The weather grinches have brought about a sledding ban on Mount Charleston because of an unseasonable lack of snow.
U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Judy Suing said sledding with so little snow can damage sensitive plants and animal habitat. It also can be dangerous because “there are a lot of stumps and rocks that normally would be covered,” she said.
The ban was announced Thursday and includes the entire Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. It is set to last until Dec. 30 or until snow levels reach at least 12 inches.
“This is no way meant to discourage people from coming up and enjoying the forest. The mild weather means that visitors can still hike the trails and enjoy the beautiful scenery the mountain has to offer,” said Stephanie Phillips, deputy forest supervisor for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
The Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort is open for business and unaffected by the ban, thanks to its ability to make its own snow.
Suing said there is some precipitation in the forecast for this weekend, but it is not expected to be enough to allow sledding to resume.
When heavy snow does arrive, visitors are encouraged to bring their sleds to the wide and welcoming slopes at the Foxtail Picnic Area.
Sledding close to roads, in heavily wooded areas or in other hazardous areas increases the chances of serious injury or even death, Suing said.
“Unfortunately, we get a lot of enthusiastic people who come up here,” she said. “We want people to come and enjoy themselves. They just need to do it in the appropriate places.”
Updates on the snow conditions will be posted on electronic signs on the highways leading up Mount Charleston and, for Internet savvy sledders, on the “SpringMountains” Twitter feed.
Contact reporter Henry Brean at hbrean @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350.