Louis Korostinsky, like many a Reno, Nev., denizen, puts a slightly different spin on "going for a run at lunch." The real estate broker often scoots up Route 395 from Reno to Mt. Rose to steal some midday runs and rays. The beauty of it is, he's back at his post a couple of hours later without having put a serious dent in his workday.
The mountain's proximity to downtown Reno, 30 minutes away, is what makes this possible, but Mt. Rose hasn't rested on its fortunate geography. This season, the mountain unveils its newest lures, each of which merit a weekend: the new Blazing Zephyr high-speed six-pack, which will ferry skiers to the East Bowl summit in less than four minutes, and The Chutes, a 200-acre tree-lined playground divided by nature into 16 trails-nine of which are true double black-diamonds.
The eye-popping allure of The Chutes has been beckoning poachers for years, long before Mt. Rose first opened in the mid-'60s. Accessed via six safety gates and offering entries varying from mild to airborne, The Chutes are framed by spindles of trees and rocks, forming ravines that ski like halfpipes. At least three lives have been lost to avalanches on its craggy slopes, but that hasn't kept natives like John Ascuaga Jr. from ducking the ropes to savor illicit pow. "The best way to ski Rose is along its borders," confides Ascuaga, who has been dodging the ski patrol here since his youth.
Inside the lines, the Blazing Zephyr enables the dedicated to crank out 15,000 vertical feet an hour-should they have the legs to endure it. Or, like the rest of the Reno devotees who've come to love this hill, they can just come back tomorrow.
Reno's rep as Vegas' poor cousin is outdated. An arts mecca it's not-not yet, at least-but there's far more to this city than slot levers and showgirls. A weekend in Reno-where Mt. Rose skiers base themselves, as slopeside lodging is nil-can produce a night at the orchestra, the new Nevada Museum of Art, galleries in the Truckee River Arts District and countless excellent eateries with impressive wine lists. If gambling is your game, you're in luck (hopefully). But for those visitors seeking that charming off-the-path B&B with outdoor jacuzzi, uniquely decorated rooms and après-ski apps, the odds are stacked against you.
Where to Stay
>The Reno Hilton The 2,000-room megahotel sits on Route 395, which leads directly to the Mt. Rose Highway. The resort's 24-hour casino, business center, outdoor heated pool and health club are certain to occupy any nonskiers in your party. From $49 per room, per night; 800-501-2651; renohilton.com
>The Peppermill A slightly smaller casino (1,285 rooms), the Peppermill offers a quieter vibe without leaving Reno's action. Situated on the south side of town, the hotel runs a shuttle to Mt. Rose. From $69 per room, per night; from $39 weekdays; 866-821-9996; peppermillreno.com
>Siena Hotel Spa Casino This upscale resort is about as laid-back as it gets here, with only 185 rooms (yes, there's a 24-hour casino), a full-service spa and architectural components modeled after its namesake Tuscan city. Oenophiles should stop by Enoteca, the resort's wine-focused restaurant, for a night of tastings and pairings. From $59 per room, per night; 877-743-6233; sienareno.com
Where to Eat
>The 4th Street Bistro Upscale, healthy cuisine (e.g., hormone-free meats) is accompanied by a 100-bottle wine list at this local Reno favorite. 775-323-3200
>Louis' Basque Corner The down-home charm of Louis' comes through in the old Reno ambience, the family-style dining and the plates piled high with oxtail and lamb prepared in traditions native to Spain's Basque region. 775-323-7203
>Rapscallion If it's seafood you're craving, settle into the warm, wood-paneled interior of Rapscallion, order the Rapscallion Seafood Grille (prawns, swordfish and salmon on a potato latke) and peruse theiir 150-bottle wine list from all around the world. 775-323-1211
Where to Play
>Timbers Located in the base lodge, Timbers is the on-mountain spot to quaff a brew and inhale a taco at day's end.