Start rattling off a list of your top ski cities to visit! I'm curious to see how far down the list Reno, Nevada is.
Did it even come up at all?
If you have been there, maybe it did, but odds are, Reno isn't too high up on your list of shred- worthy cities to visit. For a period of time, it fell by the wayside.
However, when I was young, I can remember a multitude of advertisements dotting ski magazines touting Reno as an excellent ski destination. Why wouldn't it be? Reno is conveniently located within close proximity to many of the major Lake Tahoe ski areas like Northstar and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. Not to mention "Biggest Little City in the World" is an après ski lovers dream filled with bars, restaurants and, of course, casinos.
Reno's Rise, Fall and Rise Again
Back in the 80s and 90s, the nightlife in Reno was the driving force behind this ski city's success. Skiers and boarders from all over were regulars. Then Reno fell on hard times. The casinos, once the catalyst behind the city's tourism, began to struggle in large part due to the rise of land based casinos and legalized gambling. As the casinos fell, so too did Reno. No longer the après ski mecca of the past, it struggled to attract anyone to visit, let alone the ski and snowboard community.
Big trees fall hard, but you can't get back up if you don't try. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Reno is back and better than ever. By attracting companies like Tesla, Blockchains and Google, the city of Reno has seen a resurgence in the last decade that has turned it into a mini Silicon Valley. Investments from businesses like this brought with it the finances to rebuild and reinvent itself. Along came the Burning Man Concert and an influx of art and new businesses. Reno has returned to its former glory yet in a new and in many ways better version of its past self.
Now America's Biggest Little City is poised for your return. Not convinced? Well here are five reasons we love it and believe you should book Reno Tahoe for your next ski trip.
1. Close Proximity to Major Ski Resorts
Duh! This goes without saying, right? Tahoe has the highest concentration of ski resorts in the country and Reno is a roughly 40 minute scenic drive to two of North Lake Tahoe's best ski resorts. Looking for a family friendly resort? Then Northstar is a must. It's easy to navigate and super challenging in spots, while being the ideal family mountain for any parent who enjoys skiing with their kids and also breaking off for a few serious turns throughout the day. They even serve S'mores at Four everyday in the village which is just the icing on top of the cake.
Want an out of bounds experience that is all inbounds? Then Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows needs to be on your list. It's some of the most fun skiing I've ever experienced and when you can end your day at the legendary Le Chamois après ski it doesn't get much better. There is a reason, Jonny Moseley calls this mountain home.
Not to be outdone in all of this is Mount Rose. Located a convenient 20 minute drive from downtown Reno this no frills ski resorts boasts a whopping 8,262' foot base elevation. That means they can start their season earlier and end later than the other local resorts. Don't let the phrase "no frills" fool you though. Mount Rose is legit! Especially the area they call The Chutes which features gnarly trails that are every bit of a 50 degree pitch.
2. Reno's Craft Brewery Scene Just Keeps Growing
There is nothing better than a cold craft beer after a hard charging day on the slopes. Lucky for you, you can drink plenty of them in Reno's ever growing craft beer scene. Hell, there are so many of them that, along with touring a few distilleries, you could take a break from the slopes and really make a day out of it.
The Depot is a fan favorite. Located within an old refurbished train depot it provides ample ambiance to their already great beer, spirits and food options. Lead Dog is always fun too. With plenty of space to spread out you and your crew can relax and sample their many beers. Brasserie St. James is also a must. It has a really cool atmosphere that complements their tasty food and delicious craft beers that are brewed with water that they get from a spring directly underneath the brewery itself.
Finally, if are just talking beer, IMBIB Custom Brews is arguably my favorite. The atmosphere doesn't rival The Depot or Brasserie but the brews are unique, very well made and enough to draw you in and keep you there for hours.
3. Reno is an Après Ski Foodie's Paradise
No ski day is complete without a proper après ski session. Reno Tahoe's bar and restaurant scene has you fully covered. I've already mentioned a slew of craft breweries many of which are brew pubs and have excellent food to complement their craft beer, but the food scene in the city and the surrounding area goes far beyond that.
Midtown Eats is popular and for good reason. One look at the menu and you'll be hooked. A modern take on southern BBQ classics, your best bet is to order a bunch of dishes and split them amongst everyone at the table.
Von Bismarck is an absolute must! This upscale biergarten serves German food that is to die for. It's legitimately THAT good and the perfect pairing for their extensive collection of German beers. Order the schnitzel (pictured above) for the table, you won’t regret it. It's the largest I've ever seen in my life.
If you want to venture out of the area I highly recommend The Bourbon Pub in Northstar Village. Opened in 2019 by internationally acclaimed restaurateur Michael Mina they are putting their creative spin on traditional pub fare. Just get the nachos and you'll instantly understand when the server shows up with your dish and a mezzaluna knife that looks like a Medieval weapon. Oh the carnage that will ensue.
4. Reno's Nightlife is as Good as it Gets
I've already mentioned some of the great bars, restaurants and breweries in the area. For me, that is all the nightlife that I need to finish up my Reno Tahoe après ski experience. That said there are plenty more late night options for the taking, especially if you are into gaming and craft cocktails. Want to try your luck at black jack, roulette, poker and more? Throw a stone and you should have no trouble hitting any one of the slew of casinos in Reno. When I was there, I stayed at the Peppermill and although this resort is on the opposite side of town than the others it's worth a visit. It's Vegas without being Vegas. Opulent beauty at every turn, cocktail bars and, of course, all the games a gambler could want in a casino.
If betting isn't your thing (it's not mine either) I highly recommend checking out some of the swanky craft cocktail bars that have popped up around town. It's a guarantee that Death and Taxes will be on your to do list. All of their cocktails are hand crafted with the freshest seasonal ingredients. And everyone knows that no day is complete without dessert, a dessert bar that is. For this, you must stop at Reno's only dessert bar, The Arch Society. There you can and should pair their outrageous desserts with some of the finest cocktails made with locally sourced organic ingredients.
5. Scale the World's Tallest Climbing Tower
The Sierra Nevada Mountains that surround Reno are quite high but they aren't the only thing in the city to boast a lofty elevation. Head downtown and you can find the Guinness World Record’s Tallest Climbing Wall. Located on the side of the Whitney Peak Hotel, climbing it will have you reaching new heights and a whole new perspective on the area. Scale the face of the Whitney and then bask in the beautiful views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains that you love to ski and snowboard on. It's breathtaking.
If I’ve done my job right, you’ve already booked a flight to Reno, Nevada and are preparing to pack your essential gear not only for the best ski adventure of your life, but the best après ski experience as well. Make sure that you grab yourself our one-of-a-kind If You Don’t Après Ski Tee to stand out in the après ski crowd in Reno Tahoe. Be sure to keep reading our Après Ski blog and Craft Beer, Wine & Spirits blog for the latest insights about how to enhance your outdoor and indoor adventures.