The snow-capped peak of Mount Charleston offers a stunning contrast to the desert landscape, and this winter it’s been stirring the curiosity of locals and tourists. The nearly 12,000-foot stark white peak begs those in Las Vegas to ask, “What’s up there?”
People are heading up to the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area in droves with sleds, snowshoes and picnic gear in tow. With El Nino in full force, the stoke of local skiers and snowboarders is at an all-time high. Lee Canyon ski area has had nearly 3 feet of snow since the holidays, which is more than it received all of last season.
There are only two roads to access the Mount Charleston area, Kyle and Lee Canyon Roads, so on weekends, traffic has become an issue. Several government agencies, along with Lee Canyon, have created the Mount Charleston Winter Alliance to offer visitors to the SMNRA up-to-date road and traffic conditions and safety tips. Be sure to visit www.mtcharlestonwinter.com or call the Nevada Highway Patrol’s hotline.
Ski/snowboard competition season
Downtown Las Vegas will be seeing some snow on Saturday night when 25 pro snowboarders compete in the second annual Park Jam. Competitors have 45 minutes to dazzle judges and pull off their best tricks on a massive 30-foot-tall rail structure. The winner takes home $5,000 and some serious bragging rights.
Don’t fret: Lee Canyon’s base will not be harmed in the production of this event.
“We are bringing in 30 tons of ice that will be shaved into snow,” said Keith Pfahler of ParkFab, a Las Vegas-based company that is producing the event.
Last year, about 2,500 people attended Park Jam, and with an expanded vendor village and horsepower such as Zappos behind the event, organizers expect a big surge in that number.
The vendor village includes big-name snowboard brands, including Vans and Burton. Families are encouraged to take advantage of Burton’s Riglet Park, where kids ages 3-6 can discover snowboarding in a safe environment using Burton’s Riglet reel tow cable. Kids 12 and under also can participate in other fun “Learn to Ride” activities.
The event is on Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard, and festivities start at 6 p.m., with the contest at 7:30. It is free to the public.
Also on Saturday, Lee Canyon is hosting the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association Grand Canyon Series Slopestyle competition. A great event for spectators and athletes, the USASA’s Grand Canyon region competitions are open to athletes from Southern Nevada and Arizona.
Snowboard and freeskier athletes of all ages can compete to qualify for nationals. Registration is available at www.leecanyonlv.com for $25 or at the event for $35.
Train now, run later
The sixth annual Summerlin Half Marathon is April 10, and if you’re planning to run in this sell-out event, now is the time to start training.
The event’s producer, Desert Sky Adventures, just started its 13-week team-training program, and it’s not too late to get onboard for the group’s Saturday morning runs. According to Molly Sheridan, a pro-ultra runner and DSA founder, the benefit of team training is motivation and simplicity.
“People are just more likely to show up to train when they know their group is waiting for them, even when it’s cold and windy,” Sheridan said. “We map out and mark the course, supply water and Gatorade along the way, and there are coaches and volunteers for support.”
Led by Kendall Brosnahan, a certified Road Runners Club of America coach and a veteran marathon runner and triathlete, the $150 fee includes ongoing coaching, a body assessment, nutrition planning and weekly training runs that involve hills, speed work and running the race course. Weekly mileage varies based on a runner’s fitness level. Walkers are also welcome. Drop-ins are welcome for a $10 fee.
Meeting times and locations vary. Check DSA’s website (www.desertskyadventures.com) for more information on training.
Stephanie Forte is a local longtime rock climber and snowboarder. She is one of the voices of Beyond Vegas, a social media community that helps to connect people to outdoor adventures in Southern Nevada. If you are hosting an outdoor event, send information to email@example.com. Follow her at @StephNForte.
Wednesday: Vegas Fun Run at Village Runner, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Saturday: Poker Run 5k & 2M in Old Silver Bowl Park, 8 a.m.
Thursday: Bears Best Ride, Las Vegas Cyclery, 2:30-4 p.m.
Sunday: John Johnson fourth annual memorial ride, Cottonwood Valley, 9:30 a.m.
Sunday: Flatlander’s Ride, Einstein Bros. on West Cheyenne, 9 a.m.
Saturday: Guided Sunset Hike at Oak Creek, Red Rock (call 702-515-5367 for times).
Sunday: Guided Full Moon Hike, Spring Mountain Ranch, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday Local Ladies’ Night, Nevada Climbing Centers, 6:30-9:30 p.m.