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Heavenly

 

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Lodging
Lodging
 
 
Name Description Maximum Occupancy Price Range

Paradice Motel

 

 

 

A boutique motel just a block from the base of the Heavenly Gondola, two blocks from one of Lake Tahoe’s finest private beaches and three blocks from Stateline and the casinos.
 

Extra person charges may apply 

 

 

$118 and up 

 

 

Marriott Grand Residence Club Tahoe 

Elegant luxury adjacent to the Heavenly Gondola with studios, 1 and 2 bedroom units, indoor pool, spas, fitness center and Internet access.

Extra person charges may apply 

$159 and up 

Ambassador Motor Lodge

 

82 rooms some with kitchens, a 10 minute walk to the Gondola and has a heated pool. 

Extra person charges may apply

$44 and up 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Additional lodging options available in South Lake Tahoe.

REAL ESTATE
 
 
 
DEALS
 
 
WHAT'S NEW
 
  • Four-lane tubing hill     

  • A new state-of-the-art tubing lift

  • Three new Prinoth Bison X grooming machines to add to the world's largest fleet of most technologically-advanced snow cats.

  • Tamarack Lodge set for a February 2011 opening. Heavenly's new 14,720-square-foot restaurant and lodge at the Top of the Gondola   

 
ACTIVITIES
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES

 

 Rental Equipment Rates


 Lesson Rates


 

GOOD, BETTER, BEST
 
 

 

Heavenly
Description:

Heavenly is one of the numerous Lake Tahoe region's all-star resorts. Huge vertical, staggering views and slightly tamer terrain combine to make Heavenly a more popular intermediate choice than some of its neighbors. With 3,500 vertical feet (the highest in the Tahoe region) and 4,800 skiable acres, there is plenty of terrain to choose from, regardless of skill level. With 29 lifts, little time is wasted in line and many of the 84 runs offer breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe. The mountain straddles the California-Nevada line and the terrain is conveniently partitioned between wide-open, groomed boulevards for beginners and intermediates, and steeps, bowls and trees for advanced and expert skiers and riders. On average, Heavenly experiences 76% sunny days and receives an annual dumping of 360 inches of snow. Lodging abounds. From hotels and casinos to inns and motels to condos and chalets, the Tahoe region is jam packed with a variety of options. -- Great article on Heavenly Ski Area's development going back to the 1940's -- http://www.pacificrimalliance.org/F.PublicAffairs/SkiHistory/historyResorts/Heavenly.html

Details:
DetailValue
Snow making percent73%
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Magic carpet4
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Rope tow6
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Poma
Lifts-Surface Lifts-T bar
Lifts-Surface Lifts-J bar
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Single
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Double3
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Triple5
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Quad
Lifts-Chair Lifts-High speed quad8
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Five person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Six person2 high speed
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Eight person
Lifts-Gondola1
Lifts-Tram1
Lifts-Coggle train
Lifts-Funicular
Lifts-Other
Lifts-Total number of lifts30
Lifts-Total lift capacity52,000/hr.
Trails-1-Beginner20%
Trails-2-Intermediate45%
Trails-3-Advanced35%
Trails-4-Expert only
Trails-5-Terrain park4
Trails-6-Half pipe
Trails-Total94
Runs-Steepest run
Runs-Longest run
General-Base elevation6540'
General-Vertical drop3500'
General-OwnerVail Resorts
General-Mountain range
General-Annual skier visits
General-Back country access3 access gates
General-Total area in bounds4800 acres
General-Snow making coverage
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Posted

Pros: Snowmaking, grooming, lift capacity, access to South Lake Tahoe

Cons: Confusing layout, Prone to lift shutdowns for wind

Heavenly is the ski area that often defines a trip to Tahoe for people coming from out of the area.  It is a huge mountain with walk-to access to the casinos and up-scale hotels of South Lake Tahoe, and breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe and surrounding mountains.   Everyone who visits this mountain can create their own experience, from a ski-in slope side condo, to staying at the California Base or Casino area.  The skiing ranges from long gentle scenic cruising trails, to world class expert bumps and trees.  For those equipped to safely enjoy it, off-piste and backcountry skiing is available through a number of gates, and the famous Motts and Killebrew Canyons area.  Heavenly is now part of the Vail Resorts, along with Northstar and Colorado resorts. This increases the value to people who have the EpicPass.

