Tahoe’s highest and California’s largest.
The only South Shore resort, Heavenly covers a lot of terrain — two state’s worth, in fact. This place is nothing if not fun! If skiing from California to Nevada (and back again) appeals to you, this is the place to do it. The same thing goes if you love scenery; you won’t find better views anywhere…and in Tahoe, that’s really saying something!
A 3500-foot vertical drop, but also a number of traverses that can take many people by surprise. Tree skiers seem to love Heavenly, but boarders may not be as blown away. You’ll find plenty for the intermediate level, and some great Black Diamonds, but greenies may exhaust their options more quickly.
Families will appreciate the day care and child care for the younger children, and the teens should be as satisfied as possible with the entertainment and recreation choices. Many people have given high marks to the ski schools for all ages, though some have noted that the situation can get a bit confused and hectic at busier times.
Not to be missed: the 2 1/2-mile gondola trip to the deck at 9,200 feet! If nightlife is more your thing, enjoy the South Tahoe casinos, bars with live music, and several restaurants. Themes range from downright tacky (be nice and call it kitschy) all the way to stylish and sophisticated, which is becoming more prevalent as Vail continues to develop the area.
It can be a bit crowded, and it ain’t cheap. Weekday skiers with a season pass will have much less to complain about than weekenders with limited time and money.
Bottom Line: you’ll get the most out of Heavenly if you’re either a gambler with solid ski skills or a scenery junkie with some cash and above-average patience. However, just about anyone can find something magical and memorable about their time at Heavenly.
I lived in Tahoe as a boy. I remember that the first time I ever went skiing was during a school organized week long field trip which included taking a bus over to the ski resort then 2 hours of ski lessons & a return trip to the school. I had such a wonderful time during that week it made a lifelong fan out of me. I remember that I knew nothing about skiing when I started to take those lessons but by the end of the week I was going down some pretty difficult paths. I also remember one of my favorite things about going to ski that year was sitting in the lodge between runs drinking my hot chocolate. It was always toasty warm next to the fire with the hot drink. I loved the entire experience & I do it regularly every since.