"The Strip" Las Vegas Blvd at night, Las Vegas, Nevada

24 hours in Las Vegas

Cover: “The Strip” Las Vegas Blvd at night, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures @Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


If ever there was a city designed to make only 24 hours for a visit not only doable but also enjoyable, it’s Las Vegas.

24 hours in Las Vegas
24 hours in Las Vegas
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With 15 of the world’s largest 25 hotels located on the 4 miles of Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Strip, a vast array of restaurants, casinos, shopping, and entertainment options are available for non-stop amusement.

The Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tour at night, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tour at night, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

While the average visitor to Sin City stays about three days, sometimes one night in the city where the party never ends is all the schedule allows, requiring some prioritization to make the most of the adventure. How would we spend our time between touchdown and wheels up – almost exactly 24 hours in Las Vegas? We turned to some tried and true favorites from our many previous visits, while still working in some time for our favorite activity in any city – wandering.

Here’s how it went…

1:00 pm Lunch at Mon Ami Gabi

After a quick cab ride to the hotel, we checked in and dropped our bags in the room. Most hotels have a 4:00pm check in time in Vegas, but hotels will either hold your bags in storage or some offer an early check-in option for a fee, which ours offered. We decided we didn’t want to have to worry about coming back to the hotel to deal with checking in later and opted for early check-in.

Mon Ami Gabi, Paris, Las Vegas, Nevada
Mon Ami Gabi, Paris, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Bags settled in the room, we were hungry and headed out for lunch at one of our favorite patios, Mon Ami Gabi at Paris Las Vegas. A great spot for people watching and viewing the fountains across the street at Bellagio, Mon Ami Gabi also delivers some fine French bistro fare.

Mon Ami Gabi, Las Vegas, Nevada
Mon Ami Gabi, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

2:30 pm Shopping at Bellagio

Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Deciding we needed to do some walking to work off lunch, we headed over to Bellagio for a stroll.

Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada
Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Built in 1998 at an original cost of $1.6 billion, Bellagio is an exquisite hotel inspired by Italy’s village of Bellagio near Lake Como. Elegance abounds at the resort with art collections and stunning décor throughout, including over 2,000 hand blown glass flowers by Dale Chihuly that cover the ceiling of the lobby.

Dale Chihuly glass, Lobby ceiling, Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada
Dale Chihuly glass, Lobby ceiling, Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

On the north side of the hotel, Bellagio offers the finest in shopping with elaborate hallways lined with luxury brands such as Tiffany, Valentino, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, and many more.

Shopping at Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada
Shopping at Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

After some intense decision making (black or brown?), we left with a new bag in tow, then headed to Caesar’s for a spin around the casino.

Shopping at Bellagio Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
Shopping at Bellagio Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

3:30 A visit to Caesars Palace

Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A classic that continues to update itself, Caesars has been located on the corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Blvd in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip since 1966. Built by Jay Sarno, who wanted to have guests experience life as Caesar would have, the hotel is complete with palaces, statues, and opulence.

Having stayed at Caesars multiple times over the years, one of our favorite memories was staying in one of the round room suites in the old Roman Tower just before it was remodeled. Complete with a round bed and lots of red velvet, we jokingly checked the room to make sure the ghost of Elvis wasn’t hiding in one of the closets.

Caesar, Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Caesar, Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Still one of our favorite hotels in Las Vegas, Caesars has grown to a massive resort with nearly 4,000 rooms and suites in six towers, a wide variety of restaurants and bars, a 166,000 square foot casino, The Coliseum at Caesars Palace, and The Forum Shops. All that shopping and walking left us parched, and it was 5:00, so that meant… cocktail time.

5:00 pm Martinis at Gordon Ramsay’s Steak

Vegas has no shortage of beautiful bars offering delightful libations. With only one night in town, selection of our happy hour destination deserved careful consideration. Should we unwind at the captivating Seahorse Bar at Caesars, which boasts actual sea horses in their aquarium?

Seahorse Bar, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Seahorse Bar, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Mesa Grill, Bobby Flay’s first restaurant outside of New York which opened in 2004, has a beautiful bar and serves up some incredible southwestern cuisine.

Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Or, perhaps some chill time at the sleek bar at Martorano’s?

Martorano’s, Las Vegas, Nevada
Martorano’s, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures ©Chasing Light Media

So many tantalizing options, but the winner tonight – the lounge at Gordon Ramsay’s Steak at Paris.

Gordon Ramsay Steak, Las Vegas, Nevada
Gordon Ramsay Steak, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sipping lemon drop martinis under the neon-lit ceiling adorned with a rendition of the Union Jack Flag brought back fond memories of celebrating a milestone birthday with the tasting menu in the restaurant a few years earlier, just after it had opened.

Ramsay’s chic London invasion of Vegas in Paris specializes in Ramsay’s classics, including the legendary Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Martinis at Gordon Ramsay Steak, Las Vegas, Nevada
Martinis at Gordon Ramsay Steak, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

6:30 pm A twilight stroll down the Strip

Early evening in Las Vegas, Nevada
Early evening in Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Heading toward the south end of The Strip just as the sun began to set, we joined the crowds taking in the sights and sounds on the wide sidewalks lining the boulevard. Magicians entertained, singers performed, and thousands of people roamed between the casinos, shops, restaurants, and bars.

Street performers along the Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada
Street performers along the Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

While the Las Vegas mega-resorts are impressive against the brilliant blue Nevada skies of the day, Vegas doesn’t really come alive until those millions of lights begin to twinkle. As we approached the Monte Carlo, which has occupied its place on Las Vegas Boulevard since 1996, the sun quietly disappeared leaving a brilliant blue hue in its wake.

Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Like many of the hotels, which have expanded their presence in front of the hotels toward the Strip in recent years, Monte Carlo added BLVD Plaza in 2014, with multiple casual restaurant and bars.

Cantina Diablo, Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Cantina Diablo, Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures ©Chasing Light Media

Next door, New York New York recreates the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the CBS Building, and nine other of New York City’s most famous skyscrapers, with each hotel tower reaching a height approximately one-third the size of its inspiration. A replica of the Brooklyn Bridge leads into the hotel, casino, and shops.

Brooklyn Bridge, New York - New York Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Brooklyn Bridge, New York – New York Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
New York New York, Las Vegas, Nevada
New York New York, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

And, of course, Lady Liberty welcomes visitors from around the world at the entrance.

Statue of Liberty at New York New York in Las Vegas, Nevada
Statue of Liberty at New York New York in Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Near the southern end of the Strip, King Arthur holds Court at the Camelot-themed Excalibur, which glows magically each night.

Excalibur, Las Vegas, Nevada
Excalibur, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Across the intersection, the MGM Grand has been attracting visitors worldwide since 1993.

MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada
MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The third largest hotel in the world based on the number of rooms, MGM Grand has over 5000 rooms and suites and is home to the largest casino in Clark County, the county where Las Vegas is located. Originally built with a Wizard of Oz theme, which included the yellow brick road, Dorothy and the rest of the Oz characters, the resort has evolved over the years to a more old-Hollywood, deco vibe.

MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada
MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Heading back toward the north, the frenzy of Las Vegas was all around us. From flips flops to stilettos, from wedding dresses to pajamas, the crowds converge in search of lady luck along the famous boulevard. To that note, Vegas is a town that is best to walk if possible – even the hotel next door is always quite a distance away – so, bring your walking shoes, stop at each hotel for a bit of rest.

An evening on the Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada
An evening on the Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Bellagio at night, Las Vegas, Nevada
Bellagio at night, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Arriving back at Bellagio, we gazed at Bally’s and Paris shimmering against a sky complete with a full moon and decided we should go check out the Eiffel Tower’s observation deck.

Ballys, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, Nevada
Ballys, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

30 minutes later Vegas was at our feet.

8:30 pm Eiffel Tour Experience

“The Strip” Las Vegas Blvd at night, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A half-scale replica of the famous Paris landmark, the Vegas version of the La Tour Eiffel offers the opportunity to see the city from a bird’s eye view, 46 stories above the Strip. Following a glass-elevator ride to the top, the Eiffel Tour Experience offers amazing 360-degree views of the city.

An open-air, caged deck, the platform has holes approximately the size of a camera lens placed at intervals around the platform for capturing stunning images of Las Vegas in all directions.

Bellagio and Caesars Palace from the Eiffel Tower Experience, Las Vegas, Nevada
Bellagio and Caesars Palace from the Eiffel Tower Experience, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

9:30 pm Dinner at Spago

Paris Las Vegas casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Paris Las Vegas casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Arriving back down to the casino floor, we considered a bit of blackjack, but opted for dinner instead, with pizza definitely on the evening’s agenda.

Spago - Las Vegas
Spago – Las Vegas
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

One of our favorite pizza places has long been Spago’s, so off we went to Caesars Palace. Located in the Forum Shops, we asked for a spot on the patio for some late evening people watching and mushroom pizza. As we enjoyed our Italian pie and some vino, we discussed spots we hadn’t been in a while and decided that a bit of blackjack was now definitely in order and we should pay Rio and their Carnival in the Sky a visit in the process.

11:00 pm Games of chance at Rio

Grabbing a cab, we arrived at Rio just after 11:00 pm and quickly headed over to the Masquerade Tower casino in hopes we weren’t too late to catch the last show of the night.

The Carnival in the Sky began in 1997, with Mardi Gras-style floats circulating above the casino floor hourly, as dancers would toss beads to those below and to crowds on the balconies surrounding the casino.

Arriving, it seemed oddly quiet in the casino. The tracks where the floats circulated were still on the ceiling, but that was about it. A quick Google search and – oh no! We were late – by more than a few years. The show had stopped in March 2013.

Rio, Las Vegas, Nevada
Rio, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Bummer! We went back over to the more lively main casino to try our hand at a few table games, and then called it a night.

8:30 am Starbucks & a morning walk

Since we’d covered the southern end of the Strip the previous night, a hike up north was on the morning’s agenda. After grabbing a chai and muffin, we began our urban trek.

The Venetian is an all-suites hotel, with over 4,000 luxury suites in the main building and another 3,000 in the Palazzo wing of the hotel.

The Venetian, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Venetian, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Complete with a replica of St Marks Tower and a restaurant and boutique-lined Grand Canal, gondoliers offer rides both inside and outside the hotel.

Grand Canal Shoppes, The Venetian, Las Vegas, Nevada
Grand Canal Shoppes, The Venetian, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Further north, Wynn, Encore, the Stratosphere and the Fashion Show Mall awaited, but our time was running short.

Fashion Show Mall, Stratosphere, Encore, Wynn, Las Vegas, Nevada
Fashion Show Mall, Stratosphere, Encore, Wynn, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

10:00 am Last stop – The Forum Shops

The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Arriving back at The Forum Shops entrance, we had a choice – continue down the street or take a “shortcut” through the mall and Caesars.

Home to more 636,000 square feet/59,100 square meters) of retail shops, restaurants, and a large collection of luxury boutiques ranging from Cartier to Channel to Versace, it is reported to be the highest grossing mall in the United States – with sales per square foot exceeding Rodeo Drive and the Magnificent Mile in Chicago.

