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Heavenly 2/28 - 3/2

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
skiied heavenly for 3 days. my first and last trip to tahoe. perhaps the most scenic area i have ever skiied in the U.S., but I wouldnt even consider going back...

first the report: despite considerable snowfall about 7-10 days ago (24-34"), the pack was fairly icey and only loosened up after lunch. high winds 2 days closed the gondola and virtually the entire mountain one of those days. probably the least friendly, least courteous skiiers/boarders i have come across except when skiing in NY and the poconos in PA...from the slopes to the lift lines. lifties and the rest of heavenly help seemed happy and enthusiastic though!

the resort: small lodges, crappy food, horrible catwalks/connections, poor design that relies to heavily on the gondola up/down to start the day. if i had planned a ski vacation at heavenly i would have been really disappointed. fortunately it was 4 day bachelor party that also centered on gambling on drinking - so no complaints. But I wont be back again. nothing family friendly about the resort or the casinos (we stayed at mont blue).

hard to believe that vali, key and breck have the same management.
post #2 of 25
No wonder you didn't like Tahoe - you went to Heavenly!

I just back from a week @ Tahoe and its amazing. You need to ski Squaw and Alpine. I will be writing a TR when I get a chance
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
we had heard good things about heavenly. squaw was farther away then we wanted to travel....and we bought a 3 day pass on arrival. oh well.

my indictment of heavenly should not construed as a shot a tahoe in general!
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sclancypb View Post
...my indictment of heavenly should not construed as a shot a tahoe in general!
:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jp4266 View Post
I just back from a week @ Tahoe and its amazing... I will be writing a TR when I get a chance
:
post #5 of 25
dude were you hungover or what?? Sounds awfully cranky
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
i really feel like i am being "fair." Yes i was hungover 2 of 3 days skiing. and yes two windy days certainly detracted from the resort.

but i reflected on what heavenly has to offer and concluded -

1. the lodges are far too small and cannot accomodate nearly enough people for lunch. we ate outside 2 of 3 days and it was cold (my fingers were numb eating a burger yesterday - it was maybe low 30s). the food was slightly below average - i have had better meals at nearly every other major CO and UT resorts....Now in fairness, if the weather had been high 40s, eating outside would have been fantastic

2. the catwalks and conections to the different areas of the mountain are just not good. again, every resort in CO and UT has better connecting runs that minimize poling. i never saw so many snowboarders hoofing it on catwalks as i did at heavenly. they looked even more miserable than us poling....(hangover may color this one just a bit)

3. my perception was that we saw more inconsiderate people on the slopes than at other resorts out west. in fact heavenly had more patrols out by the SLOW signs than any other resort i have been to outside of the craziness of places like Hunter and Wyndam mt and everywhere in the poconos in PA.

4. the gondola may be great at heavenly but not when it gets shut down. and on friday when it didnt shut down, the line of 100 people waiting to ride down was just plain stupid....so you trek across to one of the "remote" lodges at then ride bus with no ski racks....this place just doesnt make sense....

5. 24oz blue moon drafts on the deck at stagecoach lodge on friday (sunny high 40s) was pretty darn nice....

6. the newish marriot time share and stores at base of heavenly gondola was attractive nice and not too crowded.

Honestly even with perfect snow, i wouldnt go back. maybe once upon a time it was more pure and basic, but now the prices ($80) and the upgrading have destroyed the charm and so it needs to finish moving forward to become a top resort. it looks like it once had the charm of A basin or Alta but that is gone and now it is stuck in no man's land.
post #7 of 25
OK so we've established you had sh*tty weather. We've established you were half in the bag a good deal of the trip. Maybe give some of the other resorts a try.

Anyway, I guess every area isn't suited for everyone. Tahoe is a pretty special place though. Some people say Heavenly is too easy or whatever compared with Squaw and maybe Kwood. But try the Nevada side - Motts canyon and the like.

I haven't been to Heavenly since they switched ownership ... I'll have to look for the changes next time. But I do plan to go back though.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sclancypb View Post
1. the lodges are far too small and cannot accomodate nearly enough people for lunch. we ate outside 2 of 3 days and it was cold (my fingers were numb eating a burger yesterday - it was maybe low 30s). the food was slightly below average - i have had better meals at nearly every other major CO and UT resorts....Now in fairness, if the weather had been high 40s, eating outside would have been fantastic

2. the catwalks and conections to the different areas of the mountain are just not good. again, every resort in CO and UT has better connecting runs that minimize poling. i never saw so many snowboarders hoofing it on catwalks as i did at heavenly. they looked even more miserable than us poling....(hangover may color this one just a bit)

3. my perception was that we saw more inconsiderate people on the slopes than at other resorts out west. in fact heavenly had more patrols out by the SLOW signs than any other resort i have been to outside of the craziness of places like Hunter and Wyndam mt and everywhere in the poconos in PA.
... and you weren't there during the holidays. I agree with all these points, I have no idea how a snowboarder could like all those catwalks, and the same goes for Winter Park.

