What the…? After reading the heading I bet you have the same puzzled look on your face that I got from everybody in Sin City when I told them I was there on a snowboard magazine trip to Vegas. They would just look at me blankly, thinking that the strangely-accented guy dressed in snowboard pants and jacket in the lobby of Bally’s Casino was just part of the entertainment…like the Elvis impersonators. But it’s true, you really can go snowboarding in Vegas at the inventively-named Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort, roughly 45 miles from The Strip.
Last year on a drive from Vegas to Tahoe I noticed some signs to a “Snow Park”, but didn’t think much of it until Radical Gloves‘ Jeremy Burns suggested we do a magazine trip there. I didn’t need much convincing to head back to Party Town, USA…especially when I could pass off all the partying and drinking as a “work expense” to the Tax Man!
I hit the road early Thursday morning with Darragh Walsh, Cohen Davies, and Darragh’s mate Casey, for the 800 or so kilometre drive through a dusty, windswept Nevada desert. There were a few sites to see on the way, but mostly it was just endless highway, punctuated by military installations, atomic test sites and roadside brothels.
We hit up LVSSR Friday and Saturday; it was a shock going from almost 30 degree heat in the valley floor and climbing 5500 feet to the resort carpark to be surrounded by SoCal-like spring snow conditions less than an hour later. The resort is quite small, with only three chairlifts and a rustic “Mom and Pop” vibe. But the park was decent, with at least six medium to large jumps, and a bunch of other jibs and small jumps. And above the resort there is some epic freeriding lines if you are willing to hike. There are plans to put in a few more lifts to access some good terrain, and it will be great to see how the resort progresses over the next few years. Everybody treated us amazingly, showing us around and helping us in any way we wanted. And we felt a little bit like rockstars as word had gotten out about the visiting Australian “pro riders”, and we even had some TV interviews for the local news organised for the Sunday (which unfortunately we had to miss: three nights in Vegas got the better of us and we also needed a day to see the sights in the sunlight).
Vegas, of course, was epic. And it started out well with me winning $250 on a $1.25 bet on a little mechanical horse table game at MGM grand on the Thursday night. Thanks for showing me how it’s done, Jez! My brother, El Rad, flew into Vegas Friday, and as my parents were already there, I was able to combine snowboarding, photography, fun and family holiday all in a few days in Sin City. Perfect! We made sure we got into the party spirit with beers for the drive back down to Vegas each day, and at night me and the boys hit up a lot of casinos, bars and clubs…and made a few new friends. We kept it classy of course, having a few chilled beers in the room before we hit The Strip.
And the rest? Well, like they say, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…unless it gets written up in an Australian-NZ Snowboarder Magazine article! Ha.
When our four nights were over, well, it was a loooonngg drive back to Tahoe. And after chilling by the Paris pool under brilliant sunshine, it was tough to come back to cold, snowy Tahoe…well, that was until we woke to 20 inches of fresh pow overnight! Eeeepppppic!
Keep and eye out for the “Fear and Shredding in Las Vegas” photos and article in Issue 2 of Australian-New Zealand Snowboarder Magazine coming out in a couple of months.