Talking Statues, Fountains, and Aquariums at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Talking Statues, Fountains, and Aquariums at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Following a couple of stops to watch the fountains and talking statues and a quick swing through the Apple store, we made our way to the hotel, retrieved the bags and grabbed a cab.

Caesars Palace, Forum Shops, Las Vegas, Nevada
Caesars Palace, Forum Shops, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Getting to the airport early in Vegas is a must – even with TSA Pre√ the lines can be excruciating at times – and it left us enough time to stop by Sammy’s.

11:30 am Lunch at Sammy’s Beach Bar at the airport

While some may know that Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Sammy Hagar owns the Cabo Wabo Cantinas and a popular tequila company, many may have not made the connection when they walked by Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill in Terminal C at McCarran.

Sammy's Beach Bar, McCarran Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada
Sammy’s Beach Bar, McCarran Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With fresh, tasty food and friendly, quick service, Sammy’s is a good choice for lunch at the airport. Add in that, as the menu states, “Sammy has dedicated his profits from this restaurant to local community children’s charities. Sammy wants you to enjoy a great meal, great drink and know that together we can make a difference!”

After a beer, some fabulous nachos, and a huge salad, we grabbed our bags and walked back over to our terminal, ready for our next adventure.

Until next time – Viva Las Vegas!

Las Vegas from the air
Las Vegas from the air
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe – An undiscovered gem in full view

Cover: Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


On the mountain ridge on the western side of Reno that separates the city from Lake Tahoe, the distinct trails of a ski resort are visible from just about everywhere in Reno. Sitting high above the city, Mt. Rose Ski Resort has long been a favorite spot for skiing by Reno residents and locals from the Nevada side of the lake, but it is often overlooked by out of town visitors seeking a ski destination.

Located only 22 miles from the Reno Tahoe airport, Mt. Rose has a fabulous mix of beginner and intermediate terrain and one of the largest collection of steep skiing chutes in North America. Day skiing at Mt. Rose combined with the enjoyment of the top hotels, restaurants, and casinos in Reno results in one outstanding ski vacation.

Greg Hull at Mt Rose Ski Tahoe, Reno, Nevada
Greg Hull at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe: Skiing and snow boarding

Day lodge, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Day lodge, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The day lodge at the base of Mt. Rose is located at an elevation of 8,260 ft, the highest of all the Lake Tahoe ski resorts, and as the Mt. Rose tagline states, “Where the snow is!” From there, it is just a quick ride up the Northwest Magnum high speed six pack to the summit at 9700 ft/2956 meters.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The ride whisks you up, past the advanced and expert-level Chutes on the left, and provides an opportunity to plan your attack of the wide, blue groomers to the right.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With exceptionally wide, tree-lined trails, blues of varying steepness stack side by side across the mountain to the west, offering some of the best intermediate skiing at Lake Tahoe.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Reaching the top, you’ll immediately be ready to head down the hill, but it’s a photo opportunity not to be missed with stunning views of the Washoe and Carson Valleys, Reno, and Mt. Rose’s 60 trails and 1200+ skiable acres.

Greg Hull at Mt Rose Ski Resort, Reno, Nevada
Greg Hull at Mt Rose Ski Resort, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

It is also a spot to understand the straight-forward layout of Mt. Rose and how it connects to Slide Bowl.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Connection to Slide Bowl from Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe summit, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Originally a separate ski area, Slide Mountain, also previously called the Reno Ski Bowl, was acquired by Mt. Rose in 1987. The Slide side can now be accessed by heading straight off the back of the Mt. Rose summit and vice versa from the Slide Summit. Slide Mountain, now called Slide Bowl, is a beautiful mix of intermediate and advanced runs serviced by the Blazing Zephyr six pack lift.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Which leads to the Chutes. The 200+ acres between Slide Bowl and Mt. Rose were brought inbounds in the 2004-2005 season and now offer some of the longest advanced and expert-level skiing in North America, with a vertical drop of 1800 ft to the bottom of the north facing Chutes, which have pitches from 40-55 degrees.

The Chutes, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
The Chutes, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Entry to the Chutes is through designated gates only and, if the gate has a chain across it, access is prohibited. The Chutes can be accessed from the summit chairs on both the Mt. Rose and the Slide Bowl sides. Even though the Chutes are inbounds, remember avalanches can occur on steep terrain at any time.

Mt. Rose has multiple terrain parks including DoubleDown, Badlands, and the Pondo Parks. The parks are redesigned and adjusted on a regular basis.

Terrain park, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Terrain park, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

For the beginners, the Flying Jenny provides access up a magic carpet to a gentle hill near the base of the mountain and in view of the lodge’s deck.

Flying Jenny, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Flying Jenny, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

New for the 2015-2016 season, Mt. Rose has added the Enchanted Forest family zone served by the new Wizard Lift with access to four new beginner trails.

Wizard Lift, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Wizard Lift, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe Ski School

The Mt. Rose Ski and Snowboard School offers daily classes and private lessons for skiers and riders of all abilities from beginner to expert. Children’s lessons (ages 4-10) group lessons (ages 11 and over) and private lessons can be booked online. Mt. Rose also offers Ladies Day Clinics and Silver Ski Clinics for “wiser, more experienced skiers ages 50 and older who are at the skill level of lower intermediate to advanced.”

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe Ski School, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe Ski School, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe: Dining & drinking

Lunch at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Lunch at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Serving both breakfast and lunch, The Lodgepole Café in the main lodge serves up tasty fare from breakfast burritos in the morning to burgers, pizza, chili and pasta at lunch. Grab a seat inside to warm up or head out to catch some sun on the huge deck and watch the action on the slopes.

There’s nothing like a beer after a great day of skiing and Timbers serves up a great selection of beers and other adult beverages in a comfortable, lodge atmosphere.