The one thing I like about Heavenly: There's so many people who suck so bad there that it makes me feel better about my skiing abilities
post #9 of 25
I definitely would keep heavenly out of any opinions on lake tahoe. It feels like eastern skiing-countless amounts of people who have no idea what they are doing, slow skiing zones everywhere that are actually enforced, and most of your day is spent on flat terrain. mott and killebrew are the only steeps, gunbarrel area is alright too. I'm sure there is some fun to be had in the trees but you need good snow for that. oh yeah, $81 lift tickets is insane.
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jp4266 View Post
No wonder you didn't like Tahoe - you went to Heavenly!

I just back from a week @ Tahoe and its amazing. You need to ski Squaw and Alpine. I will be writing a TR when I get a chance
hopefully you weren't at squaw or alpine this past sat and sun cause if so i will call you insane... conditions sucked... nothing but boring groomers were ski-able... i was only in tahoe for the weekend and the skiing was a complete bust... alpine and squaw on a good day must be completely epic tho... especially squaw... such amazing terrain...
post #11 of 25
You were about 5 days too late... Check out my TR titled Heavenly / Kirkwood 2/23-3/1. We had 30"+ the weekend before you were there. Sorry. Kirkwood is an amazing place.
post #12 of 25
I was out in Tahoe from 2/22-3/2. The conditions were amazing. We had a storm as mentioned in the above post and then during the week the temps warmed up and not a cloud was to be seen until Sat 3/1! The funny thing about Tahoe is that a cycle like that is the norm....

Heavenly is notorious for the crowds and flat traverses not to mention cost!

A ticket at Alpine is $58.

Tahoe is the bomb!
post #13 of 25
I'll forget the fact that the airlines lost all our luggage then found it, then dumped it in front of our hotel...in the middle of the night..and drove away, so all my stuff got stolen, and I had to rent boots, goggles, gloves, etc. And our room had no heat...
I did find Heavenly to be kind of boring..now if it wasn't a frozen wasteland I could have had a good time skiing some pow, but it wasn't and I didn't. Now Squaw, despite the fact that it was even more frozen had enough stupid steep groomers to keep us busy and on our toes..lest we end up on our heads, as some people where. That is an amazing place and in my little opinion..crazier than Jackson, at least the inbounds area. It was tough to stare out at all those acres and only be able to stick to the groomers. The last time I was there it rained and was so foggy you could barely see a thing, not good at that place for sure.
So both my trips out there where not exactly stellar..and where pretty expensive. It's why I go to Utah.
And don't fly American Airlines if you don't have to.....they just suck!!!!
post #14 of 25
1. Bad surface conditions can make a trip stink anywhere (I've had bad days in LCC, too)-it sucks when it happens but it's the unfortunate luck of the draw in winter sports. Timing is often everything.

2. Guys, when the conditions are good heavenly is awesome. not just good, awesome. There are so many exposures and different areas to ski in on that mountain-it has absolutely great (Great!) tree skiing. Mott canyon is great! And There are legendary great bump runs all over the mountain-I love finishing the day back to the bar on Gunbarrel.

3. Crowds-yeah the base area gets crowded--but no worse than the bottom of the mountain road at squaw (the persistent buzz-kill after each glorious kt-22 run!). Frankly, once you fan out and get in the trees or on the more challenging terrain-like every other resort of this size the crowds become negligible, an the good skiers become your main on--hill company.

As far as rude service--the rudiest on-mountain workforce I've dealt with was at Vail and Breckenridge, I wouldn't say that Heavenly sets any standard for courtesy but I haven't ever registered any overt rudeness or unpleasantness either.

And for rude fellow skiers boarders-all larger destination resorts seem to draw their fair share of punks-heavenly is no different-but i'm not there to make new friends anyway.
post #15 of 25
-1 --> I agree but the dude's obviously made up his mind and has a mental block at this point.

