Lamoille is a snug little village tucked at the base of the towering Ruby Mountains, not too far from Elko in northeastern Nevada. What it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in charm and amenities – as in one of the rare heli-ski operations in the west, and the biggest one in the nation to boot. That means when winter comes to remote Lamoille, the locals get busy.
Lamoille is an inviting mix of family farms and country lanes. There are cozy lodgings to be enjoyed at the Hotel Lamoille, and dine at the nearby Pine Lodge, an old standby in Lamoille for fine dinners. It’s also got quite the reputation for its museum-quality displays of game animals – running the gamut from deer and moose head to mountain lions and bears – in the dining room.
But the real thrill of Lamoille – and the reason an incredibly well-heeled group of visitors comes from all over the world to spend a few days in this tiny town – is the Ruby Mountain Heli-Experience. It started in 1977, and it’s still going strong today, flying skiers and guides by helicopter up to the heart of the Ruby Mountains. The choppers lift off from a pasture near the entrance to Reds Ranch – a magnificent ten-room guesthouse that’s truly the ultimate in Western luxury – and drop their passengers at the summit for the ride of a lifetime. Nevada with Altitude, as they say in Elko, and it’s as apt a description as can be.
When warmer weather comes, Lamoille has a few more tricks up its sleeve. The scenic Lamoille Canyon Road is one of Nevada’s jewels, and that’s saying a lot for a state filled with beautiful byways. The road leads to a plethora of recreational opportunities, particularly in the summer months, including camping, picnicking, fishing, easy strolling or serious hiking in the pines. It’s also where you can access the trailhead for the 33-mile Ruby Crest National Recreation Trail, which offers views of some of the most spectacular scenery in the West.