Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Resorts: 14 out of 50
There’s no other ski resort quite like Heavenly. This is the classic Lake Tahoe scenic ski area. The one in ski magazines where it looks like the skier is heading straight into the lake. And it just gets more stunning. Up on top of the Sky Express, you’re literally straddling the divide between the mountains of Lake Tahoe on one side, and the desert of Nevada far below on the other.
We didn’t mean to ride here. Mostly because it’s expensive and we didn’t have any tickets. The only discounts to Heavenly are fairly meager…we’re talking only a few bucks knocked off the $85 price tag. Lucky for us, we know people who know people who hooked us up with some employee comps (thanks Jason!). And also some much needed showers. Seriously, have you ever tried to shower in a RV? Not and easy task.
The layout of Heavenly is very convenient. There’s South Lake Tahoe with bars and restaurants and the grocery outlet (see our day off here). On the other side of the border is Stateline, Nevada and the casinos. There’s a generic village right in the middle and the gondola takes off right from there. You can literally throw down $40 on black, buy a lift ticket with your winnings, and be on your way up to the top of the hill in the time it takes most people to park their cars.
The hardcore terrain over here is mostly over at Mott and Killebrew Canyons. These are on the far end of the Nevada side, so that instead of the lake views, it feels like you’re falling down into the desert. Conditions on this day were a bit dicey. It was spitting out snow, but not enough to make the steeps over here all that much fun.
One note: There’s a sign before you go into Killebrew Canyon that clearly states snowboarders will have to hike 3/4 of a mile to get out. So of course we went in the interest of reporting. It sucked. Basically, the canyon ends in the middle of a pitch and you have to follow a ski track along a rope line. Fine for skiers. Sucked on a snowboard. Now you’ve been warned twice.
With all the attention in the last five years on park and pipe and insanely ugly outfits, it seems like bump skiing has been brushed under the carpet. Hell, we can’t even find a single worthy one up at Big Sky/Moonlight Basin. We’re happy to report that moguls are alive and kicking at Heavenly. You can find the best quad busting runs on the California side. The Face is especially fun (and long), and comes with the aforementioned classic Lake Tahoe views.
The Cheat Sheet:
4080 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150