Resort to celebrate 50th anniversary with Nov. 16 gala

Kicking off its 50th anniversary season, the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort plans to celebrate with a gala, new facilities at the resort and the largest single investment in its history.

The resort plans to host a gala Nov. 16 at the Amanda Harris Gallery of Contemporary Art and The Lady Silvia bar and lounge, both at 900 Las Vegas Blvd. South, and has asked 50 artists to paint snowboards for the silent auction. But as the resort undergoes major changes, some of the people who have been then since the early years are reflecting on the past.

"Over time, the ski area has lost its place in the Las Vegas area, and we really want to bring it back," said Kevin Stickelman, the resort’s president and general manager .

Ski instructor Marcel Barel, a legend to friends of the resort, said he remembers the first time he drove up Mount Charleston in 1967.

"It was like a pyramid and snow-covered and I said, ‘ Whoa ,’ " Barel said. "I got up to the ski area and said, ‘I’m out of here tomorrow,’ and I’m still here."

Barel, a single father, ran the ski school as his own business for years, and his daughter learned to ski alongside resort visitors.

"Now, almost daily, somebody comes up and says, ‘Oh, Marcel, you’re still up here? God, I was 8 years old when you taught me, and this is my grandson.’ This happens all the time," Barel said.

Over the years, Barel said the biggest change happened with the resort introduced snowboarding. Resort officials were hesitant at first, but now snowboarding makes up 50 percent of the business, he said.

Part of the celebration, the resort replaced chair lift 3 with Rabbit Peak Quad, an energy-efficient lift for beginner skiers and snowboarders. Chair 3 transported skiers on the Rabbit Peak Trail for the last 30 years, but the new lift should making loading and unloading easier for beginners.

Stickelman said that among all of the new features, he’s most excited about the chair lift.

Barel said he just hopes this chair lift installation goes better than the first one. Barel said he was part of a team that set up the original lift. The next morning, Barel said he and his colleagues rode up to work when one of them hit his head with his hand when he realized they put up an entire section backward . To fix it, the resort had to bring in a large crane to lift it and turn it around.

The new lift should be installed by early December after the resort’s targeted opening on Nov. 23, Stickelman said.

When the resort originally opened in 1963, it had only one T-bar lift, a warming hut and an A-frame chalet for a lodge.

Stickelman said he hopes the anniversary and new amenities will put the resort back on the map. "What I hope this does is usher in a new era," Stickelman said. "For 50 years, this resort kind of operated under the radar here in Las Vegas. I t kind of fell behind by not pushing expansion."

Stickelman wants to see the resort as a premier outdoor destination in the region, he said, but he doesn’t want the changes to happen too quickly.

"A lot of locals still don’t even know we exist, and right now, since the ski lodge didn’t keep pace, we could really bury this place with long lines," he said.

The resort can handle between 1,800 and 2,000 people a day, with most winter season days averaging fewer than 1,000 visitors. But with the new plans for the resort, Stickelman said the park could accommodate between 4,000 and 4,200 athletes in the future.

" Thirty to 35 years ago, this place was a big part of Las Vegas locals, and that’s changed so much," Stickelman said.

Barel said he remembers when Las Vegas was a smaller town, and local celebrities would bring their entourages to the mountain with show girls.

Director of mountain operations Jack Bean said he started working at the resort in 1967 while he was in high school. He picked up trash , cleaned tables and collected lift tickets so he could earn enough money to ski.

"I just have a sense of real pride that I’ve been here throughout it all," he said. "Through all the good and bad things, I’m still here."

He said it was a struggle for the resort to survive the first few years. It was not until a snow machine was introduced in the mid-1980s that the resort found some stability; without it, Bean’s not sure the resort would have survived.

He said when Powdr Corp. bought the resort in 2003, he had renewed energy that "we are going to have things built and built right." His worst memory, however, was the 2005 season, when an avalanche buried a young boy who died.

"It’s a shame that it takes something like that to happen to realize that we needed to change our methods," he said. Since then, he said the resort changed how it manages avalanches.

Bean met his wife on the mountain, and like Barel’s daughter, his children learned to ski at the resort and worked on the mountain.

As part of the $35 million development plan that was accepted by the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in 2011, the resort plans to reveal 14 new trails, a restaurant remodel, a Prinoth Bison X Snocat grooming machine, a new guest locker room and a new on-mountain grill this season.

The remodeling of Bighorn Grill includes a new kitchen and dining area with healthier options, made-to-order options and a baked potato bar. The new menu is important, Stickelman said, because instead of just serving pizza and burgers cafeteria-style, the new resort will mirror modern resorts in Utah and Oregon, he said.

As the master plan is implemented in the next 10 to 12 years, the resort plans to upgrade the number of trails from 30 to 50 and lifts from four to 10.

Sixty-five percent of visitors are from Southern Nevada, but 10 percent come from Hawaii, 5 percent from Southern California and 5 percent from Asia. The remaining 15 percent come predominantly from Texas and Florida.

The Who’s On Board gala is scheduled to include a cocktail reception, an art show and a silent auction. The event is invitation-only, from 6 to 8 p.m., but doors open to the public 21 or older at 8 p.m. The silent auction is planned to run until 9:30 p.m.

The resort also plans to host an anniversary celebration Feb. 16 on the hill, with regional athletes, a bar, prizes, food and live music spun by a disc jockey.

Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Laura Phelps at or 702-477-3839.

