My friend, Dennis McBride, and I grew up in Las Vegas back in the day. We had plenty of cold days but not too many snow days.
But as 1973 turned into 1974, we hit the big time.
Back then, my friends and I used to go to movies on New Year's Eve. That evening we went to the old Red Rock Theaters to see The Sting. We hada great time and really enjoyed the film. The second film pairing of Paul Newman, Robert Redford and George Roy Hill was an absolute delight.
After the film, it was cold out as we bounded into Al's car (he was a year and half older than us and had a big, boat of a car (common back in those pre-oil crisis days). By the time we got to our next stop, it was even colder. As I got out of the car, I remember telling Al, "Do you think it will snow?". He laughed out loud.
We celebrated ringing in the New Year at Al's house, jitterbugging to the Andrew's Sisters (his mother was teaching us to dance- Today, Al is still a really good dancer and I'm not).
He ended up driving me back to my house probably about 1 in the morning. Again, I mentioned that it might snow and again, he laughed out loud (all these years later, he still does that).
When I woke up about nine that morning, I looked out bedroom window to see snow blanketing the ground. Snow, real honest to gosh snow. It was the first real snow we had had since we arrived in 1961. My family went to Mt. Charleston to play in the snow but now the snow had come to us.
The first think I did was pick up my princess phone (anyone remember those?) and called Al. When he answered, I laughed out loud.
The Stardust and snow, January 1974
Dennis McBride in the snow in front of the Flora Dugan Humanities Bldg, UNLV-1974
Dennis, who lived in Boulder City back then, remembers:
Seems to me there was a lot more snow in the 1970s in southern Nevada than there has been in the last thirty-some years. One particularly great snow I remember and wrote about in my journals was the night of New Year's Eve/New Year's Day 1973-74.
I'd spent New Year's Eve with my friend, Dee Keys, in Boulder City and at midnight we went out to see what was going on. Not much in Boulder City. But it was absolutely clear, the stars were brilliant, the moon was high.
Went in to bed and awoke early the next morning with four inches of snow on the ground. Just three days later, Thursday, January 3, another snow storm hit the valley and left seven inches of snow. Dee and I had gone to a science fiction double bill at the El Portal--Zardoz and Soylent Green--and when we came out, Fremont Street and the cars parked along the curb were covered with snow.
One car cruised up and down Fremont with a snow man on its roof. Getting back to BC from Las Vegas, as I wrote in my journal, was "hairy. We could drive only 25-30 miles an hour and very nearly didn't make it out of the valley. The road disappeared and we drove in two tracks in the snow." Another notable snow was February 14, 1979--here's a photograph of me standing on a bench in front of Frazier Hall at UNLV with the Flora Dungan Humanities building in the snowy background.
It would snow again in 1979 but I was gone to college by then. The next time I experienced snow in Las Vegas was December, 2008.