Reno, Nevada

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Reno is perfect for those wanting a taste of the outdoors spiced with a dash of the urbane. The city is only minutes away from all the winter attractions near Lake Tahoe, and there is no shortage of first-rate amenities to make a visit prove memorable.

The area has an average snowfall of more than 400 inches, making it one of the country’s premier skiing destinations with 15 downhill resorts, 10 cross-country ski centers, and facilities for snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sleigh riding, sledding and all types of snow play.

Tahoe resorts like Heavenly Valley, Kirkwood and Squaw Valley offer Olympic-level ski runs—and one of the most popular areas for locals is Mt. Rose, only 20 minutes from downtown Reno. The mountain has 1,200 acres of ski real estate, a kids-only area and a fabulous, ungroomed “chutes” area section for those who like more challenging skiing.

Where to Stay Many of Reno’s casino-resorts offer ski and snowboarding packages and help make the area a more desirable destination than the flat terrain surrounding Las Vegas.

Imagine spending a day skiing in the manicured slopes of the Sierra Nevada and mere minutes later, arriving in town to lodge in an elegant complex that would feel at home in Europe and you begin to get a sense of what Reno offers.

The Peppermill Reno Hotel Casino, with 1,635 rooms and suites, is northern Nevada’s premier hotel and its new addition, a 600-room tower, is a landmark in the skyline of the new Reno. Its ski packages, which can be customized, begin from approximately $69 pp per night, offer transportation to and from the ski resorts and allow guests to choose from 18 world-class ski resorts.

The resort is made up of two luxurious towers—the Peppermill and the Tuscany—plus a separate wing called Montego Bay where Caribbean touches somehow seem to fit in the Old World theme of the place. The resort’s new spa, Spa Toscano, opened in November to much acclaim and it’s considered one of the premier spas in the state.

The Tuscany tower was added in 2008 and contains 600 spacious, luxurious suites, all with distinctive designs and ranging from 550 sq. ft. to a whopping 2,300 sq. ft.

The Peppermill is Reno personified. Some guests like to say that if it weren’t for the many attractions nearby, there would be no need to leave the premises.

Not far away, the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino is a luxurious resort with more than 1,000 guestrooms considered among the largest in the industry. Guests preferring even plusher accommodations will find the Grand Sierra’s Grand-2 Hotel Condominiums the perfect retreat while in Reno. These are luxurious accommodations, all stainless steel and leather, full of contemporary amenities such as Italian leather furniture, flat-screen TVs and 24-hour concierge service.

The casino-hotel offers a Babymoon Package for $235 per night that includes massages for the mother and facials for the father, a romantic dinner for two at the resort’s exclusive Italian trattoria, and at turndown, oversized chocolate chip cookies and milk en-suite.

Another example of Reno’s evolution is the venerable Siena Hotel Spa Casino, a resort that was the city’s first full-fledged spa. A mere 10 minutes from Reno/Tahoe International Airport, the Siena lies on the banks of the Truckee River and is within walking distance from the city’s theaters and galleries.

The Siena has a wine cellar considered one of the best in Nevada, a legendary jazz lounge and one of the finest spas in Reno.

Many outdoor enthusiasts will find the Siena’s packages—the resort’s specialty—great bargains. The Ski Package, for example, offers a luxurious room, one day of lift tickets to the Mt. Rose skiing resort and meal vouchers, all for approximately $85 pp per night. The Siena encourages guests to customize their own packages in various activities ranging from kayaking and hiking to golf.