Off-the-slope Winter Thrills

Staring at the white-capped mountains scraping the Sierra sky may inspire wonder, adventure … or the need to seek out other activities this winter. If barreling down a ski hill while strapped to the various contraptions built to carry you isn’t your thing, check out these other entertaining options this season.

Hang with Heroes

Between Jan. 20 – April 15, the Wilbur D. May Museum will host the interactive Hall of Heroes exhibit, where you don’t need to hop into a phone booth to get up close to some of your favorite superheroes. Not limited to just the masked or caped few, you can also explore spies, crime fighters and the gadgets they use, along with movie props, memorabilia, rare artifacts and dozens of stations that will help you find your inner superpower.

Head Upwards

Climbers know cooler weather brings optimal climbing conditions. Your hands don’t get as slippery while trying to grip as they would in the warmer months. Whether you tackle the indoor boulders or the world’s tallest climbing wall outdoors, it’s the perfect season to challenge yourself and head upwards at Basecamp at Whitney Peak Hotel in downtown Reno.

Snow Journey

If you’ve ever wanted to speed across the snow, but prefer the comfort of a large, motorized contraption under you, check out Zephyr Cove Snowmobiling. A two-hour tour takes one or two riders per vehicle to nearly 9,000 feet for breathtaking Tahoe views. Enjoy meandering through snow-tipped trees and meadows blanketed by Mother Nature.

Bowling Euro-Style

You don’t get to wear those fashionable shoes, but a popular European form of bowling has finally made its way to Reno. Enter Bundox Bocce at the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel. Believed to have been invented by the Italians before permeating the rest of Europe, bocce ball is a fun, simple sport everyone should try. Bundox makes it easy, and adds many other elements to the all-ages playground like skee ball, shuffleboard, ping pong, big screen TVs and a full bar.

Winter Cruising

Tahoe sunsets are often epic. Catching one from the middle of the lake, surrounded by snowcapped peaks while on the M.S. Dixie II paddle wheeler sunset dinner cruise elevates the experience exponentially. Cruise to Emerald Bay from Zephyr Cove on Saturday evenings while sipping signature cocktails and enjoying local cuisine accompanied by scenic vistas and live music.

Art Fix

Alongside many other intriguing displays, the Nevada Museum of Art has two featured exhibitions this winter, both launching in February. Marking the Infinite features works by some of Australia’s top female Aboriginal artists making their American debut. Paintings by Nevada artist Hans Meyer-Kassel, many once hung in castles and presidential homes, grace the walls of the NMA through summer.

Marshmallow Moments

Take your s’mores seriously. At the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, cozy up by the fire pit for the nightly Marshmology program starting at 4:30 p.m. Refine your knowledge of the familiar item frequently found floating atop your cocoa, or wedged between chocolate and graham crackers. Complimentary s’mores with themed marshmallows accompany lessons on the history and ingredients in your favorite squishy, sweet treat.

Whirling ‘Round the Rink

After munching on marshmallows, head down the hill to the Village at Northstar’s 9,000-square-foot ice skating rink. Twinkling lights surround you while gliding across the ice, as do fire pits, shops and eateries. With a cocoa or cocktail in-hand, you may never want to leave this winter wonderland.

Vistas for Miles

You don’t need to ski or snowboard to catch monumental vistas from the mountaintop. Starting at Heavenly Village, take the Heavenly Lake Tahoe scenic gondola ride more than two miles straight up the hill. Catch your breath as you begin to rise, and expect your eyes, and camera lenses, to be glued to the panoramic views encompassing you.

Another exhilarating way to get down the hills at Heavenly Lake Tahoe is their 500-foot-long tubing hill. Located at the top of the gondola, course down the hill on a large, inflatable tube, then let the magic carpet take you and your tube back up for another round.

Go Fast

Ripping around the track at Need 2 Speed in Reno may leave a smile on your face the rest of the day. Their electric indoor race karts can reach speeds of up to 45 MPH as they complete laps around the track. Wearing closed-toe shoes is a must, but they’ll provide helmets and fast machines to get your adrenaline pumping seven days a week.

There are so many activities to keep the cold days of winter filled with fun, you can even enjoy the fluffy white stuff and no skis and snowboards are necessary!



By: Natasha Bourlin