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Why I Hate Heavenly

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I hate being a complainer. I'm just hoping someone from Heavenly sees this and takes action. I've left notes in the suggestion box, but no luck.

So why do I hate Heavenly? Don't even get me started on the layout of that mountain. That's completely another rant.

I was trying to put my niece and nephews in ski school. I looked on the Heavenly website, and it said that ski school was at the top of the gondola, which was very convenient as we were staying in the Village. Luckily, I called the ski school, and they said that we would need to sign up for the lessons at the gondola. So our first morning we stood in the long line at the gondola. The line went out past the street and along the side walk. There were two of the probably 8 to 10 windows open. We stood in line for almost half an hour. When we finally got to the front of the line, we were told that the lesson packages would have to be purchased at the ski school office next door. The people behind us were there for lessons too. They were adults, got frustrated, and just decided to go ski on thier own. It would have been nice to have a host (or a town cryer) telling people that as they were getting in line. OR MAYBE A SIGN?

So we went to the ski school office. There were two lines to chose from, and they were about the same length. We chose the line on the left. When we got to the front, we were informed that we were in the wrong line. This was the line for adult lessons. Once again, NO SIGN. We were told that we would have to go to the other line. I would have preferred the person to say, "Just wait for the next opening since you already stood in line." That didn't happen. Oh well.

So we were standing in the new line, which was not moving all too quickly. I was getting a little frustrated with what appeared to be whining customers. "Just get your tickets and move along," was my thought. When we got to the front of this line, I realized what all the fuss was about. The guy told us that they weren't selling any lessons out of the gondola because the gondola was closed due to high winds. Apparently, they needed to tell us that one at time, instead of just telling everyone in line that lessons weren't being sold. I asked the guy about that; "Why wouldn't you just make an announcement to everyone standing in line?" His response was, "I telling you now, aren't I?" He did offer that they were still selling lessons out of the California lodge, and all we needed to do was take the shuttle bus over.

I gathered up the kids and headed out. As we were passing the others in line, I mentioned that they weren't selling lessons from the gondola and that we were heading over to the CA lodge. Minor pandamonium broke out, but nobody really believed me, so they continued to stand in line and wait their turn. Once again, a host would have been able to direct traffic in the first place. A host could have also just told everyone in line about the situation, saving us all the time of standing in line and being told only when we got to the front of the line. Better yet, HOW AOBUT A FEW SIMPLE SIGNS? <ADULT LESSONS HERE> <KIDS LESSONS HERE>

So then we headed over to the bus shuttle. There were about 10 people waiting for the orange line over to CA lodge. Again, complete disorganization at the bus shuttle. Here's why.

We were waiting at one of the stops with the people who were wating before we were. A few other people started filtering in one at a time. There are 4 or 5 bus stops, more like bays, that the busses pull into to pick up skiers. Apparently, there is no rhyme or reason as to where they pull in. As we were waiting in the front of the line with the people ahead of us, an exodus started from the gondola line (since it was closed), and the people started standing at the other stops. So after waiting for 20 minutes for the bus, one finally pulled in.....to one of the other stops with the people who just got there. The next bus bus pulled in while the other one was still loading, to the other stop that still had people arriving from the the gondola. Everyone from my line started running to the other busses, yelling and screaming. Little scirmishes broke out, and the kids were getting a little skiddish. I decided to just hire a car. And again, NO SIGNS, and no organization.

Unfortunate, really, since this place is so beautiful.

Someone at Heavenly -- DO SOMETHING!
post #2 of 26
Hmm, remind me the 'The Alps a bust ?' thread...
The line about customer care...
post #3 of 26
Were you at Heavenly, or the DMV?:
post #4 of 26
Things like that do drive you crazy.

I have always had similar experiences with Lake Louise over the years. This year, me and my buddy are about to unload off of one the top chairlifts and we notice that we are unloading directly into a gravel patch that hasn't been covered up...I was furious. It's not like the lifties are doing anything. Just stood there watching people ski over gravel. 30 seconds could have filled in this hole. No excuse for this type of service.

Go for lunch. No signs for what type of food is available. Ask for a roast beast sandwich. We don't have that. What do you have. Ham. I'll have that. We just ran out. What's left. I'll have to look. Why don't you then. Listen, I'm busy. Doing what. You don't understand. I think I do. Oh...

