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SAM Magazine—Las Vegas, Aug. 23, 2023—Lee Canyon Ski and Snowboard Resort has closed its summer mountain operations for the season after an initial assessment of the damage caused by flash flooding associated with Tropical Storm Hilary led the U.S. Forest Service to indefinitely extend its closure of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area.Lee Canyon ImagesPhoto credit to @mountainman_mc

Jim Seely, marketing and sales director at Lee Canyon, said the resort received a total of 9.8 inches of rain from the storm beginning on Aug. 19, with 8 inches of rain that night alone. He said no injuries have been reported.

Photos on social media posted by the public, not Lee Canyon, showed significant debris piles in the lift loading areas at the resort, some nearly as high as the bull wheel. Seely said resort staff have not been at the mountain since the closure, per the Forest Service mandate.  

The storm event "has left behind significant damage to our operational resources, infrastructure, and the natural beauty that defines Lee Canyon,” said a recent social media post and press release. "Trails, chairlifts, and essential facilities that encompass our summer offerings have borne the brunt of this unexpected occurrence. Once we receive the clearance to do so, our dedicated team will tirelessly work to restore the affected area.


Additionally, the Nevada Department of Transportation reported that about 200 feet of Kyle Canyon Road, the only access to the resort, has been "severely damaged.” It’s unclear when it will reopen. 

“(Lee Canyon) is possibly closed for the remainder of the summer,” said Michael Reitzell, president of Ski California. “They had rivers of water flowing down the mountain and lots of dirt/mud movement that impacted lifts. It’s not pretty.” Lee is the only resort among the association’s members that sustained significant damage, Reitzell added. 

video posted by KTNV shows substantial flooding and damage to other roadways in the area. The flooding caused power outages and washed out the water main, the primary source of public water, in nearby Mt. Charleston, where residents were ordered to shelter in place and advised to boil their tap water. 

The closure went into effect Aug. 18, two days before the forecasted arrival of the storm, disrupting summer activities at Lee including lift-served mountain biking, disc golf, hiking, and kids’ programs. At the same time, Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo activated 100 members of the National Guard to southern Nevada.  

A message posted to Lee Canyon’s Facebook page at the time read: “The U.S. Forest Service has closed the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, including Lee Canyon, due to concerns over an incoming storm and potential flash flooding. As a result, operations will be suspended on Saturday and Sunday. All guest orders have been canceled and will be notified by email with further details.” 

Clark County Fire Chief John Steinbeck told Nevada Public Radio that rebuilding, could take weeks or months to resolve. Lee Canyon has said it remains committed to its Ponderosa chair lift expansion project and that "our preparations for the upcoming winter season of 2023-24 continue undeterred."