What’s New at LVSSR, Tahoe and Mammoth for the 2014/2015 Winter Season
Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort didn’t exactly open on November 28 as planned, but that won’t stop us from bringing you the first of Vegas Seven’s monthly winter sports guides. Check out what’s new for this season at the little ski resort that could, plus Tahoe’s newest resort, a snowcat adventure in the backcountry and direct flights to Mammoth. – Xania Woodman
The Slopes in Your Own Backyard
Looking to escape the desert this winter? You’ll have to wait a little longer. Citing unseasonably warm weather and low precipitation, Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort in Lee Canyon has announced that its November 28 opening day would be pushed back (probably to December 5; keep an eye on SkiLasVegas.com for updates). “In previous years, we’ve opened as early as October and as late as Christmas,” said Kevin Stickelman, LVSSR president and general manager.
Although LVSSR didn’t make it open Thanksgiving weekend, there are still plenty of new features for which to be thankful. The resort offers four chairlifts—two quad lifts, one triple lift and one tubing lift—to access more than 400 acres of terrain, allowing visitors to explore beginner, intermediate and advanced trails. The longest trail, Ponderosa, covers 3,100 feet of runs for the most avid skiers and boarders. New for this season is Bluebird, a Doppelmayr quad chairlift at base level, which replaces the former Chair 2, and which will allow 1,800 guests to go up the mountain per hour.
A snow tubing area also debuts this season, offering families a safer place for the activity, away from the skiers and snowboarders. The tubing area will be limited to 90-minute sessions, with advance tickets available for less than $20, including tube rental. The area will be open on weekends and holidays during the season and is available for private party rentals on non-holiday weekdays.
For longtime fans of LVSSR, these are welcome improvements and the beginning of a multi-million dollar improvement plan that will eventually include 34 new trails, six more lifts, and upgraded equipment.
Last season, the resort added complimentary coaching from certified ski and snowboard instructors, a new bar (Chair 4) and a party yurt, which is available for daily rentals, providing a warm place to hang out between ski runs and a place to stash your stuff while you’re on the hill. For $350, you get the yurt as well as food and beverage for up to 15 people. The yurt also has music hookups, allowing party guests to bring their own music or a DJ.
Ready to ride? Once it opens, the resort will operate from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. seven days a week. Season passes range from $299-$599, with certain restrictions. The Battle Born Pass (with blackout periods) is $399, and the Weekday Warrior Pass (valid Monday-Friday) is $299. The Ride Local card is great for people who plan to ski the entire season: for a $69 buy-in, Ride Local cardholders can get $39 passes for the entire season with no blackout dates. The card offers two free weeks of skiing or snowboarding: December 8-14 and the last week of the season. The ride local card is available for purchase until December 7. – Brianna Soloski
Alaska Airlines and California’s Mammoth Mountain have teamed up for seasonal service from Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport to Mammoth Yosemite Airport, with fares as low as $68.10 each way. Flights depart Mondays and Thursdays between January 15 and April 6, so you can spend a short week or a long weekend shredding Mammoth’s 3,500 acres of terrain. Alaska Airlines’ sister carrier, Horizon Air, will operate the flights. Mammoth-bound travelers will enjoy complimentary soft drinks, Starbucks coffee, Northwest wines and microbrews (21 and older), and a la cart planeside baggage service. Can’t get the day off? Connect through LAX for $88.60 on Fridays and Sundays. 800-252-7522, AlaskaAir.com.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe has announced its grand opening in late January. Reservations beginning Thursday, January 29 are available for booking. The property is undergoing a $60 million renovation and redesign that when complete, will feature 539 rooms and suites (with views of Lake Tahoe or Heavenly Valley), four new restaurants, several bars, a 25,000-square-foot casino and a variety of live indoor and outdoor entertainment. 844-588-7625, HardRockCasinoLakeTahoe.com.
Attention powderhounds: On the west shore of Lake Tahoe, Homewood Mountain Resort will be the only resort in the Tahoe Basin to offer a snowcat experience this season. Snowcat Adventures will offer guided snowcat skiing and snowboarding for groups of up to 10 on the resort’s backcountry terrain on the flanks of Ellis Peak (8,740 feet), above the resort’s traditional ski area boundary. Tree runs, steeps, powder bowls and glades await! 530-525-2992, SkiHomewood.com/Snowcat.