Note to self - pack lunch and apres ski beers for the bar. The one upside to stupid staff is that they are easy to trick.
post #5 of 26
Damn! And to think they gave me "Free Drink" coupons when the gondola broke for 5 minutes.... at the top and the bottom!
post #6 of 26
I have found ski school Registration process in general to highly inefficient in every resort (Except Park City MR - where it took me exactly 2 min to register 2 kids).

Heavenly Gondola is among the worst. I don't know how old your kids are - but if they are really young - you should be happy you did not check them in to the Gondola school. the gondola stops at the top of a platform. kids are expected to carry their skis down about 40 steps and then walk 100 yards - slightly uphill to the ski school meeting area. Not fun - in bad weather.

luckily for me - i have heard bad stories from other people about the gondola ski school - so I always take my kids (and myself) to the California ski school - especially if the weather is bad - when the chances of the Gondola being closed is extremely high. Also even if the Gondola opens in the morning, weather turns bad later, they shut the gondola down - guess what - you need to go to the California/Nevada base at the end of the day and wait for the shuttle to bring you back to the gondola base where your car is (and where your kids maybe).

the california side on the other hand is extremley convenient. parking is free (wheras you pay $20 to park at the gondola base). the ski school over here is over staffed. there are tons of employees hanging around guiding you every step of the way. it almost never closes down - as they have some bunny lifts which will keep the kids busy however bad the weather is.

Heavenly does have great instructors - though.

sorry you had a bad time.

I kind of like Heavenly despite its obvious faults (crowds and layout). you just have to learn how to manage it.
post #7 of 26
This is insane. I worked (only for a few years) at one of the eastern ASC resorts, and IIRC you could purchase tickets, rentals, or lessons at any POS terminal. This was about 7 years ago. Maybe Heavenly has bad systems that don't allow them to do that yet - they should at the very least be able to print up some signs directing you to the proper line. An ambassador/greeter would also solve some of the problems ( I would sometimes steer folks into the rental shop for tickets if there was a big line at the ticket window). Sounds like a real lack of management in general, and lack of initiative on the part of all the employees you dealt with. Plenty of other places to ski in Tahoe...
post #8 of 26
Vail Resorts got a new CEO this week. Maybe things like your experience are the reason why.
post #9 of 26
new skiers? young kids etc- I am a strong advocate of starting them at a smaller resort.

-- the scale makes it easier logistically

-- the people are more generally acountable and know that EACH customer is important to the life of the hill

--for most newbies the smaller environement is less intimidating (whether the student is young or old

f/w/i/w
post #10 of 26
Why not try Squaw? Its learning areas are clearly defind on their web site. I especially like to park in the Far East Area and access the mountain from there. A warmup run from Far East and you are ready for KT22. The Far East lift is very close to the parking, lot less walking than from the main parking lot to the village. The Papoose learning center next to the Far East lift is for adults only, nevertheless.
post #11 of 26
I had the same horrible experience about 5 yrs ago with enrolling my 6 yr old in the Heavenly ski school. It was like a massive cattle call with very little direction or guidance. That experience greatly diminished my enjoyment for the day, not to mention my son's day.
post #12 of 26
Docj,

I can more than relate. We stayed at a Lodge right under the Gondi a few weeks ago. Wake up to a 12" of new. You guessed it....the Gondi wasn't running!!! Not to worry....we'll just take a bus to the Nev. base.

Waited 45 min for a friggin bus!!! Finally got there at 10:30. What a crock of **** !.

Once we did get on the mtn. powder was great !!! Mtn layout was marginal at best.

Would I ski Heavenly again? NO !!!

I even work for Vail Resorts (VAIL) and was very dis-appointed.

We had a great time at Kirkwood, Alpine Mdw. and Squaw. Prefer Tahoe City over the South shore any day.

I'm spoiled by VAIL !!!
post #13 of 26
Reminds me of my very first day of skiing ever - at of course Heavenly. Friends dropped me off at the ski rental as soon as it opened (should have got there 2 hours early). 3 hours later had my rental skis and boots and waited another 2 hours for the school. After lunch, finally got to actually put the skis on - a full half day wasted standing in lines. The good thing is that once all that crap was overwith it was a great day with a good instructor, who gave me individual attention once he realized that I was way ahead of the rest of the class. Being there on the Friday before a three day weekend was not a good idea either, but that was the schedule I was given - makes my days at Solitude seem like a dream where a crowded lift line is one that has 10 people in front of you...
post #14 of 26
I agree with dtaski re: North Shore (he said Tahoe City) over South Shore. Unless you're a gambler or like to take in cheesy, overpriced "shows", I cannot see the draw of South Shore. That said, I hope everyone keeps going there so North Shore doesn't get even MORE crowded!

