If you live in Southern Nevada, great skiing or snowboarding can be found at all points of the compass. Whether you’re looking for a day trip, a one-night excursion or a multiday trip, there is a resort within easy reach.
From smaller slopes to large destination resorts, every mountain has its charm, and each of these lies less than half a day from Las Vegas.
Except for nearby Lee Canyon, any ski trip will probably mean spending at least a night or two away from home. All of these resorts listed have multiple lodging choices, from budget-minded to extravagant.
Keep in mind: Discounts can be found if you book ahead of time and bundle.
For some of the larger resorts, the bundling option and the speed of air travel might make flying there less expensive. Many people no longer bring their own ski or snowboard equipment because of baggage fees, and most resorts have quality rental or demo skis and boards available.
But since you’re more likely to drive to most of these places, be sure to buy tire chains ahead of time (the correct size can be hard to find at the last minute) and carry them in the car. Before setting out, check road conditions, tires, battery and antifreeze. Also, have a cellphone charger and carry enough food, water and survival supplies in case of a severe storm.
The No. 1 tip to save money and time: Make reservations well ahead of your trip, not only for lodging but also equipment rentals and lift tickets.
While there are dozens of ski and snowboard areas in our region, here’s a well-rounded sampling:
Lee Canyon, Mount Charleston
Southern Nevada’s favorite resort for day trippers has much to offer beyond its ease of access. There are not too many places where you can ski much of the day and play golf or hike in the afternoon.
Though Lee Canyon is small compared with other ski and snowboard resorts, it has wonderful, diverse runs for all ages and abilities. Its 195 skiable acres include 24 trails that are served by three lifts. The average snowfall is 161 inches.
You can save up to 25 percent on a lift ticket by booking online before your visit.
There are also opportunities for tubing and snowshoeing nearby.
Brian Head, Utah
Its base elevation of 9,600 feet is the highest in Utah, which more often than not means you can rely on lots of winter snow — the yearly average is 360 inches. The resort has more than 650 acres with 71 trails and eight lifts between its Giant Step and Navajo mountains. The terrain is considered 30 percent easy, 35 percent more difficult and 35 percent most difficult.
Great cross-country skiing can be found in nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument.
Big Bear Lake, Calif.
Big Bear Mountain Resorts features two distinct ski/snowboard areas: Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. One lift ticket will get you on the slopes at both resorts, and there is a free shuttle between the two.
Bear Mountain: This is a popular resort for snowboarders and has 198 developed acres with 15 runs, 14 terrain parks and eight lifts. Terrain is 30 percent first-time or low intermediate, 40 percent intermediate and 30 percent advanced.
Snow Summit: Closest to town, this resort has the best views of Big Bear Lake. It offers 240 skiable acres, 27 trails served by 11 lifts and six terrain parks. The terrain is 35 percent first-time or low intermediate, 40 percent intermediate and 25 percent advanced.
Whichever slopes you choose, Big Bear Lake has great lodging options, excellent restaurants and good nightlife. There are also tubing parks and endless opportunities for snowshoeing in the San Bernardino National Forest.
909-866-7000 or 800-424-4232; bigbear.com
Mammoth Mountain: Average snowfall is 400 inches, way more than most resorts.
This mountain has more than 150 named trails and 28 lifts. The terrain is 25 percent beginner, 40 percent intermediate and 35 percent advanced. Its terrain parks are state-of-the-art.
The town of Mammoth Lakes is a charming village with plenty of great lodging and restaurant options.
Lake Tahoe area
There are 12 mountains to choose from, but these two will satisfy even the pickiest mountain lover.
Northstar Resort, Calif.: This place has 3,170 acres of terrain with 100 trails and 15 lifts. The terrain is 13 percent beginner, 60 percent intermediate and 27 percent advanced. The average annual snowfall is 350 inches. There are also eight terrain parks, a tubing hill, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities.
Northstar’s base area is especially fun, with great restaurants and shops surrounding a 9,000-square-foot ice skating rink, which has comfy furniture and fire pits to warm up and make s’mores.
Diamond Peak: This small resort offers no frills but plenty of charm. It’s family-friendly and never crowded, and the upper trails provide incredible views of Lake Tahoe.
This 655-acre mountain has 27 trails and six lifts. The terrain is 18 percent beginner, 46 percent intermediate and 36 percent advanced.
This mountain near Flagstaff has the feel of an older, more traditional ski resort. It is home to 55 trails on more than 777 skiable acres. Its ski terrain is 22 percent beginner, 43 percent intermediate and 35 percent advanced. There are eight lifts, and the resort receives an average of 260 inches of snowfall.
Nearby is the Arizona Nordic Village, which has a 40K cross-country trail system.
As a thriving college town, Flagstaff has extensive nightlife opportunities, including music venues and top-notch restaurants.
Park City, Utah
The largest ski and snowboard resort in the United States, with an average snowfall of 355 inches, the resort comprises 7,300 acres with 41 lifts accessing 348 trails. There are eight terrain parks, one super pipe and one mini pipe.
It boasts three base areas, the most prominent being Park City Village and Canyons Village. The ice skating rink at the Park City base area has been a tradition for locals and visitors for decades.
For cross-country skiing head to White Pine Touring Nordic Center, located between the resort’s two main bases.
The town has excellent restaurants and world-renowned nightlife. A free bus/shuttle system is the best way to get around.