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 access to mid-mountain from mid-town in 12 minutes via the new high-speed Heavenly Gondola, skiing and riding the region's largest resort is easy. With 4,800 acres (1,943 ha) of skiable terrain, there's something for every level of skier or snowboarder. And 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 has an extensive lift network with a large fleet of high-speed lifts spanning Nevada and California. The Gondola, opened in 2000, neatly connects the new Village at Heavenly to the mountain, whizzing skiers, riders and sightseers alike to an observation deck before finishing the 12-minute journey that takes you nearly 3,000 feet (900 m) above the sparkling waters of Lake Tahoe. From the observation decks are 360° views of Lake Tahoe, Desolation Wilderness and Carson Valley.
In total there are 30 lifts, making Heavenly one of the United States' largest skiing areas. The lifts include the new high-speed Heavenly Gondola, an aerial tram, two high-speed six-passenger lifts, six high-speed quads, one fixed-grip quad, five triple chairs, four double chairs and six surface lifts. There are also four Magic Carpet lifts for beginners. Lifts operate from Monday to Friday 9:00 am-4:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 8:30 am-4:00 pm.
The Heavenly Gondola is one of five access points to the mountain. The other four are the aerial tramway and Gunbarrel in California and the Boulder lift and Stagecoach Express Quads in Nevada. For the quickest way to the upper portions of the mountain, intermediate and advanced skiers and riders should take the Heavenly Gondola from the Village at Heavenly, or begin their day at the Stagecoach Lodge in Nevada. Beginners should start their day at the California Base Lodge.
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.
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 the whole ski area experience. Beginners have an exclusive secluded area near California Base Lodge, the Perfect Ride and the Enchanted Forest.
In Nevada there's another area near Boulder Lodge called Edgewood Bowl. On the upper portion of the mountain, beginners can ride the Waterfall or Powderbowl lifts and enjoy Mombo Meadows (complete with a view of Lake Tahoe) and Maggie's trails.
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.
Take the Heavenly Gondola from the Village at Heavenly, either take Von Schmidt blue trail to the Sky Express quad and ski Ridge Run, Canyon and Yahoo, famous for their spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and their gentle cruising slopes, or take Tamarak, ski in Nevada and enjoy many of the blue trails like Big Dipper, Sand Dunes and Olympic Downhill to either Stagecoach Lodge or Boulder Lodge.
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 Knob trees, and the trees off Stagecoach and North Bowl. In California it's to be found in Powderbowl trees and Maggie's Canyon.
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. Then it is off to Mott Canyon - enter through Gate 1 and veer slightly to the west to the top of Snakepit. Looking down the narrow chute, with a 38° pitch just barely wide enough to make a turn, this extreme terrain will make your heart flutter.
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.
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.
On the California side, California Lodge has the California Café for daily lunch specials and a salad bar, and the California Bar for cocktails, beer and wine, main dishes and live music. Monument Peak Restaurant, at the top of the aerial tram, offers fine dining and fab views. Top of the Tram has burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and salads. Snow Beach is useful for hot chocolate, cookies and snacks, and a snack store. More burgers and barbecued chicken can be consumed in the sunshine at the Sky Deck. Try the the Cafe Blue at the gondola observation deck or the barbecued food at the Adventure Peak Grill.
On the Nevada side there's Italian food at a Slice of Heaven at Stagecoach Lodge, Mexican favorites on an outdoor deck at Black Diamond Cantina at Boulder Lodge, and BBQ, sandwiches and a Cappuccino Bar at East Peak Lodge.
Heavenly Ski Resort
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 793 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.
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.
On the mountain
The California Bar at California Lodge features live music from Wednesday to Saturday and plenty of drink and appetizer specials.
Entertainment on Lake Tahoe
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.
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. The park is open daily, 10:00 am-3:00 pm, and costs US$15 for two hours or US$25 for a full day, including rental of equipment.
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.