Skiers and Snowboarders Counting Days Until Slopes Open

92By Jordan Johnson

Lee Canyon, formerly Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort, is opening soon for its winter season.

According to Trevor Ropelato, Lee Canyon’s media specialist, the resort should open to skiers and snowboarders around Thanksgiving, though the resort isn’t able to give a set date.

Opening day fluctuates year-to-year based on the amount of natural snowfall and the temperature that the area maintains. The resort also produces manmade snow. It typically needs around 20 to 24 inches of snow as a base before opening so skiers and snowboarders don’t run aground, according to Ropelato.

Lee Canyon, one of the many peaks in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, has a summit elevation of 11,289 feet. Its peak is not as high as some of the tallest mountains in the world like Mt. Everest sitting at approximately 29,000 feet but our local mountain is higher than Mt. Hood in Oregon sitting at 11,239 feet amongst many others.

The longest ski run at Lee Canyon is 3,100 feet. The largest vertical drop is 860 feet.

This year is the first under the resort’s new name, which was its original name when the resort was established in 1963. The name Lee Canyon was changed in 2003 to Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort. However, after 12 years, the resort has decided the name change just didn’t fit any longer.

“The old name [Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort] kind of pigeon-holed us into a winter resort and we are trying to expand the summer operations,” Ropelato says. “It is kind of hard to say ‘Come to a summer concert at Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort’ so we think that the name Lee Canyon opens it up and broadens it back out.”

According to a press release dated Nov. 2, 2015, the resort wanted to “[Return] to its roots.” Lee Canyon is a winter resort for snow-enthusiasts as well as a summer getaway for the whole family.

Beginning in 2012, the resort opens every year for a summer season. During the weekend, locals and visitors can come to play disc golf, ride the scenic chair lifts and hike the trails of Lee Canyon. The resort is also working to add downhill mountain biking as an activity for the summer season, Ropelato says.

Though the summer season is growing in popularity, locals are still mostly attracted to the resort’s winter season.

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Photo courtesy of Derek Denman

“Honestly, I do love it up there,” says Joshua Cameron, College of Southern Nevada student and avid snowboarder. “The people are awesome. It’s always a good environment: a good time.”

College students are amongst many of the resort’s demographics. Lee Canyon welcomes college-based ski and snowboard clubs to book group trips. CSN does not currently have a ski club.

When asked if they would be interested in joining a CSN ski and snowboard club, CSN students Ashley Gutierrez and Jhordy Ramirez both say they would.

“All of my friends get [season passes] and we all go as a group,” Gutierrez adds.

Ramirez goes up to the canyon three or four times a year.

The most cost-efficient ticket option is the All Access Pass for the 2015 to 2016 season, which costs $549 for an adult 18 or over. Military and children passes are less expensive. It comes with unlimited entry to Lee Canyon and its chairlifts. Additionally the pass affords over 40 days of skiing and snowboarding at 10 other resorts around the country such as Eagle Point in Utah and Purgatory in Colorado.

“[The All Access Pass is] the cheapest option if you go every weekend like I do,” Cameron says.

Lee Canyon closes typically around Easter, which is March 27. If the mountain gets an unusually good season with plenty of snowfall the resort will stay open later into the spring.

For more information about Lee Canyon, visit http://www.skilasvegas.com/.

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