The biggest complaint about Heavenly is that it has many traverses and is cut-up.  The secret to enjoying Heavenly, is to ski it as five different ski areas, rather than one.  You can ski more than one of the areas in a day, but you need to understand how the mountain works.  These are the six main areas.


  1. Comet, Dipper, Tamarack Gondola (Intermediate)
  2. Olympic, North Bowl, Stagecoach, Boulder (Expert to Beginner)
  3. Sky Express, Canyon, Powderhorn (Expert Intermediate)
  4. Patsys, Groove (beginner and transit to Tram/Gunbarrel)
  5. Motts and Killebrew Canyons (expert)
  6. Tram, Face, Gunbarrel (expert)

The Gondola rises from the middle of South Lake Tahoe and rises to a base area that includes several beginner slopes, and the Tamarack 6-Pack lift.  The Gondola is strictly a transit lift and does not serve skiing.  It is very prone to wind closure due to the single cable design.  Plan on entering from Nevada (Stagecoach or Boulder), or California Base on a windy or storm day.  Nevada is always a better bet during storms and even if you can go from Nevada to California, you may be unable to cross from California to Nevada due to closure of the Sky Express.

From the Gondola summit, the Tamarack Espress takes you to a summit station where you can either descend to the Nevada Comet and Dipper Express chairs, or descend to the California Sky Express or Canyon Express chairs.   These are both high-elevation and very popular areas to ski.   Tamerack is a terrain park, and the area around the Gondola consist of ski school beginner slopes.  So unless you are heading back to SLT Base, or meeting someone, the Gondola is a dead end for skiing.

Comet and Dipper feature wide-open intermediate slopes and good tree skiing.  The lifts are protected enough to stay open in most storms that close the California summit.  Dipper, you can reach the Motts Canyon trails by heading left off the chair and keeping right until you reach the gates.  If you chicken out on Motts and continue to the right, you will be sucked into the intermediate hole that is Galaxy, and perhaps the slowest lift on the planet.  Some people like this gentle trail, I find it to be flat.  Once at the bottom the only way out is the chair back to the Dipper trails.

Motts/Killebrew skis as its own area and exits from the top of the chairlift back to Dipper.  Trails are accessed through gates, and this is an all expert area.  Once you drop in, there is only one way out.  Go with a friend and ski safe.

keep skier's left on Comet and take the Crossover to the Olympic / North Bowl / Stagecoach area.  Do not ski past the day-lodge at East Peak expecting to get to the lower Nevada skiing on Stagecoach unless you like to hike.  These lower Nevada slopes are great fast cruisers, but look for opportunities in the trees, especially on North Bowl.  Stay out of Boulder lift unless you are going to the bottom, as this is another beginner area.  Stagecoach can provide surprising powder on a storm day when the crowds don't show up, but the lower section is flat groomer, making this descent to the base feel like you're missing out on the better skiing up higher.

Sky Express, Canyon Express and Powderhorn serve a wide variety of high altitude skiing on the California side.  Trails like Ridge are renown for scenery, and since it is always immaculately groomed, this is a great place for early morning smonkin' high-speed runs before the crowds show up.   Later in the day, this trail will be packed with slow beginner and intermediate skiers taking advantage of the photo opportunities.  Ridge is the only way to keep cutting over towards Powderhorn, and this can lead to a lot of congestion.  The Powderhorn express area has some interesting steeps and tree skiing, and it all funnels into the depression where the skiers coming from the Tram are moving through to access the upper mountain, and the Patsy's beginner area.

If you want to leave the upper mountain on the California side, you either take the Roundabout hike which leads to a winding, crowded cat-track, or you take Patsy's where you can drop onto Gunbarrel, or take the tram to the California Base.  The Face, Gunbarrel, and West Bowl offer relentless moguls and sometimes poor coverage subject to lower altitude freeze/thaw cycles. In the right conditions its a dream.  Most days its a challenge, and sometimes its just dangerous, such as the time someone left the snow-making on when it was above freezing, turning the slope into solid ice.  

