Skiing in the desert: Las Vegas

I fit “right” in!

Looking ahead to the ski trip I’d been planning, I was worried I’d be writing another post about how I chickened out, this time on the slopes. The one time I’d tried skiing, I was a shy teenager in Albuquerque. After borrowing all of these ridiculous skiing clothes, renting equipment, signing up for the lesson… I didn’t last 15 minutes. I was older than the other beginners, I felt stupid, and I just hated the whole thing. I took off my skis (actually, “ski,” as I only ever got one on) and headed to the lodge, where I sat very happily reading my Sweet Valley High book I’d so wisely brought along. So I can very proudly say:

This time I didn’t chicken out.

Las Vegas schools have had exactly one snow day in 20 years. But up on Mt. Charleston, things are a bit different. Driving up there, the landscape goes from desert to winter wonderland in a matter of minutes. I love it!

Yes, as many of you guessed on my previous post and as I just recently learned myself … you can ski in Las Vegas, at the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort.

This town has everything!!

As sporty as you’ll ever see me.

Las Vegas’ very own ski and snowboard resort was something I had to see — but there was no way I was doing this alone. A big group of us headed up there on a recent Saturday morning, beginners or close-to-beginners, every one of us. It was great! Once everyone else was settled with equipment and clothing, I thought I could get out of it. But no. Soon I was geared up and off to the bunny slope to take my lesson.

The weather couldn’t have been nicer, one of the biggest assets of having a resort in Las Vegas. If it’s one thing we’ve got, it’s sunny skies! (Fun fact: LVSSR boasts more than 300 sunny days a year.)

Can you believe this is in Las Vegas?

 

I quickly latched onto my friend, Erika, shown here. When she filled out her form, she’d put “scaredy cat” as her ski level, so I knew she’d be the least annoyed by me. I have to say here — she did awesome! She left me in the dust almost immediately, which was fine with me. I know that not everyone has ridiculous hangups like I do!

Lining up with the other beginners.

Erika quickly leaves me behind.

When it was my turn, I was the only one who wouldn’t go. It was awful. I had no idea how fast those skis were going to glide, and I just couldn’t let go. Finally, the instructor held up one of us poles, I grabbed on, and he pulled me. Yes, I’m not proud, but it worked!! Once I finally felt what it was like to move down a mountain with these strange things attached to my feet, I was able to putt-putt my way down the bunny slope.

It was awesome!

I did it!

My euphoria was short-lived as it hit me: the only way back up was the chairlift. I considered my options: Was it feasible to ditch the skis, offer to pay for them, and hike back up?

I have never been more scared in my life. I was still trying to gain even the slightest amount of control, and thinking about myself up there almost did me in. I let a handful of people go ahead of me, as they kept trying to usher me over. No way. Finally, my friend Lacey grabbed me, and I was suddenly dangling high above the ground!

We are much higher than it looks.

Getting on and riding is something I think I could used to, but getting off? I was petrified! I quickly found out I couldn’t stop. Panic!! The guy had to grab me and stop me from slamming into the about 10 people standing around.

But I did it! And then… I didn’t do it again. Once was enough for me. I conquered the fear, and I might go again some other day, but so much went into getting me down the bunny slope just one time, that a second attempt would have to wait.

Could I look anymore uncomfortable standing next to Lacey, who skis like a pro?

You win some (riding a horse at Grand Canyon Ranch), you lose some (the challenge course at Miraval got me), but I always have fun trying!

LVSSR is open seven days a week, 9 am until 4 pm.

Kids 3 1/2 and up are welcome. Lessons for all levels are available, as well as equipment and clothing rentals.

Directions:

From downtown Las Vegas: Take U.S. Highway 95 north approx. 30 miles to
Hwy 156, Lee Canyon.
Follow Hwy 156 17 miles to the resort. The highway ends at Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort.

Telephone: 702–385-2754

 

I was a guest of the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort, but all opinions here are my own.

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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Comments

  1. You did great!!!! I nearly twisted my knee off and came close to falling off the ski lift :)

  2. That chairlift was not for the faint of heart!

  3. The lift gives me anxiety every time. It’s definitely the worst part.

  4. Wait, how do your parents live in New Mexico and you’ve never skied before? That’s some of the best skiing in the country right there!

