Las Vegas ready to drop the puck
Just for the sport of it...
While skeptics may think the National Hockey League is taking a bit of a gamble by bringing a team to Las Vegas – the Vegas Golden Knights are set to take to the ice next season – many others, including more than 14,000 season ticket holders, would disagree.
This held true during the 2017 NHL Awards & Expansion Draft in June when a packed house jammed into the US$500-million T-Mobile Arena, located just off The Strip, to see their favourite NHL players and the Knights pick their team.
Canada was well represented at the event with many fans donning their favourite team’s jerseys and flying in for the awards ceremony. It’s a concept Vegas tourism officials hope will continue with fans heading south to see their teams in action against the Golden Knights. For Toronto fans, it could be a New Year’s Eve to remember as the Leafs visit Vegas to play the Golden Knights on Dec. 31.
Gary Bettman, commissioner of the NHL, said the NHL is proud to call Las Vegas “home,” and noted the addition of NHL hockey serves as yet another attraction for a world-class city that knows, very well, how to shine the spotlight on outstanding performers and great moments.
And, while one doesn’t necessarily associate Las Vegas with sports, most think gaming tables, live shows and fine cuisine, the Nevada city has plenty to offer the sporting world.
The following is just a small sampling of what agents can recommend to clients looking for something a little offbeat while in Vegas:
“This is a very, very, very fast track. When your coach says brake, you brake! You’re not going for groceries, you’re trying to get a car down by 100 mph.”
While the initial safety class at SPEEDVEGAS may seem a bit daunting, it’s not meant to scare you, it’s meant to keep your head in the game and know what you’re expected to do before going out on the track for real.
“The process is very easy,” added instructor Roger. “Drive the car, listen to the coach. Have fun. We’re going to take you out of your comfort zone. The coaches know the car’s capabilities, trust them.”
Located on Las Vegas Boulevard South, about 10 minutes from the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, SPEEDVEGAS is a 100-acre “motorsports destination” where guests can experience some of the world’s most sought-after muscle cars and exotic supercars from Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi, Corvette, and more.
The star of the show, next to the cars, is the Formula One-inspired track, the only one of its kind in North America to be completely built from scratch. It is 2.4 km long with 12 turns, 15 degrees banking, 60 feet of total elevation and a half-mile straightaway. It’s here where, depending upon the skills of the driver, select cars can reach top speeds of 150 mph.
Package prices start at US$99 for two (ride along) laps, and US$195 for five laps in an American Muscle Car. “Build your own” customizable experiences are also available. Popular packages include the 10-lap “Italian Faceoff” at US$695 where drivers get to do five laps in a Ferrari 458 Italia and five laps in a Lamborghini Huracán.
Complimentary round-trip shuttle service is available from Las Vegas Strip resorts.
Since opening, the track has hosted more than 30,000 drivers who have collectively driven more than 100,000 laps around the track.
“Our clientele has proven to be not only enthusiastic, but also discerning when it comes to performance vehicles – everyone has their personal preferences,” said Aaron Fessler, chief executive officer, SPEEDVEGAS.
For the record, the experience is thrilling and heart-pounding. So, if you have clients with the need for speed, this is the place to send them.
Topgolf Las Vegas
For a thrill of a different kind, especially for those that want to try clubbing of a different variety in Vegas, why not try visiting Topgolf Las Vegas?
Keep in mind, this is not your average golf facility or driving range. Topgolf, which opened at MGM Grand in Las Vegas last year, is a four-level entertainment venue with a variety of interactive golf games. Features include 107 climate-controlled hitting bays, two pools (open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), VIP cabanas and private suite, private meeting rooms and event spaces, hundreds of HDTVs, a stage for live concerts, five bars, and a Pro Shop.
Topgolf games can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels, and the microchipped golf balls score themselves, providing players with instant feedback on each shot’s accuracy and distance. In Topgolf’s signature game, players score points by hitting balls into any targets. The more accurate the shot (towards the centre of the target) and the farther the distance, the more points earned.
“It’s about socializing, it’s not geared to serious golfers,” said one Topgolf employee told Canadian Travel Press. “We’re very tailored to the Vegas market. It’s fun, we have live music, a large sports lounge. We’re family friendly.”
Half-day golf clinics are available for kids and teens, as are golf lessons by certified pros. Golfers can even be fitted for, and purchase clubs which can be delivered to their home.
Pricing starts at US$30 an hour (Mondays to Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon) for a bay that can hold up to six people and goes up to US$90 an hour during peak hours. Topgolf is open daily from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. (2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays).
Vegas Glass Kayaks
For those that like to get wet (although this is actually optional), a Black Canyon kayaking experience on the Colorado River is just the ticket.
Located about 40 minutes outside of the city is Vegas Glass Kayaks, which offers a variety of kayaking tours, including its popular Emerald Tour (US$200 per person) – a half-day, four- to five-mile excursion which starts and ends at Willow Beach.
Using stable, clear-bottomed kayak/canoe hybrid boats, which are easy to maneuver, highlights include refreshing dips in the crystal clear waters of the Colorado River, hiking through historical ruins, floating in the jade waters of Emerald Cave, and a picnic lunch on the beach. Along the way, participants are able to view ancient petroglyphs and get a brief history lesson of Gauger home site in Black Canyon.
A more challenging experience is the full-day Black Tour at US$300 per person (plus US$22 permit), paddling approxi-mately 12 miles from the Hoover Dam to Willow Beach. A nighttime Neon Tour is also available.
Included in all of the company’s packages are experienced guides and Las Vegas hotel pick ups.
Company owner, founder, guide and part-time actor Danny Latham says his philosophy is “to get people out of the city, expose them to some nature and have them back in time for dinner.”
For something a little different, the Brooklyn Bowl at The LINQ Hotel & Casino is part concert venue, part bowling alley, and a whole lot of fun.
The concert hall is intimate and attracts name bands, such as The Revolution (Prince’s backup band) and offers 10-pin bowling, each lane outfitted with luxury leather Chesterfield sofas.
Beerhaus at The Park
For some good food and a great place to watch your favourite sports team, the Beerhaus at The Park is now open.
Located at The Park, the new outdoor dining and entertainment district on the Las Vegas Strip right near T-Mobile Arena, the restaurant is described as a remix of the American beer hall.
A hearty menu features everything from the Beer-haus Brat and Slow Roast Pulled Beef Sandwich to a Warm Pretzel with Beer Cheese Dip.
A large variety of local beers from Las Vegas homegrown breweries including Joseph James, Big Dog’s, Crafthaus and Hop Nuts, as well as highly awarded regional and international rarities such as “The Poet” from New Holland Brewing, are sure to quench a visitor’s thirst.
Live music and bar games such as foosball, shuffle board, ping pong and corn hole help keep the good times rolling.