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I loved Snowmass for 4 days - Will I love Heavenly for 4 days?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Was in Snowmass/Aspen last April for a week and spent 4 of 7 days on-hill @ Snowmass. I'm an advanced skiier who prefers blue & black groomers with some bumps and off-piste thrown in. Really enjoyed the size and variety of Snowmass but had skiied it all by end of 3rd day, and 4 days was enough.

How does Heavenly compare to Snowmass in terms of skiable terrain acreage/area? How many days to fully ski Heavenly. Would venture in Mott/Killebrew out of curiosity but it's not a main concern for me.

THANKS!
post #2 of 26
Only have one day at Heavenly but it's comparable in size. If you're set on Heavenly I think you'll have a good time. If it's in April then snow conditions could be quite variable.
post #3 of 26
There is a lot of talk about Heavenly in this thread:

How heavenly is it really?

JF
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 007 View Post
Would venture in Mott/Killebrew out of curiosity but it's not a main concern for me.
Before an advanced intermediate (which I believe your calling yourself) attempts Mott/Killebrew Canyon:

1) Know that Gate 4 and 5 are the easiest ways down Mott Canyon. Gate 4 is in the trees but in the low 30s degrees, yet with a very steep section in the end that is two bumps wide at about 40 degrees. Gate 5 is the liftline and in the mid-high 30s all the way down. The whole canyon is filled with bumps.

2) The easiest ways down Killebrew Canyon are as hard as the hardest ways down Mott Canyon. The hardest ways down Killebrew Canyon are some of the hardest in the Tahoe area! So sometimes it's not best to ski here at your level...

IMO, I think you should avoid the canyons if you go there. Or at least know you're ready! Because:

So my sister and I are skiing Motts. We enter Gate 6, which is the Gate offering the biggest variety of terrain IMO. We head on the ridge on top to reach somewhat close to the boundary of the canyon. The area was very exposed... and well.. there was a bunch of tree stumps and then there was a fall... not until 200 feet farther down the run did she stop! As with any run in Motts, falls can be pretty fatal! If you don't think you're ready, don't attempt.
post #5 of 26
I'm a Heavenly fan-but, if your and advanced intermediate...I think you might find if frustrating. Compared to Snowmass, the intermediate and advanced 'cruising terrain at heavenly gets way, way more crowded. The lift to lift shuffle to access the really good terrain of Mott's, etc can be a drag of wedge-turning humanity as well.

That said, the place is big (skis Big just like snowmass), the tree runs, when in good condition, are excellent. there are hundreds of worthy nook and cranny runs to seek out. There's a day worth of Fun to be Had in Mott's Canyon (that one lonely lift is never crowded) and if it's open, Kilibrew Canyon, and an afternoon of sunny fun hammering the big bumps of Gunbarrel is a Tahoe-must IMHO.

But, were I there for 4 day, I'd only ski once, maybe twice, at Heavenly-there is so much to get out of tahoe and getting around to the other resorts is pretty easy. Heavenly (especially if you like the resort stuff) is a fine home base, but I'd plan on a day at Squaw, Alpine, Kirkwood (and, when you get sick crowds...Mt. Rose).

Just a thought.
post #6 of 26
try and find the kirkwood and squaw buses from south lake.

i like heavenly, but i have skied all of tahoe; so heavenly is just convenient, great location and has enough challenges to keep me coming back.

i wouldnt ski 4 days at heavenly if i'm not a tahoe regular.
post #7 of 26
Not to be a party pooper, but how in "heaven" could anyone compare Snowmass and Heavenly?????? Two totally different mountains, Snowmass being better by far.

I hate the traverses at Heavenly, it is not tough enough (don't know Motts nor Killebrew, but did go down, pretty easilly, The Face, with my then 7 y/o champ, and wifey!!!!).

Everything about Snowmass is better, and don't believe that the views of Lake Tahoe outdo those of the Aspen mountains.

