instruction for skiers and snowboarders. The ski area offers two double chair lifts and many ski trails from the top of the lifts at nearly 9,400 feet. Compared to many ski venues, the price for lift tickets is a steal of a bargain: All day lift tickets are $50; for senior citizen and children the cost is $30.
For an added adventure treat, Las Vegas Carriages provides a horse-drawn sled ride through the pines in the crisp winter air. The rides load up from behind the Mount Charleston Lodge on weekends and last about 20 minutes. Cost is $25 for adults and $15 for children (702-596-6715).
One thing is certain: Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn really craves his birthdays, making them a weeklong extravaganza. Saturday night during the gala Encore opening Harry Connick Jr. was the featured entertainer that joined a star-studded crowd in celebrating the 67th birthday for Steve Wynn. The highlight of the evening’s performance was when Connick sang Frank Sinatra songs, “Luck Be A Lady,” and “Here’s to the Losers.” Steve Wynn loves anything to do with Frank Sinatra.
Earlier on Thursday, Wynn called up Connick and they dined at Encore’s Sinatra restaurant. Then on Friday Wynn called up Connick again and they hooked up for dinner with Donald Trump, Neil Diamond, and others.
Wynn’s real birthday is Tuesday and the rumor is that Wynn plans to spend it in the posh Swiss ski resort of St. Moritz.