Heavenly Valley Ski Resort
High above the South Lake Tahoe shoreline of Nevada Stateline Casinos, hotels, restaurants, bars and recreational services sits California’s largest ski resort – Heavenly Ski Resort, a Vail Resort (Heavenly Lake Tahoe, 775-586-7000, 4080 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, www.skiheavenly.com). With its 4,800 acres of ski and snowboard terrain and over 97 trails, Heavenly draws crowds from across the globe to ski one of the most picturesque mountain views in the sport.
There are 29 lifts combined between the California and Nevada side of the resort as well as a gondola that takes you up from South Lake Tahoe’s main drag. Always try to face north inside the gondola so you don’t miss out on the breathtaking view of the famous lake. Cell phone reception is good for about half the ride up on the gondola before cutting out so be sure to arrange your meeting places with friends and family prior to hitting the slopes. They are working on improved coverage. Some of my favorite areas to ski included Stagecoach, Dipper, Olympic, Canyon and Tamarak Express Chairs that cover many blue intermediate runs. For the more advanced, check out Mott Canyon regular lift, Sky and Gunbarrel Express chairs. Terrain Parks, Bowls and some of the best views you will come across at any resort in the USA. I believe this is only one of only two resorts that have views of the lake while you are on the ski mountain.
The weather can be deceiving. Patchy sunshine with no wind at the bottom of the gondola and howling winds and white out at the top can happen. The gondola and a majority of lifts may close down when the wind is too strong leaving you with the grim option of skiing with one or two operating lifts on either the California or Nevada side – access by shuttle or car only. The weather is luck of the draw for pretty much any resort.
However, on nice weather ski days, this resort has so much to offer and is just fantastic. The staff, variety of runs, many trails, high speed chairs and convenience of Heavenly located right in the main town of South Lake Tahoe and walking distance to many hotels and lodges.
Overall, Heavenly Ski Resort has even more to offer — including multi-day Epic passes that provide great value, especially for those looking to test out nearby Kirkwood and Northstar. The resort is more suitable for intermediate to advance skiers with limited, but nonetheless, adequate beginner terrain. There are so many express lifts (as many as I have ever seen at any ski resort) and an advanced snow making system – 3 out of 4 trails have the ability to blow snow. There is great night life, exceptional places to dine, and convenient goods and services abound. Heavenly Ski Resort delivers the full vacation package. This is one of the best resorts we have ever covered for everything it has an offers.
968 PARK HOTEL – SOUTH LAKE TAHOE
In one of the most scenic ski resorts in North America, Heavenly Mountain, there are many hotels to choose from. Everything from budget hotels to the luxurious, none other than 968 PARK HOTEL (968 Park Ave, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, 1.800.738.7477, http://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/california/lake-tahoe-hotels/968-park-hotel/) offers the perfect balance while preserving and sharing the experience of the local culture.
The staff boasts a sense of pride in the establishment and it carries over to exceptional service and hospitality. Food you will not find, but the hotel has one of the coolest, down to earth lobbies featuring the eclectic CoffeePub where you can enjoy gourmet coffees, microbrews, cocktails and fine wine. There are plenty of great places to eat within walking distance. There’s a wide range of establishments for every budget – fine dining, fast food, family restaurants, convenience stores, a supermarket and, of course, Starbucks.
The 57 guestroom hotel has an outdoor pool, sauna, spa services, bar/lounge, business center, 24-hour front desk, daily housekeeping, free parking and Wi-Fi. Located in the heart of South Lake Tahoe, yet ideally tucked away from the main drag, it’s only a short walk to the Heavenly Mountain Gondola (0.2 miles), Heavenly Village (0.2 miles), Van Sickle Bi-State Park (0.3 miles) and the Lakeside Marina (0.4 miles).
The eco-friendly concept of the hotel adds charm and brings out innovation and creativity (i.e. recycled/reclaimed materials make-up the furniture and décor). The rooms are very clean and comfortable with high quality beds and an overall cozy setting. Each room is equipped with its own Keurig brewer so if you want a good cup of coffee and just can’t find the energy to shuffle down to the lobby or over to Starbucks, problem solved.
If the big casino hotels and the large chains (i.e. Marriott) is just not your cup of tea when trying to experience the majestic mountain and lake community, then 968 PARK HOTEL is your gem – down to earth, friendly and catered just for you.
Getting there from the airport if you are not renting a car as you don’t need one if you are staying at Heavenly Valley.
SOUTH TAHOE AIRPORTER
When planning your next trip to South Lake Tahoe through the Reno Airport, forget about renting a car; take the South Tahoe Airporter shuttle/bus (http://www.southtahoeexpress.com/details/74335/reno-tahoe-airport-to-lake-tahoe, Phone: 866-898-2463, 635 Ferrari McLeod Blvd, Reno, NV 89512, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Purchasing tickets online is recommended, but you can also pick up tickets at the airport office across from carousel 5 in baggage claim. Ticket pricing is very reasonable – ($29.75 one way or $53 round trip with discounts for children). There are a total of six drop off locations in South Lake Tahoe – Lakeside, Horizon, Harvey’s LTRH, Harrah’s and Montbleu – all locations within walking distance of the Village and gondola. You can always use the South Shore Transit system to assist with locations too far outside the drop off points. The shuttles and buses, consisting of an Amador Stage Line Bus, Temsa Bus and Sprinter Van, are all clean, comfortable and safe. South Tahoe Airporter is a professional company that runs on a tight schedule for those that appreciate punctuality.
Full review written by Forrest Graef and Todd Elliot