Sky Tavern boasts a rich and colorful history. It has included appearances by many movie stars, prominent sports celebrities, and noted contributors to U.S. ski history. During the early 1950s, Sky Tavern basked in the spotlight as a chic and intimate resort patronized by some of the most famous personalities of the day. Contemporary celebrities including actors Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper, Rita Hayworth, and Robert Stack; baseball legend Joe DiMaggio; and Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb; all found the Tavern experience exhilarating.
Sky Tavern’s on-going Junior Ski Program was first established in 1948. Local skier and schoolteacher, Marce Herz, approached the owners with the idea of reducing lift prices for schoolchildren and teaching them how to ski. Herz fervently believed that sports were good for everyone, but especially for children. She wanted to offer school kids the thrill and excitement of sliding down a mountain. Starting with six students, the innovative ski program Herz initiated has taught tens of thousands of children. In 1950, Herz would also win the Nevada state ski championship in combined slalom and downhill.
Over time, larger and more modern ski resorts opened around Lake Tahoe, including Squaw Valley (1949) and Heavenly (1955). Only a mile up the road, Reno Ski Bowl began running chairs in 1953 at Slide Mountain, current site of Mt. Rose Ski Area.
Sky Tavern’s original owners, Carlisle and Keston Ramsey, decided to sell the resort in 1959.
The City of Reno has owned 143-acre property since 1968, reserving its use for children learning snow sports.
Tamara McKinney, a former Sky Tavern student, became the first American woman to win the World Cup overall title in 1983. She also won two World Cup titles in giant slalom (1981 and 1983) and one in slalom (1984).
In 1991, the City of Reno decided that it could no longer run the Junior Ski Program at Sky Tavern. It was at this point that a group of dedicated parents formed the current non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that manages programming, maintains it throughout the year, and leases the area from the city with the understanding that it will continue and expand its enrichment opportunities for local youth.
While the local biking community has been riding at Sky Tavern for the past couple of decades, the official Mountain Bike Park launch took place in 2012 when downhill, climbing, and dual slalom trails were constructed.
Former Sky Kid, David Wise, became Reno’s first gold medalist at the 2014 Olympics by winning the inaugural men’s ski halfpipe.