Las Vegas

The Best Ski Trips from Las Vegas

Yes, you can actually ski in the desert. Kinda.

Brian Head Resort
Photo by Jay Dash Photography for Brian Head Resort

Mention the words Las Vegas and images of casinos, Carrot Top, and the hot desert sun come to mind. The last thing you'll probably think of is "ski trip"—but guess what? Sin City is within driving distance to some of the most intriguing slopes in the United States, including one that's less than an hour away. So if you're planning a road trip to get out of Vegas, a ski resort could be the best thing to lift your winter season out of the doldrums. Keep in mind, the following suggestions cover four different states, which won't necessarily be following the same exact social distancing guidelines. So check in advance for the latest information on hours of operation and restrictions.

Lee Canyon
Photo courtesy of Lee Canyon

Lee Canyon 

Mt. Charleston, NV
Distance: 40 minutes by car from Las Vegas 
Formerly known as the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort, Lee Canyon is less than an hour’s drive from Las Vegas with a base elevation of more than 8,500 feet on Mt. Charleson. The convenience makes it easy to hang out for the day and return home before sundown. It's a small resort with just 27 trails accessible by chairlift with 250 acres of hike-to-terrain, although expansion plans are in the works. There's plenty of room for snowboarding and tubing as well. The resort is family-friendly with free coaching offered to beginner and intermediate-level skiers (ages six and up). The new two-level Hillside Lodge was officially unveiled in January—you know, back before COVID became a thing—adding a modern touch to Lee Canyon with a heated terrace, patio areas, table service at the Bighorn Grill and Bristlecone, and grab-and-go coffee and bites from the Brewin Burro.
How to book: Check Hotels.com, Booking.com, or Airbnb for local lodging options.

Brian Head Resort
Photo by Jay Dash Photography for Brian Head Resort

Brian Head

Brian Head, Utah
Distance: three-hour drive from Las Vegas 
Brian Head Resort has a peak elevation of 11,000 feet, making it the highest ski resort in Utah. You've got more than 70 runs on about 650 acres, but the views might be the best part. The surrounding desert's red rock formations make for a unique skiing-on-Mars kinda feeling. The long green runs, knowledgeable instructors, and organized lift lines are especially appealing to beginners and casual skiers. The resort, which dates back to 1965, is a place families have visited for generations as the town of Brian Head grew slowly around it. Fill up on Thai from Sook Jai between your time on the slopes. 
How to book: Check Hotels.com, Booking.com, or Airbnb for local lodging options.

Big Bear Mountain 

Big Bear Lake, California
Distance: three-and-a-half hours from Las Vegas
Snow Summit and Bear Mountain make up the Big Bear Mountain Resort in the San Bernardino mountains, and the short drive makes it the closest California ski resort to Vegas. Bear Mountain is one big terrain park. Snowboarders love the jumps and the only superpipe in Southern California. Snow Summit is more suited for downhill skiing. It's popular for families, although it doesn't have a lot of beginner runs. The mountaintop is big on BBQ joints, including Driftwood and Hog on the Rocks, which has fantastic views. Of course, the scenery of Big Bear Lake is a nice bonus.  
How to book: Check Hotels.com, Booking.com, or Airbnb for local lodging options.

Snowbowl
Photo courtesy of Arizona Snowbowl

Snowbowl

Flagstaff, Arizona
Distance: four-hour drive from Las Vegas
Snowbowl is about a four-hour drive from Vegas and your best bet for serious skiing in Northern Arizona. The 777-acre terrain offers wide appeal for experienced skiers, although beginners and intermediates will also appreciate the ample dry powder. A fancy new gondola is being introduced this winter, cutting the time it takes to climb 2,000 feet from 14 minutes to seven—and the more time you save, the more you can enjoy the slopes. Four terrain parks allow beginners and experts alike to perfect their skills. 
How to book: Stay on property in a cabin or take your pick of hotels in Flagstaff. The area also happens to be a great base for planning a trip to the Grand Canyon

Eagle Point
Photo by Jay Dash Photography for Eagle Point

Eagle Point

Beaver, Utah
Distance: about three-and-a-half hours
Eagle Point is a little further away from Las Vegas than Brian Head, but drive the extra hour and you'll be rewarded with smaller crowds, less expensive prices, and better terrain—including steeper runs. It doesn't have the luxury elements and social scene of the ski resorts up north by Park City, but it has plenty of charm to balance out the "lost in the middle of nowhere" feel. A few condos and cabins have ski-in, ski-out accessibility, and you can grab some burgers, pizza, and wine at the Canyonside Lodge.  
How to book: Check Hotels.com, Booking.com, or Airbnb for local lodging options.

Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Lakes, California
Distance: five-hour drive from Las Vegas
You're looking at a hefty drive from Sin City, but the payoff is one of the longest ski seasons in the country, sometimes stretching into June. And who doesn't want to play in the snow when it's 110 degrees in Vegas? The place is huge—with plenty of options for lodging and dining. Make a point to experience the German food and family-owned charm of Austria Hof, an old ski lodge converted into a restaurant. Skiers of all levels have plenty of options between 150 runs over 3,500 acres, not to mention at least a half-dozen terrain parks, snowmobile rides, tubing, and more. While in the area, pay a visit to Devil's Postpile National Monument, where you can check out some trippy rock formations and the calming beauty of Rainbow Falls. 
How to book: Book a room, condo, cabin, or home directly via Mammoth Mountain’s lodging collection.

Heavenly

Lake Tahoe, California
Distance: approximately seven-and-a-half hour drive from Las Vegas
Out of all the resorts on the list, this one is the farthest from Las Vegas, but worth including since Lake Tahoe is such a popular getaway for Nevadans. With nearly 5,000 skiable acres, 3,500 vertical feet, and more than 10,000 feet in elevation, Heavenly is the largest and highest ski resort among the many that surround the alpine lake. A gondola lifts off from Heavenly Village in the heart of South Lake Tahoe, where it's easy to explore shops and restaurants—or casinos, if you happen to wander over the Nevada state line. Between the lake and the endless pine trees, it's hard to beat the views. Expect large crowds during the peak winter season. 
How to book: Search for local lodging on Heavenly’s website.

Sunrise Park

Greer, Arizona
Distance: seven-hour drive from Las Vegas
Another remote destination, but if you want to get lost in the scenic White Mountains of Eastern Arizona, this is your spot. Sunrise Park is a lot more lowkey and casual than Snowbowl with 65 runs on three mountains, most of which are dedicated to green and blue options for beginner and intermediate skiers. It's also easy to stay busy with sleigh rides, sledding, ice fishing, and zip lines. Night skiing is available on select nights. 
How to book: Book a night at the Sunrise Park Lodge. Otherwise, the nearest accommodations could be at least a half-hour drive away.

Deer Valley
Photo by Scott Markewitz for Deer Valley

Deer Valley

Park City, Utah
Distance: six-and-a-half hour drive from Las Vegas
Deer Valley is all about luxury skiing—with close proximity to the charm of downtown Park City. It's a skiers-only resort that doesn't have much in the way of terrain parks (if that's your scene, or if you prefer to snowboard, Park City Mountain Resort will be more up your alley). However, Deer Valley has incredibly manicured slopes and exceptional tree skiing. The place even hosted events at the 2002 Winter Olympics. There's more than 100 runs on 2,000 acres with a peak elevation that exceeds 9,500 feet. Passes are limited to prevent overcrowding. The perks range from ski valets and a killer ski school to upscale shops and fine dining restaurants. 
How to book: Deer Valley has dozens of opportunities for lodging on property, including upscale hotels like the Montage and St. Regis.  

Mountain High

Wrightwood, California
Distance: three-and-a-half hour drive from Las Vegas
Mountain High isn't as expansive and engaging as Big Bear Mountain, but it's more convenient if you want to plan a ski getaway closer to Los Angeles. Beginners, intermediate, or advanced skiers have their own respective areas, which could make things more or less convenient, depending on your situation. Not much in the way of steep drops, but the night skiing is fun. It can get crowded on weekends with visitors pouring in from LA and the surrounding suburbs, but a lot of families will just be happy to ice skate, take the kids sledding at Yeti's Snow Play, or warm up with drinks by the fireplace at the Bullwheel Bar and Grill. The chair rides offer nice views of the Mojave Desert.
How to book: Check Hotels.com, Booking.com, or Airbnb for local lodging options.

Snowbird
Photo by Marc Piscotty for Snowbird

Snowbird

Snowbird, Utah
Distance: six-hour drive from Las Vegas
Snowbird is between Salt Lake City and Park City, welcoming you with an expansive 2,500-acre resort with 3,200 feet of vertical terrain to challenge experienced skiers. Hop on a conveyor belt that actually passes through the 600-foot-long Peruvian Tunnel for a shortcut to reach the fine powder of Mineral Basin. The journey is a museum of sorts, dedicated to the mining history of Little Cottonwood Canyon. Snowbird is next to the less-crowded Alta, which has similar terrain, but is skiers-only and doesn't have the same social scene. Ski both resorts with the same Altabird pass.
How to book: Explore local lodging options on Snowbird’s website.

Sign up here for our daily Vegas email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in Thrillist for more than seven years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Trivago Magazine, Sophisticated Living, Modern Luxury, Leafly, Las Vegas Magazine, and other publications. You'll find him with his boots off in the lodge. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.
Our Newsletter
By Signing Up, I Agree to the Terms and Privacy Policy.