Heavenly Ski Resort Rating
Total Ratings = 11
Ratings sum = 41
Heavenly Ski Resort Statistics
Heavenly Ski Resort
Heavenly’s abundant snowfall and sunshine paired with an expansive network of lifts, terrain and trails and 24-hour nightlife makes Heavenly one of North America’s great ski destinations. Heavenly boasts Lake Tahoe's highest elevation, biggest vertical and largest snowmaking system, but it’s the view of Lake Tahoe you’ll remember long after your goggle-tan fades.
Nestled in the south-eastern corner of Lake Tahoe, straddling the border between Nevada and California, Heavenly is appropriately named as it enjoys around 300 days of sun each year, not to mention 360 inches (914 cm) of snowfall. Also, as the only major resort on the shore of Lake Tahoe itself, the views are truly breath-taking – you’ll think you have died and gone to Heaven!
Founded in 1955 with just one lift and two rope tows, Heavenly today has 30 lifts, spanning two states and over 4800 acres. Since 2002, Heavenly has been part of the large, and still growing, list of US mountains under Vail Resorts, along with Lake Tahoe neighbors Northstar and Kirkwood.
The main lift station is within walking distance of more than 5,000 lodging rooms and just minutes from star-studded nightlife, first-class restaurants and endless activities. And, if you like glitzy casinos, then Heavenly is definitely the place for you.
The ski season here starts in late October or early November and ends in early May. Peak season is from the end of December to mid-February, and low season November through mid-December and April.
Heavenly Ski Area The largest resort in the region and one of the largest in the US, Heavenly has 4,800 acres (1,943 ha) of skiable terrain offering something for every level of skier or snowboarder.
Discover the many sides of Heavenly, from the awe-inspiring scenic beauty and the heart-stopping Mott and Killebrew Canyons in Nevada to the gentle wide-open cruisers and beginner areas at California Base Lodge. With 4,800 acres (1,943 ha) of skiable terrain, plus the area’s highest elevation at 10,067 (3,068 m) feet and the longest vertical drop of 3,500 ft, there's something for every level of skier or snowboarder. Moreover, with an average 360 inches (914 cm) annual snowfall, boosted by the West Coast's largest artificial snowmaking system covering 70% of trails, there should be no concerns about lack of snow.
Beginners can enjoy the secluded beginner areas, intermediates the miles of wide-open cruisers and famous corduroy, and experts can take to the gladed runs, the backcountry experience in the canyons and the famous moguls of The Face and Gunbarrel. From the top of the Heavenly Gondola, skiers and snowboarders can ski or ride both the California and Nevada sides of the mountain or enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing or snowtubing at Heavenly's Adventure Peak. You need to return to the state from which you started out by 3:30 pm.
Heavenly Ski Lifts & Lift Passes
Heavenly is one of the largest ski areas in the United States with 30 mostly high-speed lifts carrying up to 49,600 riders per hour.
Heavenly has an extensive lift network with a large fleet of high-speed lifts spanning Nevada and California. In total there are 27 lifts, including the 8-person high-speed Heavenly Gondola, the 50-person Aerial Tram, two high-speed 6-passenger lifts, seven high-speed quads, one fixed-grip quad, six triple chairs, two doubles, two surfaces lift and five Magic Carpets. Lifts generally operate from Monday to Friday 9:00 am-4:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 8:30 am-4:00 pm, but make sure to check for seasonal changes
There are five access points to start your day and get on the hill. On the South Lake Tahoe / California side, the 8-person Heavenly Gondola connects Heavenly Village to the mountain, taking skiers and sightseers alike to an observation deck before finishing the 12-minute journey at nearly 3,000 feet (900 m) above the sparkling waters of the lake. 360° views of Lake Tahoe, Desolation Wilderness and Carson Valley are worth a stop at the observation deck at least once during your visit. Also on the California side, at the California Lodge, skiers can get to mid-mountain by taking either the 50-person Aerial Tramway or the Gunbarrel Express high-speed quad. On the Nevada side, skiers can choose to park at either the Stagecoach or the Boulder Lodge, although the Stagecoach parking area is larger and provides access to the Stagecoach Express quad.
For the quickest way to the upper portions of the mountain, intermediate and advanced skiers and riders should take the Heavenly Gondola or begin their day at the Stagecoach Lodge. Beginners should start their day at the California Lodge or Boulder Lodge.
Heavenly ski lift passes
Lift passes can be purchased at any of Heavenly's four base facilities: the Heavenly Gondola, California Base Lodge, Stagecoach Lodge and Boulder Lodge. There is a range of pricing alternatives, and it is a good idea to check the Heavenly website for current rates and special offers. As a Vail-owned resort, Heavenly also participates in the Epic Pass system.
Heavenly Beginner Skiing Although Heavenly does not have many beginner trails, the ones it does have are generally on the upper portion of the mountain, so beginners can enjoy an incredible view of Lake Tahoe just as more advanced skiers do.