Timbers, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Timbers, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Where to stay

Mt Rose Ski Tahoe at sunset
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe at sunset
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

One major benefit of skiing on the Nevada side of the lake is the access to a wide variety of lodging, dining and entertainment choices. When the sun goes down, it’s time for a massage, cocktails and dinner, and perhaps some games of chance.

The lodging options when skiing at Mt. Rose are located at Incline Village at the foot of the mountain on the Lake Tahoe side or in Reno, at the foot of the mountain on the valley side. For a quiet, relaxed stay, Incline Village is a good choice but, if a livelier stay is more to your liking, book Reno.

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Reno, Nevada
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Check out our review of a Reno resort hotel that has it all, the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. The Atlantis has beautiful rooms, a world-class spa, a dynamic casino, indoor-outdoor pools, eight restaurants and a fabulous Mt. Rose Ski package.

Atlantis Casino offers storage of skis and snowboards and Mt. Rose has a weekend and holiday shuttle that picks up and drops off at the front door for only $20 roundtrip.

Aqua Spa Lounge, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Reno, Nevada
Aqua Spa Lounge, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe: Getting there and parking

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Mt. Rose’s resort address is 22222 Mt. Rose Highway, Reno, Nevada, 89511.

Mt. Rose is is located 22 miles or about 30 minutes from the Reno Tahoe airport in Reno. To get to Mt. Rose, take I-580 S to NV-431 W/Mt. Rose Hwy, then follow Mt. Rose Hwy to the resort. Free parking is available next to the resort.

Mt. Rose Highway frequently has chain requirements in winter, so check the NV road conditions website before heading to the mountain. An alternative to driving up – Uber Reno now serves the Nevada ski resorts.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe at Tahoe: Know before you go

Get in some ski conditioning before your visit. Gym time and a ski conditioning program before a ski vacation reduces sore muscles and improves ski time while on the slopes.

Dress in layers. Days in the mountains normally start off quite cold and, especially on sunny days, warm quickly. Dressing in layers is a tried-and-true way to deal with the changing temperatures and maximize comfort. Remember to bring multiple weights of gloves and perhaps some hand warmers as well.

Rent gear at Mt. Rose. Make your vacation easier by renting gear instead of hauling it with you. Mt. Rose offers a complete line of rental ski and snowboard equipment that includes free overnight ski/snowboard storage with multi-day rentals.

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Aqua Spa Lounge with experiential shower, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa – Best hotel in Reno

Cover: Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Sometimes a visit to a hotel is much more than just a place to sleep. That’s what the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa delivers in Reno – a true resort experience with a friendly staff that welcomes you to a luxurious combination of rest, relaxation and play as you enjoy a world-class spa, a dynamic casino, indoor-outdoor pools, and eight restaurants.

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

What makes the Atlantis the best hotel in Reno?

The Atlantis dates back to 1972 when the Farahi family purchased a 142 room motel in Reno. Over the years, the property evolved and grew, and in 1996, it became the Atlantis Casino Resort. Today, the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa is owned by Monarch Casino & Resort, Inc., but is still lead by John Farahi.

Those family origins appear to have heavily influenced the culture of the resort. The result is a warm, inviting atmosphere where guests are greeted as if they were being welcomed into their home. Everyone from the managers to the front desk staff to the restaurant servers are friendly, personable and professional, the perfect combination for a truly enjoyable experience.

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Rooms

Spa room, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Spa room, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

I love hotel rooms that are spacious, tastefully decorated, and contain a plush bed that just beckons you to sink in and relax – and I just wanted to jump on the bed and fall back into those pillows the minute we arrived. And, note – two chairs! It always amazes me that so many hotels have only have one chair in the room. Kudos Atlantis for recognizing couples like to both have a place to sit!

Spa room, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Spa room, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

It’s also the little things that make the difference and high on my list are luxury bath products. The Atlantis features June Jacobs spa products, which have a delightful fragrance and are quickly becoming a favorite of top resorts.

And, as a tech addict – you can connect your laptop or DVD using the multimedia launch pad to the 42″ flat screen HDTV in the room. When you spend 100+ nights a year in hotel rooms, you don’t want to go out every night, and the ability to stream to the TV is awesome.

Spa room, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Spa room, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Feel like an upgrade? You may have heard of a concierge floor but, at the Atlantis, they have a Concierge Tower, with personal butler service and access to the exclusive concierge lounge on the 25th floor, which offers a complimentary continental breakfast and afternoon hors-d’oeuvres.

Concierge Tower room, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Concierge Tower room, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

We asked if we could get a peek at the concierge level and got a tour of the rooms and the lounge. Nice! It doesn’t get much better than sipping a glass of wine and snacking on sushi and fresh fruit while gazing at the beautiful Sierra mountains.

25th floor Concierge Lounge, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
25th-floor Concierge Lounge, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Spa & Pools

Spa Atlantis, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Spa Atlantis, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

No wonder the Spa Atlantis has won SpaFinder’s Readers’ Choice award for Best Casino Spa for four consecutive years. We could have spent the entire day there!

Spa Atlantis, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Spa Atlantis, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

From the brine inhalation-light therapy room, where your respiratory system reaps the benefits of the combination of salt and oxygen (evidently popular after returning from the Burning Man playa), to the tranquil treatment rooms, the Spa Atlantis is pure luxury and relaxation.

Brine inhalation-light therapy lounge, Spa Atlantis, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Brine inhalation-light therapy lounge, Spa Atlantis, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Sometimes you just need a quiet afternoon spent poolside with a good book. Next, to the fitness center, there are two pools to choose from – one inside atrium pool and one outside – so, whether you want to cool off under the summer sun or take a dip after a day of wintertime play, the water is always perfect.

