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Heavenly's layout...anything but heavenly!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Who designed this mountain and please tell me he's either dead or unemployed and begging for nickles outside a Starbucks in SF.

I've skied 60 or so mountains in 5 or 6 countries and have never seen a mountain layed out so poorly.

1. Take any lift from the base of the California side. You end up in a deep depression (physically and emotionally) that has two ways out. Each way is a SLOW, non express, triple chair. This is a massive physical bottleneck that is made MUCH worse by the horrible lifts. This area needs two express quads. There was a 20 minute lift line here on a MONDAY IN APRIL!?! I can't think of another ski area I've ever skied that had any liftlines anywhere on a Monday in April, let alone a 20 minute one.

2. OK, you made it out of the depression and you can now ski about 2 minutes before dropping into ANOTHER bottleneck depression. This one, fortunately, has an express and a standard lift leaving (but the standard lift is closed for the season) but still results in a 10 minute wait. Still on Monday, btw.

3. Whew, you're at the top. It's taken you about 45 minutes and you decide to head to Nevada to avoid all those cursed bottlenecks. Have fun, even though you're at 10,000 feet, the cattrail to take you to Nevada ends with an UPHILL pole. Nice trail design, folks.

4. Ok, you've had enough and are heading back to CA. Now the fun begins. Take California trail back to the bottleneck. Wait in line and ride up so you can ski to the first bottleneck. From here, you have two options. If you're not an advanced skier, you can wait in another long line for another non-express chair to take you out of the depression so you can RIDE THE LIFT DOWN. If you're advanced, you can ski (double diamond) Gunbarrel from here. So what if you decide that a) you're not good enough (or are too tired) for Gunbarrel but b) you don't feel that you should have to ride a lift DOWN? You can take Roundabout, a long, winding cat trail that begins with a 15 minute pole UPHILL again.

We normally ski North Shore but decided to give Heavenly a try due to the fact that they are the only place with infant day care. Forget it! I'd rather pay my babysitter to ride up with us than ski this wreck of a mountain again.

OK, the 2' of new snow was nice but STILL!!

[ April 14, 2003, 08:20 PM: Message edited by: KevinH ]
post #2 of 16
Agreed Kevin and would get my vote for lamest in the West. On the other hand the layout was designed decades ago. There are other old resorts particularly in the East which have similar problems which are sometimes remedied with replacements with newer lifts and corrections to the trails. In Heavenly's case correcting the original resort trails and lifts is probably impractical due to the nature of the terrain, especially erosion issues. -David
post #3 of 16
I have never been to Heavenly but that is how we felt about Park City. Great facilities but the lift situation was very strange. The old two seater coming out of the village was cute but it took so long to get anywhere that we just gave up.
post #4 of 16
I felt the same way about PCR. However, there is another chair to the skiers right that takes you out of the Village complex. Also the Town chair but it's clear over on the other side of town? La-Ta.
post #5 of 16
I skied there years ago and had heard the stories about how crowded the CA side can get so I drove to the NV side. After lunch I headed over to the CA side and it sucked. I will never go back to Heavenly there are too many other excellent areas in Tahoe.
post #6 of 16
PCR isn't that bad. There are three lifts from the bottom, if you know where to find them. [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #7 of 16
I had fun at heavenly but wayy too much of my day was spent in lift lines, traversing and trying to get to where I wanted to be. I was there on a friday, end of feb. There were some pretty long lift lines and it felt too crowded.
post #8 of 16

I was there the day after you were. The only problem I encountered was a line for SKY EXPRESS (to the top for traverse to nevada from california), which took awhile to thin, during which time I rode RIDGE and CANYON chairs while waiting. Not ideal, perhaps, but it worked fine for me. (Did you catch some of that weird snow, which I've since learned is called "Graupel"?)

And when I did hit the SKY line, I found the actual wait to be nothing as bad as I thought it might be, given the look of the line. After that, pretty much smooth sailing.

The very scary looking wait was for the gondola, from the hwy. THAT looked insane.

I recall also being at the top of Tamarack (I think) and it taking awhile to realize that in order to get to the OLYMPIC DOWNHILL chair (I think), one had to carry a good deal of speed across a flat, then UP, to get there. I'm sure quite a few skiers are not that comfortable with a bit of velocity, therefore leaving them to walk to the top of that knoll.

The layout certainly could be better and on a few occassions I did wonder what the design team had in mind. Have to say, though, that I've truly enjoyed my few days skiing Heavenly.


[ April 16, 2003, 01:47 PM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #9 of 16
Once you learn the mountain it's not all that bad. That is one reason however that I do not enter the CA side if I can avoid it. And if I do, it's straight to the Tram. Get there early (half hour before the lifts open) and be on the early tram up.

Skiing the Nevada side there is plenty of terrain and some very long runs, including some extreme steeps in the form of Mott Canyon and killebrew canyon.

The part that get's me about Heavenly is the prices! especially for kids. An all day adventure is 130! it includes lifts lessons and equipment but 130? even for a first time ever The Adult all day first time skier is only 89.00! I thought they wanted to get parents to bring their kids so they will get "hooked on the sport" not scare them away.

for a child ticket 5-12 the daily rate was 29.
teens 13-18 was 49.