Jus my 2 pennies. Cheers!
post #8 of 26
I have not been to snowmass, but have been to heavenly twice. I agree that it is a fun resort to stay and ski a couple of days at. Both times did a day trip once to Kirkwood and once to Squaw. Both were really fun and you can take a bus or a riverboat cruise to squaw, and do a combo lift/ transport deal.
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gpaul View Post
I hate the traverses at Heavenly, it is not tough enough (don't know Motts nor Killebrew, but did go down, pretty easilly, The Face, with my then 7 y/o champ, and wifey!!!!).
um yeahhh:

1) The Face is VERY easy compared to the other double blacks!
2) The Face has 1/2 the size bumps of Gunbarrel and is two-three times as wide
3) You said they made it down pretty easily... but did they ski it well?
4) 20-25 degrees bump run over about 400 vertical (The Face) to a 35-45 degree canyon full of narrow, 5-10 foot wide chutes over 1000+ vertical (Mott Canyon). As for Killebrew Canyon, add another 10 degrees and mandatory cliffs with the steepest terrain in Tahoe.
5) The Face is a bump run, and presenting a different challenge than Motts
6) Ski Heavenly again and make sure to ski Mott Canyon!

Just to add pics:

The Face:

(this next one, only the top part before it splits off is The Face. Notice the huge comparison in steepness between Gunbarrel's headwall and The Face.



Mott Canyon:



just to show how steep Mott's is, see this next pic. it's the view from mott's but look at the slope in the bottom right.



Sorry, just had to say that there is a huge comparison in challenge between the two runs and that Heavenly has tons to offer in terms of challenge!
post #10 of 26

Heavenly

Skied Tahoe for 30 plus years. One of the nice things is Kirkwood is 45 min away and you can go to N Shore and ski Squaw, Alpine, Sugarbowl. Ski one a day and you will not get bored.
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiking4 View Post
um yeahhh:

1) The Face is VERY easy compared to the other double blacks!
2) The Face has 1/2 the size bumps of Gunbarrel and is two-three times as wide
3) You said they made it down pretty easily... but did they ski it well?
4) 20-25 degrees bump run over about 400 vertical (The Face) to a 35-45 degree canyon full of narrow, 5-10 foot wide chutes over 1000+ vertical (Mott Canyon). As for Killebrew Canyon, add another 10 degrees and mandatory cliffs with the steepest terrain in Tahoe.
5) The Face is a bump run, and presenting a different challenge than Motts
6) Ski Heavenly again and make sure to ski Mott Canyon!

Just to add pics:

The Face:

(this next one, only the top part before it splits off is The Face. Notice the huge comparison in steepness between Gunbarrel's headwall and The Face.



Mott Canyon:



just to show how steep Mott's is, see this next pic. it's the view from mott's but look at the slope in the bottom right.



Sorry, just had to say that there is a huge comparison in challenge between the two runs and that Heavenly has tons to offer in terms of challenge!
You beat me to it! Again, if your looking for expansive groomer cruiser terrain, snowmass tops heavenly in quantity and quality (though, heavenly has plenty of it-it doesn't ski as well in terms of crowds and cross overs!). But the true expert terrain of Heavenly is as good as anywhere in Tahoe (and more challenging and interesting than ANYTHING at snowmass), and there is an ample amount of that terrain. But like folks are saying, the real bonus of a Tahoe trip is getting to ski all those other great resorts from the convenient home base of South Lake Tahoe.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the feedback. I just booked a trip for the last week of March 2009 staying in Reno with a compact car rental with 3 days at Squaw, 2 at Heavenly and 1 at either Northstar or Meadows.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 007 View Post
Thanks for all the feedback. I just booked a trip for the last week of March 2009 staying in Reno with a compact car rental with 3 days at Squaw, 2 at Heavenly and 1 at either Northstar or Meadows.
What no Kirkwood?? I went to Tahoe last year and skied Heavenly 2x, Northstar, Squaw, Kirkwood and another small place I can't remember (closest to Reno, Meadows?)

