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.
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe: Skiing and snow boarding
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is also a spot to understand the straight-forward layout of Mt. Rose and how it connects to Slide Bowl.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: Dining & drinking
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.
Where to stay
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.
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.
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe: Getting there and parking
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 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.
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