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Las Vegas ski resort opens at Lee Canyon as storm leaves

The Lee Canyon bunny hill opened Friday, but if you’re thinking about hopping up to Mount Charleston this weekend, officials ask that you do so safely.

That means parking responsibly, dressing accordingly and traveling with a full tank, since there is no gas on the mountain.

Snow fell steadily the last two days, leaving a fresh layer of powder for novice skiers at the Lee Canyon bunny hill, located at the western end of state Route 156.

The clouds are expected to clear Friday night, which will leave clear, dry conditions on the mountain this weekend. A high of 45 is forecast for Saturday and Sunday with lows of 24 and 25 degrees, respectively.

“Overall the weather should be fairly nice,” National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Boothe said.

The ski area also announced late Friday that Bluebird, its longest ski lift, which services intermediate runs, is slated to open Saturday. So local agencies are expecting a busy weekend for mountain traffic.

Sometimes human error can worsen those traffic conditions, Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Travia Smaka said.

“Everybody wants to go up and enjoy the mountain. That’s understandable,” Smaka said. “But if you go up in a vehicle that’s not properly equipped, then you become a hazard.”

Smaka said two-wheel-drive cars without chains can slip and slide even on flat surfaces if there’s ice. And because two-lane roads are the only roadways that weave through the mountains, any traffic crashes or mishaps can quickly cause a bottleneck, making it hard for emergency vehicles to respond.

Illegally parked cars can exacerbate the problem. Troopers will be out and about, issuing citations.

Lee Canyon’s advanced ski runs are expected to open before the Christmas weekend. Tubing begins Dec. 15.

If you plan on sledding in Lee Meadows and other play areas, officials ask that you only sled in areas with less than a foot of snow, avoid rocks and trees, don’t litter and stay off private property.

In 2013, an 11-year-old girl died from heart injuries after she crashed into a fixed-steel fence while sledding on New Year’s Day. Clark County had installed the fence a few months earlier to keep sledders at bay, and in 2016, the governing body agreed to pay the family more than $130,000 in a settlement.

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3801. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.

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