Heavenly Ski Resort

Straddling the California and Nevada border on Lake Tahoe, Heavenly arguably possesses some of the finest views of any ski resort in the world.

From the arid Nevada desert to the east, to the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe to the north and the towering Casinos on the Nevada side of the border, the views from the Heavenly ski area are as varied as they come. But there is more to this resort than the scenery alone – the mountain is home to some of California’s finest ski terrain, including the fantastic steep runs in the Mott and Killebrew Canyons.

South Lake Tahoe makes for a excellent base, with numerous hotels (including good value rooms in the casinos) at the foot of the gondola and a great choice of vacation rentals available right down to the shores of Lake Tahoe. The town is divided by the California-Nevada stateline and this is clear to see when you arrive at it – towering casinos dominate the Nevada side. Playing poker and blackjack in your ski boots is certainly a novel way to end a day on the mountain...

Our Heavenly Resort Ratings

  • Beginner ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
  • Intermediate ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
  • Advanced ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
  • Snow Reliability ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
  • Fast Lifts ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
  • Resort Activities ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
  • Après ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
  • Value ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Pros

Stunning scenery and views

Efficient lift system serving lots of varied terrain

Great accommodation options and lively resort town

Cons

High winds can close the upper lifts

Some may find the casinos brash and a bit weird for a ski resort

Roads accessing Lake Tahoe are prone to closure in snowstorms

Heavenly Skiing and Snowboarding

4800 acres of ski terrain make Heavenly the biggest of the Lake Tahoe resorts, giving excellent variety. The beginner zone at the top of the gondola at Tamarack Lodge is one of the best around, with a decent alternative in bad weather down at California Lodge. Intermediate cruising is the name of the game across much of the mountain, but especially on the Nevada side down towards the Stagecoach base – our tip for quiet slopes would be the routes to the newly revamped Galaxy chairlift.

For more advanced skiers, the infamous bumps under the Aerial Tram are a right of passage, whilst after fresh snow the tree runs and glades really come into their own. The old pines that dominate the landscape are widely spaced, giving perfect gaps for making fast turns and great shelter on snowy days. Later in the season when the gullies fill in, head to the Mott and Killebrew Canyons for some seriously steep challenges – some of which do require a hike out however.

  • Total Pistes: 4800 acres
  • Beginner: 19%
  • Intermediate: 45%
  • Advanced: 36%
  • Lifts: 24
  • Altitude: 2001m – 3060m

Heavenly Piste Map

The local area map can be downloaded here.

Heavenly Resort

South Lake Tahoe is unique in ski resort terms – nowhere else can claim to offer accommodation and après ski in luxury casinos... Whilst the casino vibe may put off some, they offer cheap and good quality rooms (subsidised no doubt by people’s losses on the gambling tables) and are home to some great bars and restaurants. Alternatively there are loads of small lodges and self-catered homes to rent between the lifts and the lake – which are great value in winter as summer is the most popular season here.

Unlike many US resorts, Heavenly has a very lively après ski scene, focussed on the plaza around the base of the gondola. This really comes to life during the spring, when temperatures soar and the California sunshine takes hold. Look out for live bands and DJs and be sure to make the most of the great value Happy Hours on offer.

How to get to Heavenly

Hiring a car is a must and access is quickest from the small airport at Reno, an hour and a half to the north. This does require an internal flight, so if you’d rather fly direct head to San Francisco and enjoy a couple of days exploring this great city before making the three and a half hour drive up to Tahoe.

  • Reno airport: 1.5 hours
  • San Francisco airport: 3 hours

Heavenly Contact Details

Good For

Ability
  • Advanced
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
In Resort
  • Off The Slopes
  • Ski To Door
On Slope
  • Boarder
  • Fast Lifts
  • No Queues
  • Snow Reliability
  • Terrain Parks

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