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Although there's not always snow on the ground, Carson City is a great base for people who want great winter sports facilities, fine dining and culture, too. The splendid slopes of the Sierra Nevada — great for snowmobiling and sledding — are only about a half-hour drive up the Spooner Summit highway. Heavenly Valley and Kirkwood, two of the top ski and snowboarding resorts in California, are less than an hour away on roads that are generally open. There's a big ice skating rink at South Lake Tahoe, too. And because Lake Tahoe is so deep it never freezes, sports enthusiasts can take the Tahoe Queen from Zephyr Cove at the southeast end of ...

Although there's not always snow on the ground, Carson City is a great base for people who want great winter sports facilities, fine dining and culture, too. The splendid slopes of the Sierra Nevada — great for snowmobiling and sledding — are only about a half-hour drive up the Spooner Summit highway. Heavenly Valley and Kirkwood, two of the top ski and snowboarding resorts in California, are less than an hour away on roads that are generally open. There's a big ice skating rink at South Lake Tahoe, too. And because Lake Tahoe is so deep it never freezes, sports enthusiasts can take the Tahoe Queen from Zephyr Cove at the southeast end of the lake to Squaw Valley USA, and enjoy a winter wonderland panorama during the crossing. Back at Carson City (warm and dry) in the evenings, visitors can dine at world-class Adele's Restaurant or at any one of a half-dozen delightful ethnic eateries. Frequent evening performances of everything from Broadway plays to concerts by chamber orchestras are on the city's cultural calendar. The casinos aren't as dazzling as those at Tahoe's South Shore, but make up for their lack of glitz with small-town friendliness. If it's too stormy to ski, you can visit the Nevada State Museum and the Nevada State Railroad Museum (among the best mid-size museums in the country). Older children will love to skate on the ice rink that's a couple of blocks from Nevada's Capitol building and the younger ones will have a great time at the Northern Nevada Children's Museum.

Connie Emerson
About the Expert

Connie Emerson is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Cheapskate's Guide to Branson, Missouri and Eyewitness Top Ten Travel Guide – Las Vegas.

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Connie Emerson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Winters can be mild. Skiing season usually starts in mid-November or early December, depending on temperatures and snowfall.