Overview of Heavenly Ski Resort
Heavenly (named after the description of the wonderful warm wind that greeted arriving European settlers and happily not some desperate brand name dreamed up by marketing men), has the biggest ski area in California with nearly 5,000 acres of terrain to explore and some of the best views in the world – out over the magnificent blue Lake Tahoe itself, 22 miles long, 12 wide and one of the deepest lakes in North America at over 500m.
When you take a Heavenly ski holiday you’ll find the resort is located at the south end of the Lake, by far the most commercially developed area with hundreds of hotels, shops and restaurants providing a thriving, year-round leisure and recreation area that’s open 24 hours a day, and is thus rather unique in world skiing. There’s a huge choice of things to do here off the slopes too. Some of that all-night action is thanks to the fact that Heavenly straddles the state line between California and Nevada, with vast casino complexes towering out of the ground a few inches in to Nevada.
Heavenly keeps evolving and there’s a wide range of places to stay both in location and accommodation type. The most convenient concentration of hotels, condos, restaurants and shops are in the newest development, Heavenly Village, at the base of the gondola up to the slopes on the Californian side of the border. This is the only development where you don’t need to take a shuttle bus or self drive to reach the lift up to the slopes, as you do from most accommodation.
However all around the wider South Lake Tahoe area there are hotels of all sizes from simple motels up to large developments which are ‘resorts’ in their own right and within a few minutes drive of the ski slopes. You can also opt to stay in one of the casinos huddled just over the stateline on the Nevada side (gambling is not obligatory) – and only a few minute’s walk from the gondola.
As mentioned Heavenly ski resort, which is owned by the same company that runs Vail and several other leading resorts in Colorado, has California’s biggest ski area. To further add to this, international guests visiting for more than a week have further snowy riches to discover, as a regional lift-ticket interchange programme means you can opt to ski or board at half a dozen other ski areas nearby, such as Northstar and Squaw Valley at no extra cost.
You can also get the Epic season pass covering Heavenly and the other ski resorts owned by Vail (Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail itself, all in Colorado) for little more than the cost of a week’s pass for any one of the resorts – so if you’re planning to stay more than seven days or ski at more than one Vail owed resort during the winter, it’s a good investment.