The Finest Skiing in the West

by Tom Whalen

Believe it or not, Reno, Nevada is the gateway to the finest skiing in the West. We are getting dumped and the snow level at the mid-mountain stake at Alpine Meadows is 17.5 feet! I'm sure that Kirkwood, just beyond the South end of Lake Tahoe, has more! At any rate ski bums, get with the program for Spring skiing. Some of the airlines have special airfares. Book your flight on the Internet and fly coast-to-coast for as little as $99 or less each way, if you book the flights early enough.

Just for the record, Mammoth is a mere three hours South of Reno on Route 395. They'll be open at least to Memorial Day. Motel 6 is the least expensive lodging. Check Budget Car Rental for their Ranger Pick Up special at $19.99 per day plus 23% tax in Reno. Gas up in Minden, Nevada and eat up at McDonald's or Wendy's there on your way South.

Check with the Eldorado, Silver Legacy, Circus Circus or Reno Hilton for their ski packages. Transportation is free from the airport. Buses serve Squaw Valley, Northstar and Mt. Rose (each less than an hour from your hotel). Return in the evening for cheap eats in the buffets; drink great beer at Brew Brothers in the Eldorado Hotel and Casino; and win a little bit at the slots and tables.

Last year Squaw Valley closed on Memorial Day and Alpine Meadows closed on June 20th. We have enough snow now that I'm hoping that Squaw Valley opens on 4th of July weekend, as they have in the past, for skiing, swimming, ice skating, partying at the hot tub and fireworks watching.

Sorry guys, but the feds closed the Mustang Ranch. However, Old Bridge is still open and a mere nine miles East of Reno off I-80. You could also rent a car and drive down to the facilities in Moundhouse, just East of Carson City. Bring $300 to $500 with you.