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Knowing Nevada: Skiing in the Silver State

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Diamond Peak Ski Resort is 50 years old this season, but its name is only 30 years young.

When 'Ski Incline' opened in Incline Village in 1966, the resort followed a history of small rope-tow style ski mountains throughout the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.

In the early 1940s, the White Hills Ski Area was built on the hill south-east of the State Route 28 and Highway 50 intersection, now known as Spooner Summit.

Ski industry pioneer Norm Sayler says he and his high school friends would drive from Sacramento just to go up the T-bar rope pull.

"They built a first class ski jump there that was very popular," says Sayler. "I've got some really great photos that would show the big crowd that would come over there to watch that ski jump."

The mountain closed after nearly two decades because there wasn't enough snow to keep the jump and run open frequently enough.

There was even a rope tow on Rattlesnake Mountain in Reno that lasted one month in the mid 1950s.

"Off of McCarren boulevard right in downtown Reno, so to speak, from the looks of it, they might have made snow," said Sayler. "That would have put them ahead of everyone out here in the west."

But once resorts and large ski operations hit the Sierra, the industry advanced with them.

In 1987, Ski Incline was rebranded as Diamond Peak after expanding operations on the mountain.

"Added a bunch of black diamond runs, hence the name change to Diamond Peak," says Marketing Manager Paul Raymore. "It certainly opened it up to a whole different skier and rider and allowed us to stay competitive here in the very competitive Tahoe basin."

There are still improvements to be made at the Nevada resort.

Canopy tours, expanded hiking and biking along with an alpine coaster, and more, are all possible in order to turn Diamond Peak into a year-round resort.

A master plan project has been in place for 4 years.

Pending community and environmental approvals, the changes could be complete come 12 to 15 years from now.

"It's been a lot of fun to reconnect with the old timers and hear what this resort was like in the old days," says Raymore. "At the same time it has been exciting to look forward with the master plan to hopefully the next 50 years to what Diamond Peak will become."

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