Not that you choose a ski resort for the view alone, but at Heavenly, the scenery is certainly a perk: From the top of the mountain, you’ll score sweeping views of Lake Tahoe in one direction and the vast Carson Valley in the other. Thanks to 300 days of sunshine a year, you’re nearly guaranteed a day with good visibility. Readers describe it as “the most beautiful place to ski” where “some runs it looks as if you are skiing right into Lake Tahoe.” This Vail Resorts-owned mountain also ranks in the Top 5 for après, nightlife, and lodging. Choose between revamped skier motels on the California side of town or high-rise casinos on the Nevada side.
With 4,800 variable acres spread across two states and endless tree skiing in Mott and Killebrew Canyons, you can spend all week without skiing the same line twice. Its size can feel overwhelming: “If you don’t know the lay of the resort, you’ll waste a lot of time,” writes one reader. In case you don’t time your visit with a colossal Sierra storm, don’t fret. The snowmaking system here is robust, covering about 75 percent of the mountain. Says one satisfied customer: “Heavenly is just that—heavenly!” — Megan Michelson
2021 Reader Resort Rank for Heavenly Mountain Resort – No. 21 in the West
- LOCAL TIP: Want a killer view of the lake? Head to Ridge Run (for intermediates) or Gunbarrel (for experts), then try not to crash when you can’t help but ogle the amazing crystalline views.
- APRÈS SPOT: Heavenly’s notorious party scene will be dampened this winter, but you can still drink a pilsner in the outdoor beer garden at South of North Brewing Co., located at Basecamp Hotel.
- FAMILY EXPERIENCE: There’s free outdoor sledding on the hill at Kahle Park—grab coffee and hot chocolate to-go from Clyde’s Coffee up the street then let them slide until they’ve had their fill.
Check out No. 22 in the West for 2021: Big Sky, Mont.
Ready for No. 20 in the West? Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
Heavenly’s 2020 SKI Magazine Reader Resort Survey Rank: 17th in the West
Most skiers come to Heavenly for its immaculate grooming, panoramic lake views, or its lively après scene at the mid-mountain Tamarack Lodge or the town’s many casinos. “What many don’t know is that Heavenly has some of the longest sustained steeps at Lake Tahoe and some of the best off-piste skiing in the region,” says one reader. “The catch is it needs to be an ample snow year for that skiing to be available.”
It’s true, at Heavenly, you’ll find perfect glades on the resort’s Nevada side, Glen Plake–approved bumps on the California side, and legendary steeps in Mott and Killebrew canyons. Yes, you need a deep winter for those zones to fill in, but last year, Heavenly got nailed with nearly 500 inches of snow, and that’s not uncommon. With 4,800 sprawling acres, it’ll take days to explore.
Caveat: Weekends tend to be crowded with Bay Area visitors, so come midweek if you can. For lodging, find everything from wallet-friendly upgraded motels—see: Base Camp Tahoe, walking distance to the gondola—to luxury hot spots like the new lakefront suites at the Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe. — Megan Michelson
- BRAGGING RIGHTS: Ski 1,700 vertical feet of bumps under the Gunbarrel Express—do it nonstop for extra points—or sign up for March’s Gunbarrel 25 contest and attempt 25 laps against the region’s hardiest skiers.
- DINNER PICK: Cold Water Brewery has the tastiest beer in town and the oyster bar at the Hard Rock Hotel is delicious.
SKI Magazine’s 2019 Review of Heavenly, Calif.
Big personality, tons of terrain, and expansive lake views that will blow your mind—and fill the photo gallery on your phone. Heavenly is Tahoe’s answer to the one-size-fits-all vacation equation. With 4,800 acres of terrain—and a summit that tops out at an eye-popping 10,040 feet—variety is king. But many come for the fun factor. South Lake Tahoe, on the California/Nevada border, is packed with 24-hour casinos, trendy eateries, and rockin’ clubs. Not everyone’s cup of tequila, of course, but nothing wrong if it is…
In 2019, Heavenly debuted a new lodging property, Lakeland Village Resort—townhomes set on 19 wooded acres on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Located one mile from the slopes, the Vail Resorts-owned property has on-site lift ticket counters, plus shuttles to the mountain.
Come to Heavenly Mountain Resort for the…
- BREAKFAST NOOK Start your morning with a deep-fried glaze at Heavenly Donuts near the gondola base in Heavenly Village.
- DONT MISS The Unbuckle après party at Tamarack Lodge is an earful of DJ’d music, in a good way.