Heavenly Ski Resort

Heavenly Ski Resort stands out among Lake Tahoe ski areas for its expansive terrain, long ski runs, and picturesque location. The 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley made Lake Tahoe skiing world famous. Today, the Lake Tahoe region has resorts for every type of skier and many other types of entertainment, including music, gambling, and fine dining.

Heavenly Mountain Resort competes with Squaw Valley for the title of largest ski area in California. It ranks number one at Lake Tahoe for highest elevation (10,040 feet), vertical rise (3,500 feet), and longest run (5.5 miles). Unusually, Heavenly Ski Area is actually divided by a state border, with base lodges in both Nevada and California. (Most visitors start in California, so beginning in Nevada can be a good way to avoid the crowds.)

Heavenly Mountain Resort has some great expert ski terrain at Mott Canyon and the Nevada side and Gunbarrel and East Bowl on the California side — these runs seem to drop straight down into Lake Tahoe through ladders of moguls. Much of the Heavenly ski Lake Tahoe terrain is more suitable for advanced and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. The Milky Way Bowl on the Nevada side of Heavenly Mountain is especially suitable for advanced intermediates.

Adventurous skiers will find some good tree skiing between the intermediate slopes at Heavenly Ski Area, but beware: this is the mountain where pop star cum congressman Sonny Bono lost his life in 1998 after colliding with a tree. 

Heavenly Mountain Resort does offer private and group lessons, but this is not a mountain for beginners — novice terrain is extremely limited. However, you can get special Tahoe Interchangeable tickets that give multi-day access to Heavenly, Kirkwood, Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, and other Lake Tahoe resorts, so Heavenly might be a good place to come with a few days skiing under your belt.

Snowboarders may also be dissatisfied with Heavenly ski Lake Tahoe unless they enjoy some nice powder-filled chutes. There are plenty of steep runs, powdery canyons, and fresh tracks in the woods, but the terrain parks and halfpipes are pretty limited. The best runs at Heavenly Mountain often require a little traversing too, which can be irritating for snowboarders.

Heavenly Ski Area has good snow making capabilities, about 70% of the mountain is covered. The lifts are generally new and fast; there is also a gondola and an aerial tram. But the best part of the Heavenly ski Lake Tahoe experience is probably the incredible views. The panorama from the top of Sky Express has been called the most awesome view from any ski summit in the world. A photographer is on hand to snap your picture here.

Heavenly Mountain is about 75 minutes from Reno, which has an international airport, and about 8 hours drive from Los Angeles. There is no slopeside lodging, but you’ll find some good accommodation within walking distance of the life. Some hotels on the Nevada side have their own casino. Hotels like Harrah’s Lake Tahoe are a good place to stay to combine the challenge of a ski vacation with the excitement of a Las Vegas trip.

That is the good thing about a Heavenly ski Lake Tahoe trip: it can be about so much more than just the great skiing.

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