Local Videos
Dog Yoga At Hydrant Club
The Hydrant Club in downtown Las Vegas, is a social club for dogs and their people. Recently the club started hosting dog yoga. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Butterflies At The Springs Preserve
The butterfly habitat is now open at the Springs Preserve. Learn about butterflies and take in the peaceful surroundings. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
The Bellagio Conservatory's spring display has a Japanese theme
The Bellagio's conservatory is hosting around 65,000 flowers, to form a Japanese theme this spring. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs closes (Caroline Brehman/Kimber Laux)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas officially closed its gates Sunday, March 17, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Honoring a fallen North Las Vegas Police officer at his namesake school
The 20th Annual Raul P. Elizondo Honor Day celebrates the fallen North Las Vegas Police officer's legacy at his namesake school. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Windy day in Las Vegas Valley
The Review-Journal's camera on the under-construction Las Vegas Stadium the was buffered by high winds on Wednesday, March 14, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
March gloom falls on Las Vegas
After a rainy overnight, gloomy skies hover over Las Vegas Tuesday morning. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
John Katsilometes gets his head shaved at St. Baldrick's
Las Vegas Review-Journal man-about-town columnist John Katsilometes gets his head shaved by former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman during St. Baldrick's Foundation shave-a-thon on the Brooklyn Bridge at New York-New York in Las Vegas Friday, March 8, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Blue Angels take flight over Las Vegas Strip
The Blue Angels’ U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron flew their signature Delta formation over a part of the Las Vegas Strip, McCarran International Airport and east Las Vegas and were scheduled to fly over Hoover Dam. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Gross World Records
A group of about 20 children gathered around a TV at Sahara West Library on Feb. 27 for a history lesson on the most disgusting world records.
Graduation for Renewing HOPE program
The Renewing HOPE program graduation for homeless who spend nine months in Catholic Charities program. Graduates are preparing to enter the workforce. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Car crashes into Starbucks near Las Vegas Strip
Lt. William Matchko of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police gives details about a car crashing into a Starbucks at Sahara Avenue and Paradise Road, near the Las Vegas Strip, on Friday, March 1, 2019. (Jessica Terrones/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Car crashed into PT’s Gold
A 60-year-old man who police believe was impaired drove into a PT’s Gold at Silverado Ranch and Decatur boulevards Thursday night, Metropolitan Police Department Lt. William Matchko said. The driver was hospitalized and is expected to survive. A man inside the bar was hit by debris but drove himself to the hospital, Matchko said. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Driver crashes vehicle into PT’s tavern in south Las Vegas (part 1)
A driver suspected of impairment crashed a vehicle into the wall of a PT’s Gold tavern, at 4880 W. Silverado Ranch Blvd., in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Driver crashes vehicle into PT’s tavern in south Las Vegas (pullout)
A driver suspected of impairment crashed a vehicle into the wall of a PT’s Gold tavern, at 4880 W. Silverado Ranch Blvd., in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids Read Books To Dogs At The Animal Foundation In Las Vegas
Kids from local Las Vegas elementary schools took part, Thursday, in a program at the Animal Foundation, where they read books to dogs. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Pioneer Trail highlights historic locations in West Las Vegas
The Pioneer Trail, a 16-site route of historically significant locations in Las Vegas, starts at the Springs Preserve and snakes east until it reaches above the brim of downtown. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutefsya
Vegas Warm Weather Hits Las Vegas Valley
Between Feb. 20-21, parts of the Las Vegas Valley were hit with 7.5" of snow. Less than a week later, it was sunny with temperatures in the 70s. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest at the VA Hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, a World War II Army veteran, was arrested in November after he caused a ruckus at the VA Hospital in North Las Vegas and stole his driver's car keys. He was arraigned on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, and the charges will be dropped after 60 days. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Claytee White talks about Black History Month
An interview with Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Reflecting on the Moulin Rouge and a segregated Vegas
Former employees of the Moulin Rouge, the first integrated hotel-casino in Nevada, talk about what it was like in the brief six months the casino was open. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices
Home prices rose in every ZIP code in the Las Vegas Valley in 2018 for the second year in a row, according to SalesTraq. Prices grew fastest in older, more centrally located areas. But prices were highest in the suburbs. The top three ZIP codes for price growth were 89119 (29.8%), 89146 (25%) and 89030 (24.6%). The top three ZIP codes for median sales prices were 89138 ($464,500), 89135 ($420,500) and 89052 ($370,000).
Wagonwheel Drive overpass reopens after ice closure
Overpass at Wagonwheel Drive reopens after ice on the onramp caused the ramp to be shut down, Feb. 22, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Keeping warm at the city of Las Vegas’ homeless courtyard
With help from the city of Las Vegas, a Salvation Army shelter stays open during the day Thursday and Friday, offering a safe place for the homeless to find respite from freezing temperatures and snow. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sloppy, Slushy Road Conditions Lead to Slow Traffic
Traffic slowed to a crawl on Jones are near Russell as conditions worsened Thursday. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Winter storm blankets west side of Las Vegas Valley
On Wednesday evening through early Thursday a winter storm dumped more than 7 1/2 inches of snow on some parts of the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas snow day for children
Las Vegas kids play in the snow that fell on Feb. 21, 2019. (Belinda Englman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow closes Red Rock Canyon, residents enjoy rare snowfall
The greater Las Vegas area was hit with snowfall on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2019. This video shows the areas surrounding Red Rock Canyon and the Summerlin community. Video by: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas kids attend school in the snow
Las Vegas children attend school during a rare snowstorm on Feb. 21, 2019. Staton Elementary School and other CCSD schools remained open. (Glenn Cook/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People enjoying the snow in Summerlin
Fox Hill Park in Summerlin was busy Thursday morning, Feb. 21, 2019, with people enjoying the rare snow that fell overnight. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It is a rainy Valentine's Day in Las Vegas - Video
These scenes come from the Las Vegas Stadium LiveCam (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Home Front Page Footer Listing