Heavenly Travel Guide

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's also the highest resort in Tahoe, where it's situated overlooking the beautiful Lake Tahoe. Heavenly was bought by Vail Resorts (which includes Keystone, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Northstar); and select passes can include access to these other resorts, which are all in Colorado. 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. The most advanced skiers will want to head to the far eastern end of this sprawling resort where they'll find fewer people and an extreme skier's playground including fantastic steep runs in the Mott and Killebrew Canyons. 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's enough variety for every ski and snowboarding holiday requirement. There are plenty of factory stores including several top brands. The South Shore has a number of shops selling everything needed for a ski holiday.


There's a massive choice of restaurants on the South Shore, offering everything from pizza and pasta, steaks and grills, Mexican, and more. Evan's American Gourmet Cafe 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. The casinos mostly have great value restaurants and all-you-can-eat buffets. There are also plenty of mountain restaurants, offering anything from hot dogs and salads to burgers and pizzas.


Heavenly Village, in South Lake Tahoe, has a very lively apres ski scene, centred on the pedestrian plaza around the base of the gondola where there are plenty of lively bars with DJs and live bands. The resort comes to life during the spring, when temperatures soar and the Californian sunshine takes hold. The nightlife is centred around the huge casinos in the Stateline suburb on Nevada territory, which mostly include restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Travellers should note that the minimum legal age to buy or consume alcohol in both California and Nevada is 21.

Holiday activities

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.

Any negatives?

Heavenly can get quite crowded and lift lines tend to be long over Christmas, the Spring Break period and weekends. The lifts to the upper lifts can close in high winds and the roads accessing Lake Tahoe are often closed in snowstorms. With all the casinos, some visitors find Heavenly a little brash but the apres ski scene is what draws many skiers to the resort.