He was hungover on the trip - like that, only cure is the hair of the dog, but whatever, he's tarred his opinion of the place now.
post #16 of 25
I agree with the OP's criticism of Heavenly, but it is unfair to paint all of Tahoe with a broad brush. I was in Tahoe from February 10-17 this year. I skied 7 resorts in 6 days - Alpine, Rose, Squaw, Northstar, Homewood, Heavenly and Kirkwood - so I have a good basis for comparison. (I skied Homewood in the morning on a Friday and skied Heavenly the same afternoon.) It had been about two weeks since there had been significant snow and it was warm, so conditions were spring-like. The conditions were similar at all of the resorts, although it seemed that Northstar had the best grooming. I believe the problem with Heavenly is its location - its close to the casinos and large hotels so it gets the most crowds. On the Friday I was there, Heavenly was jammed with people bouncing into each other on the trails, in the lift lines and in the lodge. None of the other resorts had any lines to speak of during the week I was there. Even Kirkwood on the Saturday I was there was less crowded than Heavenly on Friday. I agree that the layout is not skier friendly, too. I mistakenly got stuck having to take the Galaxy lift (the slowest chair I have been on in years) while rushing to catch the lift back to the CA side where I had parked.
post #17 of 25
I'll chime in on Heavenly.
1. Lodges overcrowded - true. I thought food was better than average for on-mountain food (which is unfortunately damning with faint praise).
2. Getting around. Horrid. Long traverses, crowded only-one-way-to-get there trails (think California trail), slow shuttles, long gondola rides, etc. Probably the worst thing about Heavenly.
3. Crowds. Actually not bad. Hard to get on the mountain, and a few other bottlenecks, but good afterwards. The good terrain (Mott, Face, Gunbarrel bumps) was pretty empty. The fact that it is not known as an experts mountain means everyone comes for the blues.
4. South Lake Tahoe. We spent 1/2 hour total in the casinos, but having a level, warmer, walkable town so close to all that snow was great. Nice bars/restaurants/shops. Lake is closeby for non-diehards in the group.
And it is not that far to the rest of Tahoe -- boat to Squaw (if i recall correctly), drive to the others.
post #18 of 25
I skied at Heavenly for 5 days. It hadn't snowed for 14 days before it snowed when I was at Squaw after 3 days of skiing at Heavenly. When I came back, the only pow pow I could find was in Ski Way Glades. Then the next day it snowed 8-10 inches and it was awesome. But let's compare the first three days of icy eastern like skiing to your day:

1) Mott Canyon= All empty maybe saw 3-5 people there after 3 runs. It made the canyon so empty that it gave a sickly and sweet ass feeling.
2) Killebrew Canyon= I didn't do it, but you could try Stateline Chute there.
3) Gunbarrel Area= Sweet ass bumps
4) Stagecoach Area= The time of your life. I think Stagecoach Woods is fun even with all the ice.

I luv Heavenly. It's a fun mountain.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by coreyb View Post
hopefully you weren't at squaw or alpine this past sat and sun cause if so i will call you insane... conditions sucked... nothing but boring groomers were ski-able... i was only in tahoe for the weekend and the skiing was a complete bust... alpine and squaw on a good day must be completely epic tho... especially squaw... such amazing terrain...
Well I skied at Squaw on Friday and Alpine on Saturday and found tons of ungroomed great runs. Squaw - GS Bowl was awesome. Pure chalk and mid-Winter snow. North Face off of the Headwall had even better snow and awesome bumps. Sun Bowl had awesome corn and soft bumps in the morning. I heard Granite Chief was also quite good, but we never got over there Alpine - Sun Bowl and Sherwood was pure sweet corn all morning. We found awesome snow in Yellow Gully and the runs below High Yellow Face as well as Palisades. I will admt that we hit some pretty awful snow in Beaver Bowl, but there was tons of good snow if you played the sun.

Call me insane, but if you couldn't find good snow at Squaw and Alpine that weekend, you weren't looking very hard. It was only my 2nd day at Squaw and first time ever at Alpine and I managed to find great snow...
post #20 of 25
I just re-read my post, and it comes off wrong.

I loved Heavenly. The good stuff skskskier mentions more than makes up for the very real problems. I do hope to ski the rest of Tahoe someday, though.
post #21 of 25
Heavenly is the West Coast's K-mart.

Should have headed to N. Tahoe. Better skiing and a better vibe.
post #22 of 25
Is heavenly up there for most crowded mountain west of the Mississippi?
post #23 of 25
I'll back you up on your indictment of Heavenly.

We lived in the Bay Area for seven years, and I hate Heavenly. Crowded. Poorly laid out. Bad food. Bad lodges. South Lake Tahoe is kind of a boring armpit, if you're not much of a gambler (I'm not) and don't like smoky, old casinos. And just luck-wise, I think the place has built in bad luck. My two worst (and I mean BAD, with epic stories-- think helping people with bleeding head injuries, lost snowboards, getting poured on by rain, that sort of thing) ski days happened at Heavenly.

Kirkwood = LOVE. I miss it sometimes.
Squaw (on a non-holiday weekday) = LOVE
Alpine = LOVE

Tahoe can be great (if you know how to avoid horrible traffic getting there from somewhere else). Really great. Just not Heavenly. I had enough bad days there that I will probably never go back. Although the views, especially on the Nevada side, IMO, are. . . well. . . heavenly.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by mollmeister View Post
Although the views, especially on the Nevada side, IMO, are. . . well. . . heavenly.
Especially in Mott Canyon lol I feel like I'm skiing DOWN INTO THE DESERT lol
post #25 of 25
yeah the Nevada side is pretty interesting. It seems like its sharper drops and there is that strange beautiful view of desert vs snow in the mountains. It looks like the mountain goes on and on to the Nevada plateau.
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