Ski Resort Life

Tip Sheet: The Chutes, Mt. Rose, Nev.

A short drive from both Reno and Lake Tahoe, the Chutes offer big lines and some of North America’s longest sustained steeps.

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» Location: Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe 

» Getting There: Take the Northwest Magnum 6 or Blazing Zephyr 6 lifts. Ski down the Main Lodge Return to access the westerly chutes. Take Silver Dollar and Outlaw to reach the chutes on the Winters Creek Lodge side.

» Vertical Feet: 1,500 (El Cap) 

» Scare Factor: If it hasn’t snowed in a week and the main lines are bumped out, it can be a long way down, so scout the lower chutes and tree edges first.

(Photo/Courtesy of Mt. Rose)

» Terrain: Once a favorite (and dangerous) poach, the Chutes put Mt. Rose on the map when they opened in 2004, offering world-class avy-controlled steeps. What separate the Chutes from other steep resort terrain are their long sustained pitches of 40- to 50-plus degrees. Covering 200 acres in a horseshoe bowl, the Chutes are north-facing, which means the snow stays chalky even when bumped out. There are 16 named chutes accessed via nine gates, with lots of terrain in between (a.k.a. the Closet Chutes) for those willing to explore or follow locals’ tracks. Before plunging, scope the terrain from the Northwest lift, which offers some visual reconnaissance straight down the fall line—and then decide whether you’re up for it.

Mt. Rose Tip Sheet
Gary Milliken/Vista Map

» How To Ski It: If it’s nuking and you’re seeking glory in full view of the lift, beeline for El Cap, the heroic center line and longest run, to get maximum vert and pitches of 50 degrees. Too much? Try one of the lower chutes—Miller Time, Nightmare, or Lowball. These give up some vertical but are still plenty exhilarating. To find some fresh snow, head for Chaos, which holds pow stashes because it’s a little harder to find. (Enter the Nightmare gate, proceed downslope, and then veer left, looking for the Chaos sign.) If you possess iron thighs, try to ski all 16 named chutes in a day. We double dog dare you.

(Photo/Courtesy of Mt. Rose)

» Après: The Sky Bar at the modern and airy Winters Creek Lodge has sweeping views of the Washoe Valley, allowing you to look down on the Nevada desert while immersed in a wintry wonderland. On a sunny day you may even catch a paraglider taking off. Heading to the lake? Grab some shareable plates and cocktails at Bite American Tapas, where the stuffed Spanish piquillo peppers with crostini are a meal unto themselves.