Good article, and Lenzner is right, had you made it to the burger place inside the old Nugget, you would have probably been happy with your trip at that point no matter what happened. That place is legendary.
It's a shame you found the streets scary, Reno is not a scary place. Most locals, and college students especially, regularly walk around outside and even back home during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. It's certainly not as visually appealing as Vegas, but I would be much more scared to go down the wrong alley in vegas than in Reno. I give this opinion having been to Vegas a lot and living in Reno for six years. Vegas is really sweet to party in, but that's only if you have lots of money to burn.
I sound like a Reno sales man, but I think most people will find that once they have spent some time there, it's really hard to beat all the things it has to offer below the second-class looking downtown casinos, sitting at the foothills the Sierras and Lake Tahoe. I even have friends who have since moved, like myself, and now miss it tremendously.
Perhaps it's better SIA remains in popular cities like Las Vegas and Denver. What makes Reno unique is all the things it has to offer in addition to having legit skiing very close, yet the town itself still flies under the radar in the ski community as a sort of secret gem. Perhaps it's mystic and lack of recognition are what make it so much fun for skiing and partying because it hasn't yet be overrun with a "scene" or hordes of people.