In a time when Las Vegas seems to be coming in near the bottom of every list for housing, education, health care – you name it – The Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort brought us to a number two ranking for 2009 Ski Season Openings.
Wednesday, October 7, the resort opened one of the beginner hills at noon coming in second to the Loveland Ski Area in Colorado which opened at 9 a.m. the same day.
Last year the Las Vegas resort opened the day after Thanksgiving. The 2009 opening is about 7 weeks earlier than normal– a phenomenal record. Josh Beam and his crew worked three 14-hours nights to get a heavy layer of artificial snow ready for skiing.
Savanna Jason was one of the locals and tourists who took advantage of the mountain’s first ‘snow day’.
“It’s astronomical to be skiing in Las Vegas before Thanksgiving, let alone before Halloween,” said Jason.
Las Vegas base operations manager and resort spokesman Craig Baldwin said “It feels great to tee it up with the Colorado guys. This season’s gonna be good.”
And if it turns out that you’re not up for a quick run down the slopes quite yet, the resort is also offering scenic tours. The Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort will be open on weekends until the weather turns colder and natural snow fills in the other runs. Daily lift tickets are $20.
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).