Heavenly has the advantage that many of the beginner trails are on the upper portions of the mountain, so beginners can enjoy an incredible view of Lake Tahoe as well as of the whole ski area. Beginners have an exclusive secluded area near California Base Lodge, known as the Enchanted Forest. On the Nevada side, Boulder Bowl, right above the Boulder Lodge, is another beginner friendly area, and on the upper portion of the mountain, beginners can enjoy the Easy trails right next to Tamarack Lodge, as well as Maggie’s Trail off the Powderbowl Express.
Heavenly Intermediate Skiing The majority of Heavenly’s trails are designated Intermediate terrain, giving intermediate skiers vast access to Lake Tahoe’s largest resort and best views.
Heavenly is famous for wide-open cruisers and incredible corduroy, perfect for carving those early morning turns. Most of the blue trails are long cruisers, with stunning views of Lake Tahoe. Intermediates can access almost every area of the mountain.
For a great way to start the day, take the Sky Express quad, reachable from the top of the Heavenly Gondola, and cruise down Skyline Trail or Ridge Run, and take in the spectacular views of the Lake. The blues off the top of Dipper Express or Tamarack Express, including California Trail, Big Dipper are also fantastic. Olympic Downhill, which runs under the Olympic Express, is also a must-ski to either Stagecoach or Boulder Lodge.
Heavenly Advanced & Expert Skiing
Heavenly's expert terrain offers advanced skiers light, dry snow and gladed trails where powder stashes can be found days after a storm.
In California, black diamond trails Gunbarrel and The Face are famous for 1,700 vertical feet (510 m) of unrelenting moguls, while in Nevada, Mott and Killebrew canyons offer a true backcountry experience complete with double black diamond chutes, gladed runs and plenty of steeps!
As Lake Tahoe's highest resort, Heavenly is famous for its light, dry snow and the gladed trails where powder stashes can be found days after a storm. The best powder is normally found in Nevada on the Dipper woods and Aires woods, and the trees off Stagecoach and North Bowl. In California powder stashes are to be found in Powderbowl wood and Maggie's Canyon, Ridge Bowl and off of Liz’s run.
If you're a mogul fan, you could search your whole life and not find a better bump run than Gunbarrel. It's steep, it's long and, in a word, it's brutal. Take the tram to the top and prepare yourself for the leg-burn you're going to love to hate.
One of the favorite extreme adventures at Heavenly combines the best of pristine bowls, serene glade trails and hair-raising chutes. From the top of Sky Express, skiers and riders venture east into Nevada via the blue Skyline trail into Milky Way Bowl. The more adventurous will even take the 10-minute hike to the absolute top of the bowl. Few people know hiking is an option, so the 10-minute hike is worth the work, often yielding a few hundred vertical feet of untouched powder.
With wide-open northeastern exposure, the Milky Way Bowl offers some of the best and most consistent midwinter snow on the mountain. After several floating turns in the bowl, head east to the ridge line for some world-class tree skiing.
Killebrew Canyon, often the last area of the resort to open, especially on a powder day, is accessible through Gates A thru E and has eight marked runs, while Mott Canyon is entered through Gates 1-6 and has thirteen. It is possible to traverse through the Milky Bowl from Skyline trail to get to the top of Killebrew Canyon or take the Milky Way trail to Gate 1.
In either canyon, the south-facing runs will get crusty and hard in the afternoon sun, so best to get here closest to when the rope drops. In Killebrew, the most popular runs are Boulevard, Meadows and Pipeline, while The Fingers, Bonzai and Sharkeys offer the most heart-racing runs in the canyon. The exit from Killebrew is a long, non-snowboard friendly, traverse to the base of the Mott Canyon Lift. In Mott Canyon, the easier runs are Pine Nuts, Southern Comfort and the lift line, while the most challenging include Snake Eyes and Widowmaker.
Heavenly Backcountry & Off Piste Skiing Some backcountry skiing is available near Heavenly.
A few areas for backcountry skiing are Echo Lake and Echo Summit off Highway 50, and Taylor Creek on the west side of Highway 89. If you're going to go off-piste, contact the U.S. Forest Service at 530-573-2600 for maps, trail guides, safety guidelines and to check snow and weather conditions.
Heavenly Boarding & Freestyle
Snowboarders have free range of Heavenly's slopes as well as parks, pipes, rollers and slides.
There's snowboarding on 100 percent of the mountain, with three snowboard parks and a superpipe, two terrain parks complete with bank turns, table-tops, rollers, hits and rail slides, as well as a halfpipe. With the vast network of lifts, snowboarders can easily access everything.
Heavenly Mountain Restaurants
Restaurants on the Californian and Nevada sides of Heavenly Resort cater to all tastes. There are 10 mountain restaurants covering just about every palate.
On the California side, the Cal Lodge has daily lunch specials and a salad bar, and the Cal Bar features cocktails, beer and wine, main dishes and live music. Booyah’s, in Lakeview Lodge near the top of the aerial tram and Gunbarrel Express lift, offers burgers and brews, while nearby Steins offers Bavarian-style sausages and pretzels. Sky Deck, at the base of the Sky Express, features a large outdoor deck and bar. Tamarack Lodge, the newest and definitely most impressive lodge on the hill, is a great place to meet-up with a large group for food and drinks.