This late in the season they finally droped the prices to 19 and 29 but that's still very steep considering how the conditions are.
post #10 of 16
you just have to know the mountain(just like any mountain) + stay away from everybody+thier dog on the cali side.

i actually thought vail was much worse in how much poling i had to do to get to the good stuff and how many lifts i had to ride to get there and vail is supposedly the best in the US.
post #11 of 16
Originally posted by gilper:
I will never go back to Heavenly there are too many other excellent areas in Tahoe.

Did Heavenly for the first time last January. No Thanks! I could have spent the day at Squaw and instead I got a lousy lift system and lots of groomers.
Never Again.
post #12 of 16
I would purpose to say that both Vail and Heavenly, while encompassing some great skiing, are in fact 2 of the most crowded resorts in America. And what are they now part of the same corporation? With my one day at Vail last year (reported 17,000 skiers on the mtn. that day) I really came to appreciate the Aspen Ski Co. mountains.

If you want short lift lines AND great skiing it's best to get away from the disney resorts of I-70 and South Lake, travel to SLC or Aspen, and experience more downhill for your dollar.

Although you won't get the casino action....you will get the "goods"......
post #13 of 16
To the x cop... sssssh not so loud. I skied
Aspen last Sun. the last day for Aspen Ski Co.
and I waited in the gondola line for 15 min
at around 11am when the whole town showed up
for the last hurrah. That was the longest wait
all season. But no one cared because it was
a locals day, and what a day it was, one of the
best days of the year, but I'm sure it was better
at Vail, he he...
post #14 of 16
uhhh, hey guys:

You can't just go one day to one resort and say it sucks.

april 14 was like a premier powder day, and every resort was packed....I was at heavenly on april 15 and 16, and there were, like, 100 people on the whole dam mountain. zippo lines. There are ungroomed runs, and yes on 4/14, some were closed (for avalanche control).

Yeah, there were like two days (out of the 25+ trips to heavenly this year)where there were any kind of lines (april 14, and December 26) - - - other than that it was pretty darn open.

And, I've been to all of the resorts dozens of times, and heavenly has much better access and more moderate linese than most. It isn't perfect....and could be improved, but it can be a whole lot worse.

The parking is better, there are many ways to access the mountain (3 chairs, tram, a gondola)Northstar takes the cake. One dam gondola serves bottlenecks the whole mountain. They never have the chair working as backup. Any slight delay in the morning causes complete gridlock. Midweek-anytime. No powder. No moguls. Boring flat groomed runs. Long walks from parking lot. No other options to get on mountain. And then the resorts nearer to Sacramento and Bay, like Sierra, or Sugar Bowl, are much more crowded than Heavenly - and with one third the terrain. What the heck do you think you'll get at squaw besides groomers? cliffs that you can only look at? wind?. compare the wait on that tram on a powder day. Anyone could bash any resort on a particular attribute.

Go ahead, make my day, bash heavenly - - - as for me - - - its the only resort that offers annual 7-day passes, for under $300. I renewed mine. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #15 of 16

Don't mean to pick on you - but your post is very un-informative.
I like Heavenly but KevinH makes some very valid points. Other than saying that Heavenly has (3 chairs, tram, a gondola) and that their 7 day pass is only $300 - your post does not offer anything to counter Kevin's points. Bashing Northstar and other resorts like sugarbowl etc - doesn't make Heavenly a better place.

My take: Heavenly has some nice runs The ones I enjoyed most are , the tree runs off of Ellie on the CA side,
tree runs off of Big dipper on NV side, Milky way bowl - nice but short. I heard Mott and Kilbrew are nice. Hopefully I will get better enough next year to ski M&K. But all of Kevin's point are good. it takes ages to get from place to another.Regarding the long lines - i guess that's a price you have to pay for its great accessebility(sp?) to town.

I skied Squaw this year for the first time and am in love with it. Lots of open bowls, steeps and tons of good lifts. Compares favourably to Snowbird and Snowbasin.

From next year onwards - I don't plan to ski anything other than Heavenly and Squaw in California.
post #16 of 16
Among the larger Tahoe ski resorts, I have been to Heavenly, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Northstar and Kirkwood.

Of these, I ski Heavenly, Squaw Valley and Kirkwood the most. During the past two seasons I think I skied Heavenly 10 days, Squaw Valley 10 days, and Kirkwood 20 days.
(I had a $299 Kirkwood season pass this year - about the same restrictions as the Heavenly one, for Steve's information.
I also renewed my pass, but this time unrestricted, as they were throwing in two lift tickets in the deal.)

The dates were all spread out from late December to early April, mostly during the weekends, but there were a few weekdays.

Based on the above experience, Heavenly was usually much more crowded than the other two. Sky Express on the CA side has
very long lines (and wait, unless you get in the singles line)
most weekends. The Nevada side does seem less crowded, but I also find that the snow conditions are often worse.

Speaking of snow conditions, I've often gone to two places(Heavenly, Squaw or Kirkwood, Heavenley) on consecutive days,
and Squaw or Kirkwood consistently had much much better snow.
(and a lot fewer people, too) This is not hard to understand, given that Kirkwood and Squaw both get a lot more snow and
tend to keep it longer.

Anyway, these days, I no longer go to Heavenly unless it's a big group trip where factors other than skiing come in to play.

BTW, I have yet to visit Mott/Killebrew Canyon, so maybe that may change my mind.. But right now, I'd take Squaw or Kirkwood over Heavenly any day.

Just my 2 cents.

[ April 27, 2003, 05:53 PM: Message edited by: paulwlee ]
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