Heavenly Valley Ski Getaways

ski getaways

As the Tahoe region's largest resort Heavenly sprawls across the California-Nevada border and offers skiing and riding in two states. The California base is at 6450 feet and the Nevada base is 7200 feet. Both sides reach to the 10,067 foot summit, allowing for a 3500-foot vertical rise on the California side. Thirty lifts, including a gondola, tram, and nine high-speed chairs can carry up to 52,000 people an hour over the mountain's 4800 acres of terrain - the most terrain in the region. It's quite a change from the time, over 50 years ago, when Chris and Dottie Kuraisa bought two rope tows and the Bijou Ski Run and renamed it Heavenly Valley.

While the Tahoe area is famous for its abundant snow Heavenly leaves little to chance. Seventy percent of its groomable terrain is covered by a state-of-the-art snowmaking system, although the long-term average snowfall is 30 feet.

Heavenly has a well-deserved reputation for tough terrain and testing grounds like Mott and Killebrew Canyon come to mind. But the expert terrain is only half the story - well, 35% of the story. Nearly half the trails (45%) are intermediate; the remaining 20% of trails offer beginner skiing and riding.

Most of the beginner terrain is located mid-mountain on the California side where the tram unloads (but the Gunbarrel Express is a better way to reach it). Here four lifts that radiate in different directions serve a cluster of interesting terrain. Never-evers need not venture so far - there are learning areas at the base in both states or at Adventure Peak. Experienced beginners or those who are moving to the intermediate level will enjoy Rim Run from the top off the Sky Express or from the middle off the Canyon Express.

Intermediates will enjoy mile after mile of long cruisers, many served by high-speed chairs. Favorite areas include the pod of trails served by the Dipper and Tamarack Express chairs, but nearly everywhere you turn there's a blue square for you.

After a big Sierra Nevada snow storm experts head to Mott and Killebrew Canyons, where steep chutes and glades tumble down the canyon walls and offer multiple lines of powder shots. Up above the canyons is the mostly wide-open Milky Way Bowl, not as steep but still advanced terrain.

Heavenly has four terrain parks, all under the High Roller "brand name". Low Roller is for novices, High Roller Stateline is as a boardercross course, High Roller Nightlife is open 5p-9p Thursdays through Saturdays, and High Roller California is the experts' park. The High Roller Superpipe, on the California side, features 22-foot walls.

Other popular getaway locations in California

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