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Heavenly Ski Holidays

We don’t think there’s anywhere you can ski that’s quite like Heavenly. With its Californian and Nevadan dissection, it offers Las Vegas style nightlife on the one hand, with Californian sun soaking its huge, diverse ski area on the other. Voted most scenic resort by SKI Magazine in 2013, the spectacular views will take your breath away.





At a glance: • Largest ski area in California • Spectacular views • Las Vegas style Casinos

Great for: • Groups • Tree Run Enthusiasts • Après

We don’t think there’s anywhere you can ski that’s quite like Heavenly. With its Californian and Nevadan dissection, it offers Las Vegas style nightlife on the one hand, with Californian sun soaking its huge, diverse ski area on the other. Voted most scenic resort by SKI Magazine in 2013, the spectacular views will take your breath away.

Heavenly Resort

Straddling the state line between Nevada and California lies the resort of Heavenly. Owned by the world famous Vail Resorts - responsible for the success behind Vail, Breck and Beaver Creek – Heavenly village, at 1937m, has seen many changes over the years. The most recent was in 2002, with its new central gondola, pedestrianised streets and alpine themed architecture. Views from the slopes can either look over the desert of Nevada, or down at the stunning lake and built up hub servicing the ski area, called South Lake Tahoe. This year round populated town is on the shores of, you guessed it, the spectacular Lake Tahoe, North America’s largest and third deepest alpine lake.

The fact that the town is spliced by the Nevada/California state line means that you can be subjected to the differing state laws. Even though the whole town is known for its great party scene, if you’re looking for a quieter holiday where you focus mainly on the skiing, opt for the Californian side, as drinking holes usually close around 1am. If you don’t mind having a hangover the following day, or want to take your chances at craps or blackjack, make sure you’re staying in Nevada. With relaxed gambling and drinking laws, casinos have cropped up on the border, as well as bars legally staying open for 24 hours a day.

Heavenly is perfect situated to be within easy access to a number of other resorts in the Lake Tahoe area. With the Heavenly Lift ticket available for use for any number of days in Kirkwood, 35 miles away, as well as a limited number of days in Northstar, only 41 miles away, you’ll be spoilt for choice of varying terrain. If you don’t want to travel any more than you have to, the local area has almost everything you need. The mountain has definite sides - the Californian side with views over Lake Tahoe, and the Nevadan side, offerings views of the stunning desert and the ski area is easily accessible by a gondola from the centre of the village.

Stats & FAQ

Location: USA, Lake Tahoe

Established: Heavenly Valley 1955

Open: November – April

Downhill: 97

View our detailed Heavenly snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Heavenly snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Reno/Tahoe International Airport:88km, 1 hour 15mins
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 19runs 20%

  • 43runs 45%

  • 33runs 35%

Top Altitude:3068m
Bottom Altitude:1993m
Resort Altitude:1937m
Longest run:5.5 miles Olympic
Slope Orientation:South West, North East
Vertical Drop:1131m
Skiable Vertical:1131m
Night Skiing:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 3cm
  • Base
  • 79cm
  • Forecast
  • 88cm

Web Cam

Heavenly web cams
Downhill Runs:97
Beginner slopes:20%
Advanced slopes:35%
Lift Pass Price: $366 to $498 (adult 6 days)
Nearby resorts: Lake Tahoe, Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort, Northstar, Squaw Valley

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Heavenly

With 4,800 acres of inbound terrain, the vastness of this ski area puts it third largest in the whole of the USA, closely beaten by Big Sky and Vail. Naturally, this expanse includes skiing for almost every experience level, from a wealth of groomers, moguls, steeps and trees. In fact, the whole mountain is covered by trees with the exception of Milky Way Bowl, from gentle gradient, widely spread trees, to steep chutes with barely enough space to pass through the firs.

Beginners will find a variety of terrain around the Boulder Chair, 15 acres at the top of the Gondola from Heavenly Village and around the First Ride Lift near California Lodge. If you want to improve your skills, want a confidence boost or just fancy getting some insider tips, book lessons with the ski school – their friendly instructors are famous for getting superb results.

If you head over to the Californian side of the mountain, intermediates will find a great selection of runs. Sticking on trails like Galaxy or Perimeter should gain the confidence of most nervous intermediates, before tackling some harder runs like Olympic Downhill for a wide, long groomer. For the most courageous inters, Heavenly’s easy tree runs can provide that step from intermediate to advanced.