Did Motts & Killebrew and that was fun, but the rest of it was a zoo. Kirkwood was my fav by far. Really great terrain you could poke around in nice chutes and the best snow in the area. Definitely try to add Kirkwood to your itinerary
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 007 View Post
Thanks for all the feedback. I just booked a trip for the last week of March 2009 staying in Reno with a compact car rental with 3 days at Squaw, 2 at Heavenly and 1 at either Northstar or Meadows.
Squaw will be very nice then, I assume. Heavenly would be okay, not too great as probably it's expert canyons and backcountry might not be skiable. And for that single day, do Kirkwood! Those are the 3 best resorts in Tahoe.
post #15 of 26
Kirkwood's nice, but it's a haul from Reno. IMHO Squaw has best expert terrain in LT.
post #16 of 26
How do the crowds compare at the different LT places?

I'm going to be in South LT (by the Heavenly Gondola) for 4 days President's week.

Thinking of 2 at Heavenly and 2 at Kirkwood (a bus is available if my wife wants to keep the rental car).
The boat to Squaw is another option -- its appealing for the surrealism of the process.

(I was in Heavenly the same week 5 years ago, and found a few really bad choke points to get around the mountain, but essentially no lines on the parts of the mountain I was actually skiing).
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
IMHO Squaw has best expert terrain in LT.
No doubt, and it's not even a close contest! Just, everyone thinks Heavenly has no good expert terrain which is easily a NOOO!!! While Squaw has Far East trees, KT-22, Granite Chief, Headwall, Palisades... it far outmatches Heavenly. But, Heavenly does have the steepest runs in LT (Killebrew Canyon) and you can spend days in the 2 canyons and not get bored. Not to mention the extensive tree skiing and the Gunbarrel runs.

But yes, Squaw pwns every LT resort in expert terrain.

IMO:
Experts: Squaw > Kirkwood > Heavenly
Advanced: Squaw = Heavenly > Kirkwood
Intermediate: Heavenly > Squaw > Kirkwood
Beginner: Kirkwood = Squaw > Heavenly
Crowds: Kirkwood > Squaw > Heavenly
Trees: Heavenly > Squaw = Kirkwood
Powder: Squaw = Kirkwood > Heavenly
Getting around: Kirkwood > Squaw = Heavenly (it's annoying w/o a trail map at Squaw, I find. But if you know the place, than Squaw is easier to get around.)
Price: Kirkwood > Heavenly > Squaw
Views: Heavenly > Squaw > Kirkwood
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
How do the crowds compare at the different LT places?

I'm going to be in South LT (by the Heavenly Gondola) for 4 days President's week.

Thinking of 2 at Heavenly and 2 at Kirkwood (a bus is available if my wife wants to keep the rental car).
The boat to Squaw is another option -- its appealing for the surrealism of the process.

(I was in Heavenly the same week 5 years ago, and found a few really bad choke points to get around the mountain, but essentially no lines on the parts of the mountain I was actually skiing).
mdf, There's really no significant difference in crowds; all the mountains have their choke points (not the least of which is squaw valley, by the way - so if you're thinking you are getting away from crowds there, think again, you aren't in the slightest). So you will be fine with 2 days at heavenly and 2 at kirkwood (bus - which requires advance reservation - avoids driving/parking/chains/ice issues out that way). The biggest mistake people make in coming to LT on short trips is trying to mix north and south shore resorts. It can be done, but is not logistically easy, and not worth it IMO.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevescho View Post
The biggest mistake people make in coming to LT on short trips is trying to mix north and south shore resorts. It can be done, but is not logistically easy, and not worth it IMO.
My vacation during President's weekend: 5 days at Heavenly, 2 days at Squaw. Perfectly fine with mixing north and south shores!
post #20 of 26
That's too bad 007.

You were strugling there and I was sure you would choose the right options and head back to Snowmass.....

It's okay it's just money and your disapointment should wane sometime in June......
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by thexcop View Post
That's too bad 007.

You were strugling there and I was sure you would choose the right options and head back to Snowmass.....