Atrium pool, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Atrium pool, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Rounding out the perfect afternoon wasting away poolside are indoor and outdoor whirlpools, rainfall showers, comfy lounge chairs, and pool concierge services. Ready to splurge? Rent a cabana with a flat screen TV, refrigerator, safe, and more. Oh là là luxury!

Aqua Spa Lounge with experiential shower, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Aqua Spa Lounge with experiential shower, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Restaurants & Bars

Atlantis Steakhouse, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Atlantis Steakhouse, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Time to eat. The Atlantis has eight restaurants that are popular with locals and hotel guests alike and range from coffee bars to high-end eateries.

Atlantis Steakhouse

Atlantis Steakhouse, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Atlantis Steakhouse, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A gorgeous, upscale restaurant, Atlantis Steakhouse delivers affordable luxury, impeccable (but not snobby) service, and the finest cuisine. We dined at Atlantis for my birthday and, from the bubbles to the desert, it was a fabulous evening for my “another run around the sun” celebration.

Birthday celebration at the Atlantis Steakhouse
Birthday celebration at the Atlantis Steakhouse Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Bistro Napa

Bistro Napa. Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Bistro Napa. Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The happy hour at Bistro Napa is widely-considered the best in Reno Tahoe. The doors open at 4:00pm, but the crowd begins to form by 20 minutes ’til 4:00. Every day, year round, locals and hotel guests alike, wait to get in like it’s a concert or art gallery opening.

Bistro Napa. Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Bistro Napa. Atlantis Casino Resort Spa Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The bar menu, which includes such deliciousness as Ahi Poke tacos, wood-fired artichokes, Kobe beef sliders, and steamed clams in white wine and butter – and the drinks – are half off between 4pm and 6pm. Wine by the glass is an 8oz pour and from a list that has names on it like Justin and Duckhorn. Following happy hour, the Napa Valley-inspired dishes continue through dinner, with seasonal, organic fare served alongside wines from the 4,000-bottle wine cellar.

Bistro Napa. Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Bistro Napa. Atlantis Casino Resort Spa Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

For those more casual hunger pangs…Manhattan Deli, Café Alfresco, Toucan Charlie’s Buffet, Java etc, and the Purple Parrot

Manhattan Deli, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Manhattan Deli, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Manhattan Deli is where New York meets the west coast. We stopped in for lunch and also left with a slice of authentic New York cheesecake for later. Café Alfresco is the place for brick-oven wood-fired pizzas, fresh salads and more than ten varieties of house-made gelato.

Toucan Charlie's Buffet & Grille, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Toucan Charlie’s Buffet & Grille, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Another local favorite, Toucan Charlie’s wins the best buffet in Reno year-after-year with rave reviews of their extensive layout of offerings.

Purple Parrot, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Purple Parrot, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Admit it – sometimes you want pancakes at midnight. At Purple Parrot, you can get breakfast (or lunch or dinner) 24 hours a day.

and on the Sky Terrace… The Sushi Bar & The Oyster Bar

Oyster Bar and Sushi Bar on the Sky Terrace, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Oyster Bar and Sushi Bar on the Sky Terrace, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Sky Terrace is home to both The Sushi Bar and The Oyster Bar, with the freshest sushi, sake, and oysters served with a great view of Reno’s iconic Virginia Avenue.

The Casino

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Atlantis casino has 60,000 square feet of gaming options comfortably arranged with 1,500 slot machines and a variety of gaming tables, a poker room, a Race and Sports Book and a non-smoking gaming area on the Sky Terrace.

Race and SportsBook, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Race and SportsBook, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

While you’re not going to bring down the house with $3 table games, it is so refreshing to find $3 blackjack (including our favorite, hand-dealt pitch) – giving your money a little bit longer to stay with you before parting ways. If your passion is on the other end of the spectrum, head over to the high limit area. Bon chance!

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa

Reservations & more information: Atlantis Casino Resort Spa website

Location: 3800 S. Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada 89502 Just south of mid-town near the airport.

Design: Contemporary décor and comfortable luxury

Rooms: 824 guest rooms and 105 suites

Facilities: Fitness center, spa, casino, indoor and outdoor pools, eight restaurants

Area activities:  Gaming, skiing, hiking, biking, canoeing, fishing, golf, jogging, kayaking, shopping

Spa: Unique treatments & facilities including Pantai Luar® eastern Asian massage, Rasul Mineral Mud Ceremony and Cleopatra Milk and Honey Cocoon, Aqua Spa Lounge,  Laconium Relaxation Lounge, and Brine Inhalation-Light Therapy Lounge

WiFi: Free

Restaurants & bars: Atlantis Steakhouse, Bistro Napa, Sky Terrace Sushi Bar, Sky Terrace Oyster Bar, Manhattan Deli, Café Alfresco, Toucan Charlie’s Buffet, Java etc, Purple Parrot


Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Reno National Championship Air Races

Reno National Championship Air Races

Cover: Thom Richard, Hot Stuff, Formula One class, Reno National Championship Air Races
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


It didn’t take long after the airplane was invented for pilots to decide they needed to race them. As early as 1909 in France and 1910 in the United States, daring aviators took to the skies to race their flying machines.

Reno National Championship Air Races
Andrew Findlay, One Moment, Sport class
Reno National Championship Air Races
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Fast forward to 1964, when a Nevada rancher, Bill Stead, organized an air race in the desert just north of Reno, Nevada. Soon after, the races moved to Reno Stead Airport, which had been named in honor of Bill Stead’s brother, Croston, in 1951. The National Championship Air Races have since grown to an event attracting more than 200,000 spectators.