  5. Congrats! And man did you look HOT on the slopes!!!

  6. Getting off the ski lift is seriously the hardest part, so good for you for doing it even if you didn’t quite get the technique down! I also love that your hair is perfect in your “sporty” picture…guess the Las Vegas glam doesn’t disappear just because you’re on the slopes :)

  7. I learn something new every day. Never knew you could ski in Vegas. Thought it was all about the money!

  8. I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s scared of the chairlift!

    Yes, off the Strip, Vegas is full of outdoorsy things to do! But I didn’t learn about the ski resort until this year. It was really great!

  9. Yay you were finally brave enough! Never thought that Las Vegas would have snow even if it’s just a day out of the year. I’m glad you enjoyed your skiing experience!

  10. Some parts of Vegas get snow dustings, although I live in the valley. It was really fun to be up on the mountain!

  11. Best thing about this post? Even though you were terrified, your true blogger nature came out enough for you to take a photo from the chairlift. HI-larious! ;)

  12. Ah, my mom’s new boyfriend is a super skiier and now she too has adopted the hobby. She’s planning a ski day during my visit home and I’m a bit skeptical. We’ll see how it goes!

  13. Katrina, there was no way I was going to let that moment pass lol.

    Let me know how it goes, Alex!!

  14. We were so, so, so, so proud of you Abby! I had a feeling it might be hard for you, but you rocked it your one time down the slope!

  15. That’s funny that you had a hunch I wouldn’t be the speediest skier lol. You guys were awesome!

  16. I’ve never been skiing but we’re moving to Norway so I really hope I can talk John into at least trying cross-country. I’m terrified of falling on my face or worse with downhill (I can be pretty unco) but your post here is pretty inspiring for me to try sometime. Can’t believe this is in Vegas!

  17. I was really surprised when I first heard about Mt. Charleston. I had no idea that it was so close to Vegas. Glad you went there and got out on the skis. Looks like a nice resort. STILL trying to get up to Tahoe for skiing this winter — can’t seem to find the time.

  18. Andrea, have someone pull you for a little bit… It helped me! I can’t wait to hear about cross-country — no fear, but so much work!

    I love that you knew about Mt. Charleston, Cathy!!

  19. That seems so bizarre, how cold was it? Did you even need jackets?

  20. Yay for you, Abby! I’m so glad you did it! I hope you decide to go again… A few years ago, my husband & I got into skiing. I had done it in my teens but my husband had only gone once or twice before. He picked it up right away and skis really well. I couldn’t stand all the people telling us that it was way too late for him to learn — not true at all! I think it’s actually easier (or at least more enjoyable) for adults to learn because they have so much more control over the experience. Like as a kid, I never felt dressed right, it wasn’t up to me when to take a break, etc. Yay for skiing :)

  21. You did good!!!!!! I was so proud of you. :)

  22. Yeah Abby! I had no idea you could ski anywhere near Vegas.

  23. Surprised me, too!! I’ve been meaning to go all winter.

  24. Snowboarding I always stick to the bunny hill while Shaun goes off and does jumps, grinds poles, and makes me feel like a moron. I really need to take a lesson.

  25. I find it amazing that you were afraid to go down the slope yet did not hesitate when jumping off an airplane. Quite a day as I can see!

  26. How do you snowboard without a lesson??!

    I am sometimes a wuss, Fede, at the strangest times!

  27. Oooh, definitely didn’t consider doing this while in Vegas. But now I KNOW! :)

  28. Wicked, congratulations. It is difficult to learn anything new as we all get older and to conquer your fears is awesome. I know the feeling oh so well when you see the top of the hill coming towards you and you think, what I have to get off? We’ve witnessed many a pile up:)

  29. I never realized you could ski so close to Vegas. The slopes look nice!

    I’m so proud of you for giving skiing a shot! I find it kind of funny that you were apprehensive of the ski lift yet you were the one who made sure I didn’t chicken-out from going on the Big Shot @ the Stratosphere!! ;) You are way braver than you think!

  30. You did better than I ever did trying to ski. It was an experience I never forgot and probably will never repeat. Skiing I find is too much of an expensive sport to not have fun. At least you made it down the bunny slope by yourself (I wasn’t so lucky). I’m totally fine watching others near the fireplace with some hot cocoa.

  31. Mike Hardaker says:

    Well you should still come to the 50th anniversary party!!

    http://mtnweekly.com/las-vegas-ski-snowboard-resort-celebrates-50-years-of-sliding-on-snow-34814

    Great recap on learning to ski!!

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