Heavenly has something for everyone, and the secret to enjoying it is finding what you like, and skiing there.  Time the crowds, arrive early, eat early, leave late and you will ski a lot.  Best bet for crowds is North Bowl and Olympic.  Avoid East Peak lodge at lunch time.  Taking the Gondola to town at lunch can be a crowd beater. 

Posted

Pros: best value resort in the region overall, best snowmaking, best entertainment

Cons: winddhold

There's Shows with big names. 

 

Lodging is close to the lift -so for the price it is so much better value than those pricey 'ski villages'. 

 

There's the Heavenly Angel's party at Tamarack Lodge from about 4pm so kick up your heels

 

There's a great range of lodging to suit all budgets from the motels to the Penthouses. 

 

It's not the place the Steep N Deep cliff hucking ski movie stars deign. It's a hill for the average family from beginner to advanced. 

 

Runs are nice and wide - not those ribbons of death. 

 

There are national park guides - free. 

 

Ski School is 4 kids or 4 adults max per class. 

 

Lessons are among the nest priced (and best value imo) in the area. 

 

Cons: It's a holiday town so its harder to get to know the locals. Personally I prefer smaller places with great people like Squaw. 

 

The blu-go bus is amazingly efficient. By the way I haven't caught any bus or train (apart from Heavenly's) since 1975. Heavenly'd buses are ok with me. 

 

Windhold might mean you drive to the Nevada side. Big Deal. 

 

My family like it so much I bought a ski in/out place. Best bar tender ever and best crew (apart from my pals at Squaw Valley). 

 

For my steep n deep fix I do Squaw Valley as part of my annual holiday with a bunch of tahoe regulars from home. 

Posted

Pros: Varied terrain, retains snow well, not busy if you know where to go, lots of fun 'hidden' stuff

Cons: Can be extremely busy at certain times/places, Confusing layout

As cirquerider stated, the trick to Heavenly as skiing it as different areas. I often found that by planning my runs in advance I was able to experience lots of terrain, especially after I got a feel for where the crowds were on the mountain. I was lucky enough to ski this mountain with a local friend and I found this mountain has lots of hidden gems, such as some unmarked glades etc.

 

The terrain on the mountain is varied and fun, but its important to ski it with a plan. If you want to ski Killebrew and Mott canyons, you should head there early on when the snow is fresh. This is not the only reason; the traverse there and back does take a little while. The trick to this mountain is sticking to an area; make a plan for where you want to ski for that day, and stay near that area. Traversing this mountain soaks up a lot of time and runs and you'll get more every day if you ski specific areas.

 

Overall I really enjoyed my experience at this mountain, at least as much as I enjoyed Squaw. The amount of variety more than makes up for this mountains faults; you won't get bored here easily. Get up early, eat lunch at 11:00-11:30 to beat some of the crowd, and spend your afternoon on the upper Nevada side and you'll avoid a large portion of Heavenly's crowd. Good luck, and have fun!

Posted

Pros: Grooming & Intermediate Runs well distributed around mountain, lift capacity, lack of crowds on expert terrain, Casino's nearby, helpful staff

Cons: tough layout can lead to cat track skiings, Can't get up real high on Milky Way w/o using Sky express, lines @ sky express, gunbarrel is out of way

 We spent three days skiing Heavenly and had a great family vacation - 3/18-3/20, Thursday through Saturday during spring break, were our ski days.  To put the review in context, our group consisted of myself (a ski-everything expert), my wife (an expert level boarder), toddler son (no skis yet), and two in-laws (intermediates... but more on that later).  

Please note that I highly recommend Cirqeurider's review and won't go into reiterating all of his points, but he's pretty much spot on.  Except that maybe he doesn't do the simultaneous view of both Lake Tahoe and the Nevada desert floor justice.  Sitting in (on?) deserted Killebrew Canyon (both at the top, and on the ridge before the traverse out) and looking out onto the valley floor well below us, with a plethora of colors and terrain out of a spaghetti western was a highlight of our visit.

