I checked another Tahoe ski resort off my list last weekend. Surprisingly, I had never skied Heavenly, although it is perhaps the most popular ski resort in Lake Tahoe. Besides its terrain, part of Heavenly’s draw is its proximity to hotels and casinos. Interestingly, the resort straddles the California-Nevada border, which I didn’t know.
We arrived Friday night at the vacation home we were renting, unloaded our bags and drove to the Heavenly village at South Lake Tahoe to eat at Fire and Ice. The high-end Mongolian barbecue restaurant sets out fresh vegetables, meat and seafood (shrimp, mahi-mahi, tuna and scallops) to choose from. At the grill, two guys do tricks while grilling each person’s selections to perfection.
The next day, I went to rent gear, waiting in line for roughly an hour at one of Heavenly’s sport shops. An employee said it was their busiest day of the year at the rental shop. I asked him about conditions on the mountain, and he said there was a light dusting of snow on the mountain. With my K2s in hand, we rode the gondola from the middle of the village to the mid-mountain area. My friend wanted to go down a green run, the Big Easy, which was crowded with beginners. We did a few runs there, and then rode up the Tamarack Express to the California Trail, an easy blue.
With 4,800 acres, spanning two states, it’s easy to get lost at Heavenly. I accidentally stayed on the California Trail, a long traverse to the base of the Sky Express, and became separated from my friends. After consulting my trail map, I discovered the best way back was to ride the Sky Express to the Skyline Trail. From the Skyline Trail, skiers can glimpse amazing views of Lake Tahoe. Even foggy, the panorama was spectacular. I looped across the mountain on Skyline to the Nevada side and took Big Dipper, a blue run, to reunite with my friends.
Tired from the morning’s excursions, we stopped for lunch at the East Peak Lodge. Again the lines were l-o-o-o-ng. My cheeseburger tasted delicious, especially with all the toppings (sautéed mushrooms and red onions). After chowing down, we had enough time to take some runs down Orion before catching the gondola to return to the base.
On Sunday, I took the opportunity to explore the mountain, from Perimeter–a blue, which runs along the Nevada edge of the resort–to the Ridge Trail, a blue that marks the furthest reaches of the California side. We stayed away from the black runs, because the snow cover looked thin. But the snow in the forecast should make the resort’s conditions, well, heavenly.Visit my blog for more trip reports (I focus on Lake Tahoe resorts).