Reno National Championship Air Races
Reno National Championship Air Races
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The only closed course pylon racing event in the world, the Reno National Championship Air Races, feature a large display of static aircraft, world-class military and civil flight demonstrations and six racing classes.

Aircraft displays and demonstrations

Reno National Championship Air Races
Breitling Jet Team
Reno National Championship Air Races
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Flying with power and grace, jet formation teams perform high speed passes and aerobatics, exhibiting skill, precision, and speed. Always a crowd favorite, jet formation displays are a thrilling combination of loops, rolls, spins and passes with planes sometimes flying within 3 meters of each other – and all at speeds over 500 mph.

Reno National Championship Air Races
Ernie Sutter, Jus Pass’n Thru, Sport class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

For the Reno National Air Races 2015, the world’s largest professional civilian performing jet team, the Breitling Jet Team from Switzerland, thrilled the with audience with their unique formations and graceful acrobatics. In addition to watching air races and jet formation team performances, Reno National Air Races attendees can stroll amidst static aircraft and enjoy both civilian and military flight demonstrations each day.

 Six racing classes

Reno National Championship Air Races
David A. Culler, Jr., Riff Raff and Doug Matthews, Blue Streak, Jet class
Reno National Championship Air Races
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Aircraft from six different classes race throughout the week with a schedule that includes several days of qualifying, followed by four and a half days of heat racing.

T-6

Reno National Championship Air Races
Joey “Gordo” Sanders, Big Red, T-6 class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The T-6 class includes single-engine aircraft used to train pilots during World War II and into the 1970s. They are known by a variety of names based on the model and operating air force. With race speeds up to 230 mph, the T-6 class includes the AT-6, the SNJ, and Harvard, and races over a 5.065 mile course.

Biplanes

Reno National Championship Air Races
Biplane class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The Biplane class races on a 3.313 mile course, with the agile aircraft regulated by size, weight and power. Known for their frequent maneuvering and close race finishes, biplanes race at speeds approaching 200 mph.

Sport

Reno National Championship Air Races
Ernie Sutter, Jus Pass’n Thru and Kevin Eldredge, Relentless, Sport class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The sport class races high-performance kit-built aircraft on a 6.968 mile course at speeds reaching nearly 350 mph.

Formula One

Racing on a course of 3.175 miles, the small Formula One aircraft can reach speeds over 200 mph. They must have a minimum wing area of 66 square feet and an empty weight of 500 pounds or more.

Jets

Reno National Championship Air Races
David A. Culler, Jr., Riff Raff, Jet class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Racing at speeds in excess of 500 mph, the jet class planes take off before the race begins, following a pace jet as they line up in formation for the race start. The jets fly the course in a counter-clockwise direction, always making left turns around around the pylons.

Reno National Championship Air Races
Jeff Turney, Robin 1, Jet class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Unlimited

Reno National Championship Air Races
Curt Brown, Sawbones, Unlimited class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Always a crowd favorite, the Unlimited class flies in speeds exceeding 500 miles per hour, typically with with stock aircraft or modified WWII fighters.

The class gets its name from the few requirements placed on the aircraft and the class is allowed to use fuel blends and nitrous oxide injection.

Reno National Championship Air Races
Sal Rubino, Grim Reaper, Unlimited class Reno National Championship Air Races Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

If you go…

  • Get a pit pass. Pick up a pit pass to get an up-close experience with the pilots, planes and crews as they ratchet up plane performance before heading out to race.
  • Bring sunscreen & a hat. There is little to no shade at the air races so reapply sunscreen often.
  • Stay hydrated. At 5,046 ft in the desert, it is very hot and arid at the Air Races. While the concessions offer a wide variety of beverage choices, water is the best drink to stay hydrated.
  • Book a hotel in Reno. The Reno-Stead Airport is located about 8 miles north of downtown Reno.
  • Race and ticket purchasing information can be found on the National Championship Air Races website.

Dedicated to Lt. Colonel Ernest L. Faulkner

Throughout my life, we rarely passed an air base, no matter the state, without my father telling us a story of when flew in there.

Evelyn and Ernie Faulkner
Evelyn and Ernie Faulkner

My father, Lt. Colonel Ernest L. Faulkner, was a test pilot and flight instructor. When he was transferred to the Independence, KS airbase during World War II, he met a clerk, Evelyn, that issued him officer’s equipment. The two were married for 62 years.

Watching the Air Races brings back his many stories of piloting everything from an AT-6 to a B-29. Stories of flying a plane through a barn; a plane catching on fire then crashing in a field in Georgia; “borrowing” planes when he was in Texas to come see Mother in Kansas. And, the list goes on.

Special thanks to him, and to all of the men and women that have served, and continue to do so. Miss you Dad.

Lt. Colonel Ernest L. Faulkner
Lt. Colonel Ernest L. Faulkner
July 16, 1023 – February 23, 2015

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Great Reno Balloon Race

Great Reno Balloon Race

Great Reno Balloon Race
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


What began in 1982 with 20 hot air balloons has grown into the world’s largest free hot air balloon event drawing more than 125,000 people each year – the Great Reno Balloon Race. Over the event’s three days, attendees gather before dawn at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park just north of downtown Reno, some in their pajamas, to watch up to 100 balloons take to the skies of northern Nevada.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

First up is the glow show, where select balloons show their glow for the crowd. As the balloons light up like light bulbs in the dark, oohs, ahhs and wows can be heard throughout the crowd as the magical show of colors delights.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

After the morning glow, five or six hot air balloons qualified to fly in the dark rise into the early dawn sky for Dawn Patrol. The balloons dance across the darkened sky to choreographed music as their colors illuminate the early morning hour.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