In general, the "mountain" is large - although thats a misnomer, because it is several mountains, so the term resort is much more apt.  It kind of reminded me of Deer Valley, in that it is sort of a big blob, and at times a lift ride that has people going up/down at the same time becomes necessary.  I think this has good and bad effects: in that it's bad when you want to quickly get from one area to another (such as skiing with an intermediate in the morning and wanting to get to harsh terrain later), but does have the pleasant bonus of keeping most people locked into the Sky Express or Dipper lift.

In terms of expert terrain:  After skiing Alyeska, Jackson Hole, and many other places the terrain will not be the place for a big mountain competition (or the folks at TGR's forums to talk about) anytime soon. That being said, Motts/Killebrew was a blast in the spring snow and had the right aspect to pick up the sun.  "Fresh" untracked corn that was moderately soft was even available with a brief hike up Milky Way.  

Intermediates: They had a great time on all the various intermediate runs around, especially on the Nevada side, away from crowds.  At times, Orion and some of the other Dipper runs were a bit crowded (read: scary) for their tastes, but a long run down to Stagecoach, Galaxy, or North Bowl got them smiling again. 

As for the family-friendly & nightlife aspect, our little guy isn't on skis and we stayed in a place with a kitchen so we may not have gotten the full experience.  However, they do have a tubing/sledding area up at the gondola base, and the ride on the gondola was both free AND exciting for him.  At any point, if a toddler gets rowdy or bored waiting for mom/dad to return and relieve the babysitter/grandparents you have a nice safety valve - GONDOLA RIDES!  Night life seemed to exist, although we cooked in.  Having the Raley's grocery store right next to the Heavenly base area was extremely convenient and they sold groceries at reasonable prices, at least to an Alaskan/New Jerseyan...

Value-wise, it was ok for a resort.  Rentskis.com allowed a pretty decent discount on demo rentals, the free-lift tickets under age 4 is nice, and if you have an Epic pass from Vail Resorts (which is a crazy deal in its own right) you are more than set.  Otherwise, I recommend a PEAKS card or picking up discount tickets from REI/grocery store on the drive in.  Chili Cheese Fries at the Stagecoach lodge were reasonable ($10?) and fed two pretty well.

All in all, it was a fun trip and a good family mountain.  Given relative ease-of-access for people coming from all over the US, in-village accomodations, and everything else listed above it was a good solid trip.  

Heavenly may not be at the top of my "Must Ski" list for terrain or legendary ski resorts, but its pretty darn good.  Solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Posted

Pros: Great views; Stateline's a fun place to stay; and very convenient from South Lake Tahoe/Reno Airport

Cons: Heavy, wet snow

I had bad luck with the snow, but still very much enjoyed my time at Heavenly. Access from Stateline and South Lake Tahoe couldn't be easier. The Stateline casinos are fun, and the views are amazing. In two days, I only skied a fraction of the available terrain, and the heavy snow wore me out quickly, but the trails are fun and varied, and the lifts are laid out nicely.

Posted

Pros: Good groomed blues, if that's what you like.

Cons: Skis small for its size.

Heavenly does really ski like a bunch of smaller connected areas. Cirquerider's review has good advice. My family of strong skiers was there just last week, mid-March during a low snow year and a warm spell. Conditions were hard pack in the morning and soft snow in the afternoon, if you skied the right aspects.  We didn't experience the resort's full potential because of sketchy conditions that left us feeling like we were back east. Only one gate into Mott was open and it was thankfully soft when we skied it. The low snow year caused the bumps to grow deep in the canyon under the lift. We didn't ski the California base area. We were informed by mountain hosts at the top that most of the good terrain there was closed due to icy conditions and thin cover. Heavenly is blessed with widely spaced trees on moderately angled terrain that would be a lot of fun with the right conditions. Mott and Killebrew both have steep, technical terrain for expert skiing. California base has long expert pitched bump runs for the mogul maniacs. Groomed blue cruisers make up most of the trail network.

