In South Lake Tahoe, the Heavenly Mountain Resort has 97 runs spread over 4,800 acres that are served by 29 lifts with a maximum descent of 3,500 feet. Heavenly is known as an intermediate snowboarders paradise and is home to one of the longest US runs at 5.5 miles. Every lift accesses at least one entry level run. The runs range in difficulty from 11% easy to 66% moderate to 23% difficult. Keep in mind that the snow conditions are typically pretty hard-packed, which is affectionately called "Sierra Cement".
For the freestyle snowboarders in your crew, Heavenly has five terrain parks to session, such as High Roller Park. For the all-mountain riders, experts can find some challenge along both boundaries, in the glades (such as near The Face), or runs like Gunbarrel. For serious freeriders, to reach the best Heavenly has to offer, head up the Dipper Express lift and then traverse east to either the Mote Gate or the Killbrew Gate to enter the ungroomed but avalanche-controlled freeride zones. The Mott Canyon Chutes are epic and the Killbrew's 40 degree pitch slope has several boulders to huck or dodge. Don't underestimate the backcountry zones of Hully Gully or Widow Maker.
The town is not your typical mountain town -- it is dominated by a handful of high rise casinos and hundreds of tacky lowend motels (unbelievable!). The downtown area is basically devoid of shops and bars. The main base area is actually above town via the gondola at Tamarack Lodge. It's best to just blow by the lodge on your way up and continue via Sky Express to the summit at 10,0067 feet. Then, duck into the glades to explore the pow stashes on the way down.
Following a long day snowboarding at Heavenly, your best bet for apres ski is down at the Himmel Haus where you'll find big beers and classic Bavarian specialties. For some nightlife in South Tahoe, try Basecamp Pizza (live music daily), RoJos, McPs and Mulligans.
The nearest airport to Heavenly is Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO).
Tip: Heavenly Mountain Resort is part of the Vail Epic Pass, so plan ahead to get the best season pass deal.
Overall, Heavenly Mountain Resort is the 13th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 19 snowboarding resorts in California. Several of the better snowboarding resorts are nearby Heavenly Mountain Resort including Kirkwood Ski Area, Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, Squaw Valley Resort, Northstar at Tahoe Ski Area, Sierra at Tahoe Ski Area and Boreal Mountain.
Local Contacts: Heavenly Mountain Resort Ski Area (775) 586-7000; California Tourism (916) 444-4429; Tahoe Avalanche Info (530) 587-2158
Best Season: Dec. - Mar.
Average Difficulty: Moderate
Base Camp: Lakeside Inn; Inn By The Lake; Travelodge Casino Area (seriously!); Mellow Mountain Hostel (530) 544-8065
Luxury Loding: Spruce Grove Inn (800) 777-0914; Base Camp Hotel
Breakfast Restaurant: The Red Hut (2 locations)
Reference Source: click here http://www.skiheavenly.com/
GPS: 38.93528, -119.939678
Date Published: 1/5/2016
Date Updated: 1/3/2019
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