I will be skiing at Heavenly for three days, Thursday - Saturday and have never skied there before. My husband thinks we should try to ski at another resort one of the three days that we are there. Is there a shuttle that could take us to another resort from Heavenly? Would it be worth it to ski somewhere else for a day? Or should we just stay at Heavenly and explore it as thoroughly as we can for three days?
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First time skiing Heavenly, January 19 - 23 - Questions
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What is you and your husband's ability? Heavenly while having its tougher trails is known as an easier mountain then say, Kirkwood or Squaw. I would recommend at least a day in Squaw though if you can make it. Not sure about shuttles so if you do not have a car I would just stay at Heavenly.
We were in Lake Tahoe for a week a couple of years ago and stayed at the Marriott Timber Lodge at the gondola base. We skied Heavenly for four days, Homewood for one and Squaw for one. If I went back I would also check out Alpine Meadows, Kirkwood and do Squaw another day. Heavenly was a lot of fun though....just got a little bored after multiple days.
Kirkwood and Sierra at Tahoe are nearby. Both offer a very different experience from Heavenly. I think you can find lots to keep you interested at Heavenly, but its a large resort and takes a while to get an understanding of the area. Some people complain about the traverses, but in reality, Heavenly is a single mountain made of of several distinct areas. The trick is to ski in an area long enough to get to know it and enjoy it, rather than to travel back and forth from California to Nevada. The sub-areas of Heavenly are California: Face/Gunbarrel; California Sky/Canyon/Powderhorn, Nevada Comet/Dipper/Gondola, Nevada Mott/Killebrew, Nevada North bowl/Olympic/Stagecoach. Ski each as their own area, and move infrequently between those areas and you will have a good time. Try to constantly change between areas (i.e. ski the whole mountain) and you risk leaving frustrated. There are several places to ski that are accessible by gates. Nice secret if you can find it.
Kirkwood has excellent expert terrain and can challenge the best skiers. It also has some nice cruising. If heavy weather is threatening, both Kirkwood and Heavenly will have upper lift closures, go to Sierra where you can have a range of expert to intermediate runs, and lots of tree-skiing in between. .
I was in Heavenly Last year. Absolutely loved it and I hope you do to. The views are amazing. Anyway if you do decide to go to other mountains, the entire Tahoe region has shuttle service to and from every ski resort leaving from one of the casions near the Heavenly base. When you get there ask you concierge for the shuttle time booklet or phamplet thing, (they are pretty easy to come by). It has listed times for departure and pickup for every mountain in the area. Hope that helps.
If you do no know Heavenly very well it is often difficult for expert skiers to find good terrain. Squaw and kirkwood are a very obvious mountain to navigate the first time you are there. Shoot me a PM when you get here if you want to do some runs at Heavenly. I'm there most Saturdays and mid-week powder days.
Thanks so much! Cirquerider - good information to know. I've been hearing bad stuff about the traverses and there's nothing I hate more than "poling." Big man - We will definitely look into the shuttle service...staying at Harvey's. Bullhorn...we my just take you up on the offer to do a few runs together! You can show us some of the secret staches if there aren't freshies. We love to ski the trees too! I'll PM you as we get closer to the date!
Sounds like you are in good hands but the trek from South Shore to Squaw or Alpine is a lengthy one (plan on an hour and Mother Nature can have a big say as to how long it actually takes). But I have to ask; if you are really experts why are you going to Heavenly? Unless you want the casinos you may be better served staying on the North Shore and skiing Squaw, the Chutes at Mt Rose and perhaps Alpine?
We have never skied anywhere in Tahoe. My son goes to Las Vegas frequently and got us free rooms at Harveys, so we thought we'd ski at Heavenly. We may very well be bored there. If they have good tree skiing like they say they do, we can find some staches of good snow. If we get bored, we probably will look into going to one of the other resorts. My son and his wife are snowboarders and are intermediates, so even if the runs aren't challenging for us, we will just enjoy the scenery (I heard it's breathtaking) and the company. Thanks for all the information. We may have to make this trip again and head for one of the other resorts!
Be sure to see the reviews and resort information for Heavenly and other resorts in the area you may be interested in. Ask around about how to access the Firebreak trees from Olympic, and look for some hidden stashes off the side of the North Bowl area. If the snow is good, you won't be bored at all. Mott and Killebrew Canyons have more than enough challenge, and anyone who skis the Face and Gunbarrel better have good knees and a great sense of running moguls.
As I suggested above minimize transits between areas of the mountain and even the snowboarders won't complain. Heavenly has fixed the grade on the worst of the traverse roads (Sky Express to Comet) and do not get sucked into going to Stagecoach via the lake by the lodge at the bottom of Comet/Dipper. I would also not go into the Galaxy area which is a dead-end beginner/intermediate area adjacent to Motts Canyon served by a slow lift.
- First time skiing Heavenly, January 19 - 23 - Questions
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