Ski season has begun in Nevada with early openings and generous snowfall, alongside whispers of an upcoming El Niño year reminiscent of epic ski seasons of decades past that's propelling a flurry of excitement around this ski season.
Home to some of the best skiing in the country, Nevada invites outdoor enthusiasts of all interests to visit this winter. From Tahoe’s sweeping views and renowned slopes to Mount Charleston’s accessible terrain and the unmatched powder skiing of the Ruby Mountains, there are countless peaks to please the senses.
Here are Nevada’s highlights for skiers this year:
Ruby Mountains Heli Experience
Known as “The Alps of Nevada,” the Ruby Mountains reach as high as 11,378 feet and have drawn adventurers and pioneers for years. A popular spot among backcountry skiers and snowmobilers, the terrain is primarily accessible only to those avalanche-trained and willing to hike. The Ruby Mountains Heli Experience presents skiers with the chance to ride the hard-to-reach terrain and to experience incredible powder skiing. This year, guests will enjoy the comforts of a new yurt to lunch in at 10,000 feet, with neighboring ancient bristlecone pines overlooking deep canyons. Backcountry skiers can rent the yurt for overnight stays on a limited basis of availability.
For those seeking a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter ski experience, the resort is relatively accessible, just outside Elko in Lamoille Canyon. Between helicopter-fed powder runs, visitors enjoy the cuisine of a world-renowned chef in the comforts of a ranch-style home. Ruby Mountains Heli Experience is one of the few helicopter ski outfits in the United States to complement its helicopter fleet with SnoCats, making skiing possible on storm days and ensuring access is possible whenever conditions are safe.
Heavenly Mountain Resort
Straddling the Nevada-California border and overlooking South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort is one of Tahoe’s most recognizable resorts. With 4,800 acres of terrain, Heavenly offers 34 miles of groomed runs, 1,600-foot descents, and Unbuckle, the ultimate après ski party with Vegas-style nightlife just steps off the slopes in Stateline, one of the state’s top party spots.
Throughout the 2015-16 ski and ride season, Heavenly Mountain Resort will be commemorating its 60th anniversary with special retro themed Unbuckle at Tamarack après parties, free concerts and more. The resort first opened on Dec. 15, 1955. Heavenly will kick off the season with Winter Ignite Celebrating 60 Years at Heavenly. This two-week celebration from Dec. 4-12 will include on-mountain activities such as pop-up DJ Cat parties and Unbuckle après kick-off parties, as well as off-mountain concerts at the casinos and a free concert by alternative dance duo Matt and Kim in Heavenly Village on Dec. 12.
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe
Presenting $1.2 million in on-mountain improvements this year, Mt. Rose will introduce the Enchanted Forest family zone featuring the new Wizard Lift accessing four four new beginner trails, enhanced snowmaking with nine additional high-output snowmakers, new rental equipment, main lodge renovations in the children’s lesson registration area and the Timbers Bar, and more. The Reno locals’ favorite mountain sits at the highest base in Lake Tahoe, at 8,260 feet. Less than a half-hour drive from Reno, Mt. Rose has 1,200 acres of skiable terrain catering to every ability level. The Chutes will challenge experts with 1,500 vertical feet of northeast-facing extreme terrain and some of the longest continuous vertical in North America.
Diamond Peak overlooks Tahoe’s North Shore just above Incline Village and offers unparalleled views of the lake. Designed in the 1960s to be the “Pebble Beach of the Sierra,” the resort was the first to introduce snow-making technology in the West. Still committed to staying with the times, the resort will provide charging stations for electric vehicles this year, as well as improved gladed terrain and more taps at the Loft Bar. With 655 skiable acres, this hillside resort offers 30 runs and ample tree skiing with six lifts and a two-and-a-half-mile ski run.