#6 in 2023 Best Ski Resorts in the USA
Encompassing 4,800 acres of expansive terrain, Heavenly Mountain is the largest ski area in California.
Sprawling across the California-Nevada border on the southern shores of Lake Tahoe, the Heavenly Mountain Resort combines casino nightlife with 4,630 skiable acres and two terrain parks. The resort encompasses trails designed for a wide range of skill levels, while the on-site ski and snowboard school offers lessons for both children and adults. An Epic Pass ski destination, Heavenly also boasts an adaptive ski program, not to mention equipment rentals. Night skiing is not offered here, but tubing, ice skating and a number of other activities are available.
For those wanting a break from the slopes, the resort has the 2.4 mile scenic gondola ride from Heavenly Village to the Observation Deck, with sweeping views across Lake Tahoe and the peaks of the Sierra Nevada. Hungry skiers and boarders have plenty to choose from, coming off the lifts, and guests can either chose to stay in the resort’s Heavenly Village or South Lake Tahoe.
The resort typically opens before Thanksgiving and closes in the last week of April. Like many Lake Tahoe resorts, Heavenly is most crowded on weekends and holidays. Some great spring skiing can be found in late March and early April: keep an eye on the current conditions and forecasts to be certain of snow quality.
Heavenly is an Epic Pass destination. The Epic Pass , Epic Pass Local , and Epic Day Pass all provide access to the mountain with significant savings when compared to the window price at the mountain.
For the 2022/2023 season the holiday window rate is $225 for 13+ age group and $124 for ages 5 to 12. The non-holiday window rate ranges ~$200 for 13+ age group ~$110 for ages 5 to 12. Purchasing online, and ahead of time, can save around 10% – 15% on lift tickets.
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Heavenly has 97 trails to choose from – 20 percent of these are designed for beginners, 45 percent are rated intermediate and 35 percent are advanced/expert. Here are the best Heavenly Mountain Resort trails for beginners, intermediate-level and advanced skiers according to Zak Sos, the resort’s senior communications specialist:
Located on the Nevada side of the resort, Boulder Bowl offers wide open terrain, perfect for beginners looking to ease into a day of skiing.
If you’re looking for a nice intermediate cruiser with soaring views of Lake Tahoe’s sapphire blue [waters] below, look no further than Ridge Run off the Sky Chair.
Experts will love Milky Way bowl, a wide-open powder paradise, with steep terrain as well as fun chutes and glades lining either side.
South Lake Tahoe’s lodging options run the gamut from budget-friendly to luxurious. The Lakeland Village Resort at Heavenly , on the California base, sits on the lakeshore and on the local shuttle route to Heavenly, less than a mile away. Zalanta Resort at the Village is a short walk from the Gondola and features spacious living areas, gourmet kitchens and a hot tub and pool area. Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel is located near the base of Heavenly and offers breakfast with every reservation.
Heavenly and the surrounding South Lake Tahoe area has no shortage of dining options. Listen to live music while munching on tacos and shrimp ceviche at Azul Latin Latin Kitchen in the Heavenly Village. Nearby, enjoy a cocktail at the Puka Lounge before sampling the Hawaiian-inspired cuisine at Kalani’s Lake Tahoe – try their coconut shrimp or signature baby-back ribs.
Whether you are slopeside or exploring bars and clubs of South Lake Tahoe, there are plenty of places to stop for for a quick après-ski drink. Inside the resort’s California Main Lodge, the California Lodge and Bar has a relaxed vibe where drinks are half price from 3:30 to 5:30pm every day, with live music on Saturday. On the Nevada side of the mountain, the Boulder Lodge also has an après-ski scene from 3:30 to 5:30pm when kids get a free hot chocolate with the purchase of an adult beverage. If you’re keen to explore the nightlife outside the resort, try Vinyl, inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which features live music performances and comedy through the winter season.
For gambling on the Nevada side, Harvey’s Lake Tahoe is the place to go big or go home, while the swanky MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa has all the Vegas sparkle you’d want when crossing state lines, plus a view of the slopes you’ve just conquered.
The Reno/Tahoe International Airport, just over an hour from Heavenly Mountain Resort via Highway 580, accommodates flights from major U.S. hubs, including New York City, San Francisco, Dallas and Minneapolis. Some hotels offer shuttles to and from the airport. The South Tahoe Express Reno airport shuttle has services to Heavenly’s California Base Lodge, in Heavenly Village, Stagecoach Lodge and Boulder Lodge in Nevada. Another option is flying into Sacramento International Airport, about two and a half hours from Heavenly Ski Resort.
By car, Heavenly is just under four hours from San Francisco and about two hours from downtown Sacramento. For those arriving without a vehicle, the Tahoe Transportation District Heavenly ski shuttles stop at many of the larger hotels, as well as all six casinos, en route to the resort.
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|Vertical Drop (ft)||2,212||1,650||2,000||2,850||2,280|
|Skiable Area (ac)||480||450||354||400||350|
|Number of Trails||47||67||86||170||100|
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