 

We take ski vacations to ski and we do the rest cheap so no on mountain food reviews, we brown bagged. Off mountain lodging at the Heavenly Inn was nice and newly remodeled with a kitchenette that has a microwave/convection oven, full fridge, dual basin sink but no stove. We called Blue Go, the free resort shuttle, to pick us up a half a block away at the Best Western on Park Ave. rather then walk the 3 to 4 blocks in ski boots to the gondola. Lockers around the gondola are limited and $9 a day.

 

South Lake Tahoe reminded us of Myrtle Beach with ski shops instead of surf shops. Lot's of options for lodging, dining and nightlife especially at the Nevada casinos which will book national acts in a smaller venue. Of course you can gamble your life savings away if that's your pleasure.

Posted

Pros: Lots of intermediate terrain

Cons: Limited expert terrain; cumbersome to navigate

Heavenly is surprising one of the most well known resorts in the Tahoe area and attracts lots of out-of-state and foreign tourists.  However I was never too thrilled by it given the other choices in the area (i.e. Kirkwood, Squaw, Alpine).  I only skied it a couple of times while I was living in northern California.  It is a hard mountain to navigate and coordinate with others in the group.  The advanced and expert terrain is limited.  Not a bad choice for groomed intermediate skiing, though a little too crowded.  Popular amongst tourists who want to ski during the day and gamble at night on the Nevada side.

Posted

Pros: One of the most beautiful places on earth

Cons: Big, but not in a good way; heavy snow

Heavenly is an amazing place the morning after of the Sierra Nevada's famous 2 foot overnight blizzards. I remember going to sleep with a sky full of stars and waking up to 2 feet of fresh, if not a bit wet, powder. By 8:30am at the lift line, it was already a clear sunny morning with barely a cloud in the sky. It's hard to imagine what this place looks like when you're standing in the middle of a big line waiting for the first lift. Not that  it was particularly crowded, but Heavenly isn't exactly the middle of nowhere. Nonetheless, when the gondola gets you to the top of the mountain and you're staring down at that deep blue lake with all the trees covered in deep snow, there is probably no where else like it.


Yes the skiing at Heavenly is pretty good. It's a big mountain and it has somehting for almost every flavor. It doesn't have the steeps of Crested Butte and Jackson Hole, or the backcountry adventure offered in a few places, but its got great tree skiing and quite a few vast open bowls. The resort is really big too so tackling the mountain(s) in a few days is a better idea than attempting to make traverses in one morning or afternoon. You might find yourself winded just from that effort alone!

 

On a side note, I should add that being from the east coast, I'm a bit of a sucker for powder. But I'd have to say that I'd rather have it in the fluffy light Utah variety, not the water drenched version of the pacific northwest. Maybe it was just my luck, but skiing in 2' of fresh powder at Heavenly was probably one of the most difficult experiences I've ever had just because the weight of the snow made keeping any velocity very difficult.

 

Aside from the skiing, Heavenly has the advantage of being on the border with Nevada and the casinos aren't very far away. If you're not into the gambling/entertainment industry scene, it's a pretty relaxed area and there isn't necessarily too much else to do. Regardless of you who you are, you should be able to find something that suits your apres-ski needs. And if you find nothing of interest, just take the gondola to the top of the mountain, sit down overlooking a steep trail and the lake, and just soak it all in!

Posted

Pros: Lots of terrain, lots of high speed lists

Cons: To widespread. Too many trails, not enough runs

I went to Heavenly on March 21, for the first time in several years. The area is OK... not great. They have lots of terrain, and lots of lifts, but everything is too spread out. The resort is divided into the 'California Side' and the 'Nevada Side' (it does in fact span two states), but getting from one to the other requires a lot of lifts and a lot of trails. Even worse, they apparently sometimes close the upper-mountain lifts due to winds, which means you can't get back from the California side to the Nevada side, except via hour-long bus ride.

 

On the plus side, they have a cheap pass this year: $329 for the rest of this season and all of next season.