I like Kirkwood a lot, though. Course, it's a pretty long drive from South Shore anyway. Just my two pennies.
post #15 of 26
I usually ski North shore too, haven't been to Heavenly in a while.

But when there I always park @ CA side, ski Gunbarrel till I get tired, grab a bite to eat at the top of Gunbarrel, do some easy groomers on Ellies (not sure if that's the one, the long expert off the 10,000ft peak)...was always fun for me..
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Well, now that I've cooled down a bit, I do have to give Heavenly it's props. It's never been one of my favorite places, but my family takes a ski trip out there every year, so I don't have much choice but to ski there a couple of days. I've tried talking them into the North Shore, but I have relatives from Hawaii who come out, and Hawaiians are big into gambling. Plus, my parents aren't all that big on skiing anymore, so they, and my aunts and uncles can go hang out at the casinos.

Ok, so Heavenly is gorgeous. Doesn't get much prettier. They've got some great, long blue groomers, if you're into that kind of thing. The tree skiing off of Olympic Downhill is spectacular, as is the tree skiing on Ellies. Gunbarrel is fun, and the tree skiing on that face is great too. I like the setup over there too. You can dump off the whole family and there's something for everyone. Then meet up at the Gunbarrel Grill for a nice lunch. Their ski school is pretty awesome too.
post #17 of 26
Heavenly is the BEST ski area in Tahoe, don't go any where else..

Stay in Heavenly.....

Stay in Heavenly.....


Stay in Heavenly.....


and leave everything else alone......

More importantly..... Stay the hell out of Tahoe City...Its crowded..Its cold.. Its muddy...
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackwan1
Heavenly is the BEST ski area in Tahoe, don't go any where else..

Stay in Heavenly.....

Stay in Heavenly.....


Stay in Heavenly.....


and leave everything else alone......

More importantly..... Stay the hell out of Tahoe City...Its crowded..Its cold.. Its muddy...
OK, you're either a North Shore guy, and you're trying to keep everyone away so it's less crowded. Hey Los Angeles, Mammoth sucks! You should just go to Mountain High. Hmmmm.... I wonder if that will work?

Or, you're a Heavenly employee. If so, PLEASE do something!
post #19 of 26
I hate Heavenly because it's a whole country away from me.Tell you what, I'll swap you Blue Mountain for Heavenly and throw in both Jack Frost and Big Boulder for no extra charge.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by stoweguy
I hate Heavenly because it's a whole country away from me.Tell you what, I'll swap you Blue Mountain for Heavenly and throw in both Jack Frost and Big Boulder for no extra charge.
Heck throw in all the Pocono ski resorts for Heavenly. We'll take it here.

On the other hand, if you bring Heavenly to the east, especially that close to NYC, it wouldn't be that Heavenly anymore. Uuugghh, : leave it where it is then....
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackwan1
. The Papoose learning center next to the Far East lift is for adults only, nevertheless.
No longer true, Its for kids now. They have been running alot of adds on TV about it this year. (Not an endorsment of Squaw Valley Kids program)
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty

Heavenly Gondola is among the worst. I don't know how old your kids are - but if they are really young - you should be happy you did not check them in to the Gondola school. the gondola stops at the top of a platform. kids are expected to carry their skis down about 40 steps and then walk 100 yards - slightly uphill to the ski school meeting area. Not fun - in bad weather.
Last time I was there they had a snowmobile pulling a few carts behind. All the kids get in at the bottom of the gondola and they ride it to the class area. It looked like fun.

A.
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by verdugan
Last time I was there they had a snowmobile pulling a few carts behind. All the kids get in at the bottom of the gondola and they ride it to the class area. It looked like fun.

A.
Yes, they still have that. Even the adults wanted to ride in it.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Docjoque

Or, you're a Heavenly employee. If so, PLEASE do something!
I have to admit, I am the lone Heavenly host that got up too late for Docj's visit. Next time, call me before you come, will you?
:

oops, I just got fired..
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT
No longer true, Its for kids now. They have been running alot of adds on TV about it this year. (Not an endorsment of Squaw Valley Kids program)

Really, then how come they did not change the sign at the entrance or on the trail map?
post #26 of 26
Why not avoid the morning rush entirely and sign up for lessons in advance (phone/web/in person)? might notta helped with the wind/gondola issue, however
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