There’s a little known fact about Nevada that a growing number of people would like you to keep to yourself: It’s the most mountainous state in the lower 48. And with mountains, come snow, and with snow, come endless possibilities for backcountry skiing and riding. You just have to get there.
Enter backcountry extraordinaire BG and his operation Tao Nevada, located four-hours east of Reno off Highway 50, the “Loneliest Highway in America.” His Hot Springs Ranch is the staging ground for single and multi-day expeditions into the 120-mile long Toiyabe Range. Boasting peaks of more than 11,000 feet, with only a handful of skiers and riders out on any given day, it is clear why BG has been poking around in these parts for the past 10 plus years. With long approaches and minimal access, his reconnaissance has proven essential for backcountry enthusiasts searching for their own private playground.
Snow hadn’t fallen in the Toiyabes for a few weeks, but our quest for the second best thing to power—corn—lead us to the Kingston Creek trailhead, nestled between the Diamond, Monitor, and 9 Mile Creek Ranges. We loaded up the sleds with our gear and headed out into the wild to see what we could find. Dodging puddles and rocks on the trail, we steadily climbed into the range, searching for just the right aspect to ski in these spring conditions. Settling on a wide-open, creamy, northeastern facing slope, we began our 2,000 foot climb. It’s important to note that BG will get you out as far as he can, but he won’t do the work for you.
Within a few hours we reached the top, traversed the ridge, pulled our skins off, and dropped in. It was definitely worth the effort. Wide, effortless S turns tattooed the mountain as we made our way down the slope. Closer toward the bottom, sage brush poked out of the spring snow, and entire south facing slopes were bare, reminding us that we were indeed in Nevada.
After the traditional, celebratory après ski at the bottom, we packed it up and headed back to BG’s Hot Springs Ranch for an evening soak. Waking up the next morning to do it all over again, we knew that this would not be the last time we’d revel in the glory of Nevada’s wilderness.
Interested in joining me next time? Shoot me a message at jgurecki (at) berkeley.edu to turn your outdoor adventure dream into a reality. Fully customized outdoor trips await you, all benefiting Adventure Risk Challenge, an outdoor program for underserved youth.