Lee Canyon, formerly known as Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort, sits just an hour’s drive from downtown Las Vegas. The resort boasts summertime activities like disc golf and scenic chair rides, hiking and archery. However, Lee Canyon is known primarily for its abundance of winter activities, which include snow tubing, snowshoeing, a snowplay area, and lots of skiing. That’s right—skiing in Las Vegas.
The base lodge of Lee Canyon Ski and Snowboard Resort sits at the base of Lee Peak and has an elevation of around 11,300 feet. The resort is owned and operated by Powdr Corporation in partnership with the United States Fores Service under a special use permit. Typically open from November through April, the best snow is available in February and March. The mountain offers a total of 385 skiable acres, 11 alpine trails, and 4 lifts.
Recently, Lee Canyon announced a $35 million expansion and upgrade plan in conjunction with the Forest Service. The plan includes doubling the ski area’s acreage, adding chairlifts, and introducing increased snowmaking capacity. This upgrade would also add a range of summer thrills, including a zip line and a mountain coaster. The public has 45 days to comment on the initiative, but there has—so far—been little opposition.
While encouraging skiing in all its forms and locales is an essential mission of this news site, we have to wonder: for how much longer will skiing remain sustainable in places like Las Vegas? Northern American ski resorts are already hustling to introduce more snowmaking initiatives, and one has to wonder how much longer a ski resort will last in this hot, dry part of the country. Furthermore, it takes around 160,000 gallons of water to make one acre of snow one foot deep. In a dry part of the world, this is not a sustainable practice. We appreciate the novelty of and ability to ski in strange places, but this ski expansion feels like a short-term investment.
What do you think about warm climate skiing? Leave us a note in the comments.