Heavenly Travel Guide
Golden Gate Bridge © RyanJWilmot
Heavenly is the largest ski resort in California and a popular holiday destination, with some 4,800 acres of terrain stretching into the state of Nevada. At over 10,000 feet (3,048m) it is also the highest resort in Tahoe, where it is situated overlooking the beautiful lake. Heavenly was bought by Vail Resorts (which includes Vail, Keystone, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Arapahoe Basin); and select passes can include access to these other resorts (unfortunately they are all in Colorado). Vail Resorts has recently approved a $50-million upgrade for the resort.
Many skiers recommend trying Heavenly at least once, for its sheer size, and the breathtaking views it has to offer. Due to its proximity to the South Shore and Bay Area, Heavenly also receives many Californian day visitors who appreciate the convenience of a great ski resort on their doorstep.
Heavenly boasts 350 inches (889cm) of snow a year and one of the largest snowmaking systems in North America. The size of Heavenly's terrain means it will have a lot to offer all levels of skiers. The California side is preferred by beginners and intermediate skiers and riders, whereas the slopes on the Nevada side are far more interesting, and usually more crowded too, with the more experienced. The parks at Heavenly have something for beginners and advanced tricksters and is the home of the South Shore Soldiers Camp every spring.
With a number of top brand outlets, such as Patagonia, Burton, and North Face, there is enough variety for every ski and snowboarding holiday requirement. There are plenty of factory stores recently opened at 'The Y' including several top brands. The South Shore has a number of shops selling most conveniences and San Francisco is just over two hours way.
Apart from the variety of snack shops and beverage refuelling stops on the mountains, there are plenty of restaurants on the South Shore. Evan's American Gourmet Café is one of the most popular serving a variety of Californian cuisine. Friday's Station has magnificent views, a fabulous wine selection and great service. For seafood head to the Naked Fish, for mouth-watering burgers, including buffalo, elk or salmon burgers, visit the Sky Deck Burger Bar, or visit Cabo Wabo Cantina in Harvey's Casino, a popular hotspot.
Fire and Ice located at the bottom of the gondola in Heavenly is one of the most popular après ski hangouts for holidaymakers, and the Blue Angel café is a comforting beer and pizza joint. Nevada is a true gambling thoroughbred and casinos grace the beautiful setting of Tahoe on the South Shore with a number of distinctive establishments including Harvey's Casino, Harrah's Lake Town, MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa, and the Lakeside Inn and Casino.
For continued fun on the snow holidaymakers can enjoy sleigh rides, dog sledding and snowmobiling in Heavenly. A great way to spend an afternoon and take in the wonderful scenery is on a hot balloon ride. For those looking for a little less action, away from the strain of a full day on the mountain, Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum, the Old Webster School and Old Log Jail Museums display the history behind Tahoe's early days. The Tallac Historic Site showcases the estates of Baldwin, Pope and Heller and each one has a specific focus on the burgeoning art community.
Heavenly can get quite crowded and lift lines tend to be long over Christmas, the Spring Break period and weekends.