It's okay it's just money and your disapointment should wane sometime in June......
You are no longer my friend. Tahoe owns, Ass-pen my ass. Good choice 007!
post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
I hated Aspen Mountain - totally overrated unless you're a bumper. Nowonder celebs love it - all the black diamond groomers are barely blues IMO. Highlands was OK. Snowmass is a very good overall mountain, and for me just below W/B, Lake Louise and Vail for overall terrain quality/variety. Honestly can't be bothered to schlep it all the way to Kirkwood for 1 day when I get in WAY more vertical on quality cruisers @ Northstar. My travel partner is a snowboarder who is good/fast but avoids trees, so groomers are a priority. I can explore off-piste @ Squaw and in Mott/Killebraw if I want the other days.

QUESTION: chances of needing chains last week of March in Tahoe in an average year are.........????????

Am staying in Reno BTW

Thanks.
post #23 of 26

Bored

Quote:
Originally Posted by 007 View Post
I hated Aspen Mountain - totally overrated unless you're a bumper. Nowonder celebs love it - all the black diamond groomers are barely blues IMO. Highlands was OK. Snowmass is a very good overall mountain, and for me just below W/B, Lake Louise and Vail for overall terrain quality/variety. Honestly can't be bothered to schlep it all the way to Kirkwood for 1 day when I get in WAY more vertical on quality cruisers @ Northstar. My travel partner is a snowboarder who is good/fast but avoids trees, so groomers are a priority. I can explore off-piste @ Squaw and in Mott/Killebraw if I want the other days.

QUESTION: chances of needing chains last week of March in Tahoe in an average year are.........????????



Am staying in Reno BTW

Thanks.

I can harly believe you were bored with Snowmass after 3 days, I lived near Aspen for 20 years and between Ajax, Snowmass and Highlands I never was bored. Did you ski Highlands bowl or Temerity at Highlands? The Wall or Hanging Valley Glades at Snowmass? Agreed that you have to like to ski bumps to really enjoy Ajax, but there are some of the greatest pure lines on that mountain.
post #24 of 26
Heavenly is a lot like Keystone.

It's a mountain that the vast majority of hardcore skiers like to diss.

This is because they don't know their way around the mountain.

True, Heavenly can be one giant clusterf@#K, but that's only if you stick to the main California runs and don't know where to go.

If you can connect with somebody who knows the mountain, then you can find all kinds of good, challenging stuff (I love the folks that posted about how Heavenly sucks and isn't tough enough, yet they failed to ski Mott's or Kilibrew or even the North Face trees...nice!).

I'm not saying that Heavenly is my favorite mountain in Tahoe by a longshot (I tend to frequent North Shore, specifically Alpine Meadows and Sugarbowl), but there's some decent terrain at Heavenly if you know where to look and how to avoid the gaper crowds.

PS
Next time you're in Aspen you need to ride Highlands. That mountain rocks (admittedly I haven't skied the other 3 in Aspen, but I would return to Highlands in a heartbeat...mucho challenging terrain and it reminded me a lot of Snowbird and Taos in terms of the steep vertical options).
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
If you can connect with somebody who knows the mountain, then you can find all kinds of good, challenging stuff (I love the folks that posted about how Heavenly sucks and isn't tough enough, yet they failed to ski Mott's or Kilibrew or even the North Face trees...nice!).
What is the North Face trees?

BTW, my favorite spot for pow pow is the trees in between Stagecoach chair and Boulder chair. I once was skiing knee deep powder first tracks there THE LAST TWO HOURS OF THE DAY! If you want the location named more exact: ski down Stagecoach woods and ski right across Olympic Downhill into the unmarked woods. Stay along this ridge, you'll notice, before then descending to your right (to the Stagecoach chair for an express back up).
post #26 of 26
heavenly is not that bad at all. main problem is crowds on weekends/holidays. i like squaw, kirkwood, a lot but this year i ended up getting heavenly pass. main reason being that i go up on the weekdays (mon/wed) and it is awesome. last year i did quite a bit of northstar and i liked it at first but it get boring very quickly, i might go back few times this year as i heard that lookout got an express lift. squaw is great because it is of i-80 so much faster to get there from SF, but $1800 season pass blows, so i ended up with heavenly ($359) and just booked trip to Co in january since i will get 50% off at all vail resorts there. looking forward to that a lot.

back to topic i think you will enjoy LT there is plenty of things to do there even besided skining nice place

have fun

dz
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