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RENO TAHOE, THE “NEXT BIG THING”?

Northern Nevada reaches “Tipping Point” with Colin Kaepernick, Apple investment, Barrett-Jackson win and “Top 10” lists galore.

The last 12 months in Northern Nevada have led to an impressive “tipping point” in the region’s history: University of Nevada, Reno star alumni Colin Kaepernick took the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in his first year as an NFL starter; Apple announced a billion dollar investment in the Reno/Sparks area, starting with the development of a new server farm for its growing iTunes and iCloud needs; Lake Tahoe was voted the #1 lake in the United States by the readers of USA Today; Barrett-Jackson, the world’s premier collector car event company, announced a new Reno Tahoe auction starting in August 2013; and the region garnered “Top 10” wins for everything from “Top 10 Ski Resorts” (Forbes), “8 Hot Towns to Snap Up Bargains Now” (Where to Retire magazine), “Healthiest Cities for Women” (Women’s Health), “America’s Hottest Cold Cities” (Livability.com), “Best Cities for Cycling” (Bicycling magazine), “Best Cities for Dogs” (Men’s Health), “Great Places for Christmas Spirit” (USA Today) to “Top 10 Spas” (Atlantis: “Best Casino Hotel Spa” and “Best for Romance”; Peppermill: “Best for LGBT”, Spafinder), “Loosest Slots in the Nation”: #1 ranking (Casino Player magazine), and many more.

arch jeff dow “It seems that the rest of the country is finally figuring out what those of us who are fortunate enough to live here – or visit regularly – already know: Reno Tahoe is one of America’s best ‘undiscovered’ four season resort destinations,” said Christopher Baum, President and CEO of Reno Tahoe USA. Added Baum, “The beauty – and mild climate – of our high desert setting in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains is a distinct advantage over better-known desert resorts of the lower Southwest, especially in the summertime when our 80 to 90-degree daytime temperatures make our long list of world class sports and special events a ‘must do’ for savvy travelers who appreciate enjoying the great outdoors.”

And with hot spot Campo landing on Esquire’s list of “The Best New Restaurants in America,” even Reno’s fun dining scene is really taking off.

Amongst the many signature special events that take place annually in the Reno/Sparks/North Lake Tahoe area are “Street Vibrations” Spring and Fall motorcycle rallies; “Reno Rodeo,” including “PRCA Extreme Bulls”; “Artown”; “HDRA Reno 500 Off-Road Race”; “Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival”; “PGA Reno-Tahoe Open”; “Hot August Nights” car cruise; “Barrett-Jackson Reno Tahoe Auction”; “Lucas Oil Off-road Racing Series”; “Best in the West Nugget Rib Cookoff”; “The Great Reno Balloon Race”; “Virginia City International Camel Races”; “National Championship Air Races”; and many more.

“No resort destination in North America has a stronger lineup of unique, highly attended special events and competitions every summer than Reno Tahoe USA,” according to Baum. “This region is a beehive of special event activity from June through September.”

Baum is quick to note that Reno Tahoe’s well-deserved reputation as an outdoor sports mecca helps keep the destination busy 12 months a year. Besides Lake Tahoe’s world class skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross country skiing, visitors can also take advantage of whitewater rafting and kayaking in the Truckee River (including a stretch of rapids that passes right through downtown Reno); more than 50 challenging golf courses; triathlons, marathons and jogging; hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing (including North America’s tallest manmade climbing wall in downtown Reno); hunting and fishing in forest and desert locales; skydiving and parasailing; personal watercraft, paddle boarding, sailing and surfing (!) in Lake Tahoe; and off-road driving in Jeeps, dune buggies and ATVs.

“Reno is also a national leader in team competitions, with our National Bowling Stadium in downtown Reno, and Golden Eagle sports complex in Sparks, hosting more bowling, baseball and softball tournaments than anywhere else in the country,” according to Baum.

Add the AAA baseball champion Reno Aces, the NBA D-League’s Reno Bighorns – and high school and collegiate competitions for everything from volleyball to boxing to pole vaulting – and Northern Nevada is definitely a sports destination of incredible variety and appeal.

So what does this highly diverse avalanche of national recognition, accomplishment and good news all add up to?

“We also made Businessweek’s list of ‘America’s 50 Best Cities,’ right ahead of Phoenix and Scottsdale,” according to Baum. “So if tens-of-thousands of new visitors don’t start coming here soon, I’d be very surprised.”

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