As the sun inches up and the sky starts to lighten, the crowd begins to wander onto the field amidst the balloons as the pilots and crews prepare for flight. The roar of the fire burners fills the air as the balloons are filled and they begin to take shape with splendor as they inflate, forming a sea of vibrant colors.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Balloons of all shapes and sizes come to life – a stagecoach, Darth Vader, Elvis, Yoda, and dozens more – preparing to depart into the sky as the sun continues to rise and begins to warm the morning, creating a cerulean blue backdrop to the rainbow of hues.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

There is nothing quite like the Mass Ascension. The sheer beauty of nearly 100 hot air balloons leaving the ground at once with such grace and whimsy leaves one awestruck.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Taking flight

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Lifting off with our pilot, Ron Sanchez, in the Wells Fargo hot air balloon, we headed east toward the University of Nevada Reno and downtown Reno. While pilots can control the altitude of the balloon, air currents determine the direction and speed of the flight.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

As we gently glided away, the crews and spectators back on the ground were like ants aside the giants as they formed a parade of colors that soon surrounded us in the sky.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The crew follows below keeping in touch with the pilot by radio. When it’s time to land, the pilot finds an open field or parking lot to bring the balloon back to the ground, as we did near Mackay Stadium at the University of Nevada Reno.

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The balloon is loaded by the waiting crew into the van and the group returns to the launch site for a toast and first-time flyer ceremony. Thank you to Ron and the Wells Fargo balloon team for a great flight and a wonderful day!

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Additional activities

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In addition to enjoying the balloon events each day, attendees can stroll Balloon Boulevard where crafts, souvenirs, food and drinks are available. After Mass Ascension, the RE/MAX balloon provides tethered rides for children for a $5.00 donation to the “Children’s Miracle Network.”

Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Things to know before you go

Dress in layers & wear comfortable shoes. It’s cold at 5 am but gets warm as soon as the sun is up. Layering will give you the flexibility to adjust as the day progresses. Additionally, enclosed, comfortable shoes are your best footwear choice. The balloons launch from a field that will be dirty and/or muddy and requires a short hike to access.

Leave Fido at home. Dogs would not enjoy the crowds or sounds, so the event asks that they remain at home.

Bring a blanket or chairs is you want to sit. There is a designated blanket area or you can sit along the very edge of the launch field.

Arrive early. There’s limited parking at the event site. Park for free at the University of Nevada Reno’s north lots, but cars must be removed by 10 a.m. Parking also will be available at the corner of N. Sierra St. and McCarran Blvd. for a donation to the event.

Find more event and information on parking at the event, consult the Great Reno Balloon Race website.

 


Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Best of Reno / Tahoe

Best of Reno and Tahoe

Cover: Lake Tahoe
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Located in northwestern Nevada and northeastern California, the Lake Tahoe and Reno region offers luxury hotels, innovative restaurants, events, outdoor activities, world-class skiing and, on the Nevada side of the lake, casinos. With an average of 274 days of sunshine, the Tahoe area is truly a year-round destination.

Northstar Ski Resort at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California
Northstar Ski Resort at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Because the Reno and Lake Tahoe covers so much area and has so many diverse activities, it can be challenging to get your arms around it all, so we’ve divided the area into sections to help with your lodging, dining and activity planning.

Mt Rose Ski Tahoe at sunset
Mt Rose Ski Tahoe at sunset Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The California-Nevada state line runs down the center of Lake Tahoe. Most locals segment the area by the north side of the lake and the south. All areas are normally accessible from Reno within a 45 minute to 1 1/2 drive or from the San Francisco area in 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Reno

Best of Reno Tahoe: Reno
Reno, Nevada Photo: Kim Hull , Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

“The Biggest Little City in the World” is where most visitors arrive by plane if headed to Reno or Tahoe and, even if driving to the Tahoe area, Reno is a great place to spend a few days enjoying the hotels, casinos, and restaurants. Where to stay in Reno? We recommend The Atlantis Casino Resort Spa.

Best of Reno / Tahoe: Great Reno Balloon Race
Great Reno Balloon Race
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Reno is home to countless events throughout the year, including the Great Reno Balloon Race, Reno National Championship Air Races, and Hot August Nights.

Best of Reno / Tahoe: Reno Air Races
Reno Air Races
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Downtown Reno is a lot like downtown Vegas, but less crowded. The casinos may have different names – Eldorado, the Silver Legacy and Harrah’s Reno – but the style and feel is very similar. The Truckee River Walk runs through the middle of downtown Reno and is a good place to take a mid-day stroll or grab a bite in one of the restaurants along the river.

Midtown District is just south of downtown and the home of some of Reno’s coolest restaurants, bars, and shops. Not to be missed – Midtown Eats, Death and Taxes and the very quirky, Junkee Clothing Exchange.

Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In Central Reno and the airport area are the three big hotels in Reno – the Atlantis, which is connected by a walkway to the Reno Convention Center, the Grand Sierra Resort (GSR) and the Peppermill. Meadowood Mall is also located in the area with 100 shops and restaurants including Macy’s, The Cheesecake Factory and JC Penney.

In South Reno, Reno’s newest shopping center, The Summit, is located at Virginia Street and Mount Rose Highway with Dillards, Lululemon, Apple, and more.

North Lake Tahoe

Northstar Ski Resort at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California
Northstar Ski Resort at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Easily accessible off of I-80, North Lake Tahoe is a popular destination for both short getaways and longer stays.

Reno - North Lake Tahoe map
Reno – North Lake Tahoe map

The Incline Village area on the Nevada side of the lake has relaxing beaches, resorts, casinos, great hiking & mountain biking trails, and two skiing options, Diamond Peak Ski Area and Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe.

