Believe it or not, there’s more to Sin City than just glitzy casinos and kitschy neon lights. Vegas also serves as an excellent starting point for a ski vacation in Nevada, Southern Utah, and California, so to swap the slot machines for snowy slopes here are the five best destinations to choose from!
Due to COVID-19, safety measures were put in place by the State of Nevada and its counties which impacted the 20/21 ski season for resorts near Las Vegas. These included capacity limits for indoor dining and face coverings when around people who are not part of the same household. At Lee Canyon Resort which is part of Clark County, parking reservations were required to abide with on and off mountain capacity. Such restrictions are not anticipated to continue into the 21/22 winter season.
Lee Canyon is under an hours’ drive from the Las Vegas Strip, making it an awesome option for a skiing day trip. It’s the smallest resort in this list but still remarkably well-equipped, with a large modern base lodge complete with a ski-in/ski-out bar and grill featuring an open-air heated terrace. Beginners and intermediates will undoubtedly get the most out of this mountain, the Ponderosa Glade being one of the standout trails. Advanced skiers can have a blast too though, thanks to four backcountry gates opening up access to deep powder bowls and steep chutes.
Largely overlooked by skiers who focus on the bigger Utah ski destinations, Brian Head is a wonderfully laid-back resort with an impressive 360 in of average annual snowfall. If you’re seeking quiet slopes this place is for you, and with 71 trails across 650 ac there’s plenty to ski. Lunchtime is best spent at the Last Chair Saloon, where you can enjoy a view of the mountainside with some traditional pub grub and a glass of their signature pale ale. Don’t miss out on a guided snowmobile tour into Dixie National Forest if you fancy a day off the skis! Just a little over 3 hours from Las Vegas, Brian Head is the best destination for experiencing Utah’s famously dry powder.
Head across the border to California and you’ll find a resort that’s geared up for skiers and boarders looking to get their adrenaline fix. Bear Mountain is absolutely covered with freestyle features, ranging from gentle banks and small rails for beginners all the way up to big air kickers and a superpipe for skilled tricksters. Drop by Geronimo’s Outpost at the bottom of Chair 8 for a quick bite, or head down to the base area for a flame-grilled burger at BBQ in the Park. And once you’re done for the day, grab a drink and join the revelers on the sundeck at Laybacks Bar!
The sister resort of Bear Mountain, Snow Summit makes up part of the Big Bear Mountain Resort and is definitely the more family-orientated ski area of the two. It features a children’s learning area where kids as young as 4 years old can practice skiing safely, plus the Grizzly Ridge Tube Park is a place where everyone can have fun together no matter their skiing ability. When hunger strikes you have two mountaintop restaurants to choose from, Skyline Taphouse and Hog on the Rocks, both serving tasty BBQ fare with stunning alpine views. Hotels, condos, and cabins are all within walking distance of the lifts here so you can really get the most out of your ski vacation.
Mountain High is one of the oldest mountain resorts in the United States. People have been skiing here since the 1920s, when the only option was to hike up! With three ski areas you can pick whichever is best suited to your ability; North Resort for beginners, East Resort for intermediates, and West Resort for more advanced terrain. Our top pick for on-mountain dining has to be the Grand View Bistro, quickly reached by riding the Mountain High Express chairlift. Just a few miles down the road in sleepy Wrightwood you’ll find cosy mountain cabins and luxury chalets to rent, along with straightforward rooms at affordable motels and inns.