Even the most battle scarred expert can find a test here. You could lean towards snaking through the trees on Dipper Woods, hitting the chutes in Killebrew or Mott Canyon or opt for bashing the moguls on the famous Gunbarrel. The hardest of these three is Killebrew Canyon, with its chutes, drops, rocks and trees – just make sure you have a strong disposition before you set ski in it.

Snowboarders will find some interesting and appealing aspects on this mountain. If you ski big mountain, the Milky Way Bowl is the only open expanse and thus catches some deep powder after some heavy snow. If you’re a park rat, the gradually progressive parks (from the mini “Progression” Park to the large “High Roller”) will be perfect to hone skills before stomping them on bigger features.

Heavenly Apres Ski

The après ski scene here is an experience that probably can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Being split down the middle by the California/Nevada state line, differing state laws create a contrast of atmospheres.

One of the main attractions is the Nevadan side of the town. With gambling and alcohol laws much more relaxed than those of California, this has become a mecca for party goers and those who want to try their luck at roulette or poker. A two block stretch houses four massive casinos. Harrah’s encompasses lodgings, restaurants, the PEEK Nightclub and a music venue. The more lax drinking laws also mean that many clubs and bars can serve alcohol 24 hours a day, perfect for those who want to make a decent night of it! Head to PEEK for a classy evening of dancing and VIP service. If you fancy doing après the traditional European way, drop into Mott Canyon Tavern and Grill; their daily happy hour specials in past seasons have proved very popular.

Even though it may be dwarfed by the Nevadan nightlife, the Californian side of the state line is by no means quiet if you know where to look. With bars open usually til 1am, you can still do your fair share of partying. McP’s Pub is a great little bar located just at the bottom of the main gondola showing sports, and with regular live music. On the mountain, see if they’re hosting the Unbuckle Après Party at Tamarack Lodge (which is at the top of the village gondola) this year - with drinks specials, live DJs and dancers, it has come close to rivalling some European après events in past seasons.

Restaurants can be found everywhere – 165 in the whole area - with a variety of types of food on offer. If you’re looking for a sit down meal, try out the Riva Grill. In past seasons, they’ve served the likes of Pomegranate Glazed Pork Ribs, Crab Chili Releno and Ahi Poki Stack, and that’s just the starters! For something slightly different, try out the Fire + Ice Grill and Bar, where you pick out your favourite ingredients and watch the chef grill them in front of your eyes. For a hearty breakfast to set you up for a day of shredding some powder, make your way to Heidi’s Family Restaurant.

There are a number of shows usually on throughout the year at the casinos such as Harrah’s and Mont Bleu Resort if you fancy stocking up on your culture. To take in the scenery from a different perspective, book a heli tour to see the mountains and lake from above. If you need a break from skiing because the old body just can’t keep up, check out the Lake Tahoe Hot Springs for an invigorating and revitalizing experience.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Heavenly

Best time to visit & ski Heavenly

Obviously the weather gods are fickle, so there is no definite best time to ski this resort. The weather in Lake Tahoe is of temperate climate, which makes for a make or break snow situation – in some seasons, the pacific storms have brought in amounts of snow you would only associate with Antarctica, in others, the resort has gone months without seeing even a sprinkling. That said, with an average of 360 inches a year in combination with 73% of runs featuring artificial snow making, people sticking to groomers should be relatively safe all season.

One of the best times to ski is February, which has historically had high levels of snowfall. Even if you do go and there is little in the way of the white stuff or major storm rolls in, the fact that the resort is almost completely covered in trees means that visibility is usually better than exposed areas, reducing flat light. If you’re looking for the best powder, it might be worth booking last minute so you can make sure the snow conditions are the best they can be before your departure.

Peak Dates

If you’re looking for a heavenly (excuse the pun) Christmas, this is the place to go. For all ages, the range of options on offer will make spending Christmas in Heavenly a festive season to remember.

If you’re looking to party hard before hitting the slopes the following day, this will definitely provide the experience. If you’re looking for a quiet family getaway, then again, this resort will have it. In fact, whatever you desire, spending New Year’s in Heavenly will bring in the Year with a bang.

Recent studies have illuminated the fact that families make up 30% of this resort’s clientele – it’s no wonder half term in Heavenly has become so accommodating to people with young ones. Combine its exceptional ski school and activities with the fact that this is the time of year it typically snows the most and you have the makings of a great holiday.

In the skiing calendar, spring is typically the time to head up the mountain, ski the fantastic conditions in the morning before chilling at an après venue in the afternoon whilst getting a goggle tan. Easter in Heavenly won’t disappoint, with its multitude of events, activities, and, of course, huge ski area keeping customers happy for years.

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