From the Reno-Tahoe International airport to…
Incline Village is 33 miles or about 45 minutes
Mt Rose Ski Tahoe is 22 miles or about 30 minutes

Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, Nevada Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The very laid back King’s Beach area is just across the California border on the north side of Lake Tahoe, with a long beachfront, shops, restaurants and a variety of outdoor activity vendors including kayaking and paddleboarding. NorthStar ski resort is just 5 miles away.

Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe
Kings Beach, Lake Tahoe Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

From the Reno-Tahoe International airport to…
King’s Beach is 37 miles or about 55 minutes
Northstar Ski Resort is 44 miles or about 53 minutes

Northstar Ski Resort at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California
Northstar Ski Resort at Tahoe, Lake Tahoe, California Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Truckee is a charming town of galleries, wine bars, restaurants and shops that sits in the center of Tahoe activities. Skiing at Squaw Alpine, Northstar, Sugar Bowl or Boreal is just a few miles away and in the summer, there’s no shortage of fishing, swimming, golfing, biking and hiking available.

From the Reno-Tahoe International airport to Truckee is 37 miles or about 41 minutes.

Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Tahoe City is a beautiful town filled with boutiques, galleries, waterfront restaurants, and a wide assortment of water activities. Squaw Valley / Alpine Meadows ski resort, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, is only 10 miles away and Homewood Ski Resort is also nearby with spectacular lake views.

Best of Reno / Tahoe: Tahoe City, California
Best of Reno / Tahoe: Tahoe City, California Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

From the Reno-Tahoe International airport to…
Tahoe City is 54 miles or about 1 hour 6 minutes
Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows are 47 miles or about 1 hour 7 minutes

Squaw Valley Ski Resort, Lake Tahoe, California
Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, California Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

South Lake Tahoe

Moving to the southern end of the Lake, the activities continue with all Lake Tahoe has to offer both outdoors and indoors.

South Lake Tahoe map
South Lake Tahoe map

What does South Lake Tahoe have to offer? Watersports, biking, hiking, fishing, gaming, golf, shopping, spas, nightlife, and, of course, skiing and snow sports at three nearby resorts.

Madeline, Heavenly Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe, California
Madeline, Heavenly Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe, California Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

From the Reno-Tahoe International airport to…
Stateline is 56 miles or about 1 hour 4 minutes
Heavenly Ski Resort is 58 miles or about 1 hour 8 minutes
Sierra-at-Tahoe is 74 miles or about 1 hour 35 minutes
Kirkwood is 78  miles or about 1 hour 28 minutes

Sierra at Tahoe Ski Resort
Sierra at Tahoe Ski Resort, Lake Tahoe, California Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Best of Reno / Lake Tahoe


The Perfect Day at Lake Tahoe © Chasing Light Media


Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California

The best wine bars of Reno & Tahoe

Cover: Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


There’s something so compelling about a great wine bar. Maybe it’s the chance to sample everything from sparklings to pinots by the glass. Maybe it’s music that sets the perfect mood. And, of course, great food to accompany your vino doesn’t hurt. So, where are the best wine bars in Reno and the Lake Tahoe area?

Here’s three (okay, technically five) …

West Street Wine Bar

West Street Wine Bar, Reno, Nevada
West Street Wine Bar, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

In downtown Reno, the place to head to grab a glass of vino is West Street Wine Bar. Tucked into the West Street Market, this casual, inviting wine bar has that cool, mellow atmosphere of a great wine bar and an assortment of wines to back it up. The primary list has a large assortment of offerings by the glass, but the reserve list is the source for true magic.

West Street Wine Bar, Reno, Nevada
West Street Wine Bar, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Using a Coravin® and a scale, West Street Wine Bar pours from the reserve list by weight. Not sure what to get? Ask. The owner knows his way around the world of wine and will guide you through a tour of some eclectic, boutique wines. And, if you work up an appetite from all that tasting, head next door to Bowl, place an order, and they’ll bring it over when it’s ready.

West Street Wine Bar, Reno, Nevada
West Street Wine Bar, Reno, NevadaPhoto: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

West Street Wine Bar
148 West St, Reno, Nevada 89501
West Street Market

Napa Sonoma

Napa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, Nevada
Napa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Napa Sonoma Grocery Company is a wine bar, a restaurant, a gift shop and one of Reno’s better wine shops. Selections can be chosen from the daily by the glass specials or from a menu of by the glass wines from around the world.

Napa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, NevadaNapa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, Nevada
Napa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

With two bars and seating spread throughout the abundant wine racks, Napa Sonoma has a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere that draws locals and visitors alike. Located in the Plumgate Center, Napa Sonoma, also serves up great food – be sure and try the made in-house hummus.

Napa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, Nevada
Napa Sonoma Wine bar, Reno, Nevada
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Napa Sonoma Grocery Company
550 West Plumb Lane, Reno, Nevada 89509
Plumgate Center

Uncorked

Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

All three Lake Tahoe Uncorked locations – Squaw, Tahoe City and Truckee – offer a large selection of wines, each in a comfortable atmosphere with a wide selection of wines, including some limited production labels. Daily specials, frequent events and a wall of retail wine round out the offerings.

Uncorked wine bars offer a wide selection of wines by the glass in a relaxed environment from three locations around Lake Tahoe – Truckee, Tahoe City and Squaw Valley.

Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Uncorked Truckee
10118 Donner Pass Rd, Truckee, CA 96161


Uncorked Tahoe City
475 N Lake Blvd
Tahoe City, CA 96145


Uncorked Squaw Valley
1750 Village East Rd
Olympic Valley, CA 96146


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Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Uncorked wine bar, Truckee, California
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media