On the Nevada side, East Peak Lodge also has a large outdoor deck and is a local’s favorite, while you can also grab a snack at Stagecoach and Boulder Lodges.
Heavenly ski resort was established in the 1950s; the Village was opened in December 2002.
Heavenly ski resort began in the 1950s and has changed ownership several times. Each new owner has had pioneering ideas that have made the resort grow from a couple of tow-ropes and a run of about 1,000 feet (300 m) to the present-day Heavenly. The developments on the mountain inevitably led to the boom in Stateline casinos and top celebrity shows.
A major redevelopment project, the Village at Heavenly was unveiled in December 2002. With the Gondola as the centerpiece, the new pedestrian, alpine-themed village includes two Marriott properties with almost 800 luxury rooms and suites, retail space galore, an outdoor ice-skating rink and multiplex cinema. Just a few steps from the Village at Heavenly, you'll find star-studded nightlife, headline entertainment and 24-hour fun at the Nevada casinos.
Heavenly Bars & Restaurants
The Summit Restaurant and Altitude at Harrah's, Club Nero at Caesar's and Christiana Inn are all popular with Heavenly skiers.
There are more than 150 restaurants on the south side of Lake Tahoe. The Summit Restaurant at Harrah's has an extensive wine list. It's also rated as one of the top 100 restaurants in the United States. Club Nero at Caesar's and Altitude at Harrah's feature dancing late into the night, or if you like a slower, quieter setting you can enjoy drinks by the fire at the Christiana Inn near the California Base Lodge, or at the Riva Grill at Ski Run Marina.
We highly recommend 19 Kitchen-Bar on the 19th floor of Harvey's Casino. Stunning views of the lake compliment an interesting and innovative menu. Steaks, fish and chops are all outstanding, but the real not-to-miss dish is the cotton candy and glaze-your-own donuts dessert.
Heavenly's expensive restaurants
Llewellyn's in Harvey's Casino
Riva Grill, Ski Run Marina
Evans, South Lake Tahoe
Christiana Inn, South Lake Tahoe
The Forest Buffet at Harrah's
19 Kitchen-Bar on the 19th floor of Harvey's Casino
Heavenly's moderately price restaurants
Cantina Bar & Grill, South Lake Tahoe
The Forest Buffet at Harrah's
Heavenly's cheaper restaurants
Mott Canyon Tavern & Grill
Hard Rock Café in Harvey's Resort
Whether casinos, jazz clubs, bars or restaurants are your thing, Heavenly has it all and more. The California Bar on mountain at California Lodge features live music from Wednesday to Saturday and plenty of drink and appetizer specials. Spectacular casinos, jazz clubs, blues bars, and arcades fill the south shore of Lake Tahoe. The minimum age for consuming alcohol is 21, and children are not allowed to accompany parents in bars and other places serving alcohol. Bars are open 24 hours in Nevada, but they will close at around 1:00 am in California. There are more than 150 restaurants on the south side of Lake Tahoe. The Summit Restaurant at Harrah's has an extensive wine list. It's also rated as one of the top 100 restaurants in the United States. Club Nero at Caesar's and Altitude at Harrah's feature dancing late into the night, or if you like a slower, quieter setting you can enjoy drinks by the fire at the Christiana Inn near the California Base Lodge, or at the Riva Grill at Ski Run Marina.
Shuttles to and from Heavenly
For guests in search of gaming and live entertainment, casino shuttles run virtually 24 hours a day. For a morning shopping spree, a late-night show, or anything in between, taxis and limousines are available around the clock, as is the South Lake Tahoe public transportation.
Heavenly Other Activities
Heavenly ski resort’s other activities include sledding, showshoeing, horse-drawn rides, hot springs and, of course, shopping.
Although most visitors come to Heavenly to ski or ride, there are lots of other outdoor adventures to be enjoyed.
Heavenly's Adventure Peak
Adventure Peak at the top of the Heavenly Gondola has lift-accessed snowtubing, sledding, 2.5 miles (4 km) of cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
Take the gondola up from the village and the first thing you're likely to notice…well second, after views of the lake, is the huge zipline running from atop the mountain. This elevated zip line cable ride will take you on a high speed thrill ride from the top of Tamarack Express back to the top of the Gondola, a vertical drop of 525 feet. At 3,100 feet, the Heavenly Flyer is the longest ZipRider in the Continental United States.
Husky or Horse-drawn Adventures
See the wonders of the mountain from a dogsled, while teams of Huskies take you on an adventure. Alternatively, swap the dogs for a horse and take a one-hour horse-drawn sleigh ride.
Heavenly's Hot Springs
To ease tired ski muscles you can relax in a natural hot spring. There's one in California and one in Nevada, Wally's Hot Springs, which is also the oldest Sierra resort.
For shopping you can try Emerald Bay Trading Company in the Crescent V Shopping Center in South Lake Tahoe for fashions, fine antiques, home furnishings, and gifts. Or try Heavenly Sports in California Lodge and Stateline, Nevada, for the latest in ski technology. The Boardinghouse, at Longs Drugs Shopping Center and in the Marriott Grand Residence Club next to the Heavenly Gondola, has the hottest snowboard selection. There are lots of other shopping centers around the south shore.