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Skiing Heavenly Dec/New Year 2012/13

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posts: 7
reviews: 6
Skiing Heavenly Dec/New Year 2012/13

Hi Everyone,

We have booked to Ski in Heavenly over the Dec/New Year-12/13, flying to SF & driving. Originally a bit unsure as to which hotel to book but have decided on The Ridge as the package deal/flights were better for us coming over from the UK. I’ve read the reviews on the hotel, so we’ll just have to see how it goes.

We’re 2 couples, the guys board (experienced) & the girlies ski (happy on blues & can just about get down a red in Europe without to much screaming) We’ve never skied in the US before.

1. What’s the cheapest way to get a lift pass? Should we book before going or buy in the resort? I think I’ve read somewhere that the lift pass covers two areas, is that right? & if so what other area should we choose? I'm assuming a ski bus will pick us up from the Ridge?

2. I need to hire some skis, any suggestions?

3. Are the runs at the top of Stagecoach ok for the girls level? Or would we be better off getting the bus to the gondola.

Any other info that would turn our trip into a supadoopa vacation would be most welcome ☺ Many thanks.

Austin, TX
posts: 1,663
reviews: 6
1. Re: Skiing Heavenly Dec/New Year 2012/13

You may want to see what the skiing conditions are a couple of weeks prior to buying, we were there last year same time and it hadn't snowed yet for the season. Everything was man made so only certain trails were open and it was limited. We waited and bought on arrival, I have heard you can buy discount lift tickets through funjet, but not sure if that is still a true statement.

Oakland, California
posts: 33
2. Re: Skiing Heavenly Dec/New Year 2012/13

Yeah, it's an unfortunate truth about the Sierras that the mountains are some of the most beautiful in the country, but the snow is hard to predict. Some years they get tons of snow early, other times it doesn't start snowing until late but then the snow lasts until May.

If you've already booked your trip I guess this doesn't help you much, but I'd recommend not prepaying for too much unless its for refundable things. Otherwise, I believe the heavenly website sells tickets the cheapest.

As for skis, if you've already got your own boots, I'd recommend stopping at something like an Any Mountain (there's one in Berkeley) to rent skis. I did that with a girlfriend once and it was much cheaper than renting at the mountain. Not recommend for boots, though.

Hopefully someone else can help you with specific run info since I'm no expert on that mountain.

The best advice I can give is to not rule out skiing another mountain just because you're staying around Heavenly. Most people from out of town don't realize, but you're pretty much 20 minutes - 1 hour from 6 or 7 different resorts anywhere around Lake Tahoe, and it's possible for the north side of the lake to have great snow, while the big storms just keep missing the south (and vice versa). So do some research on the other big resorts in the area like Northstar and Squaw on the north side as a backup incase Heavenly isn't prime when you're there. That being said, I don't think anyone else has the ability to produce as much man-made snow as Heavenly, so that may still be your best bet even in an off year.

San Francisco Bay
posts: 2,899
reviews: 13
3. Re: Skiing Heavenly Dec/New Year 2012/13

Hotels usually sell lift passes, sometimes at a small savings.

You can buy them in the morning after you figure out the weather report. This sometimes saves a bit of waiting in line for tickets at the bottom of the lifts.

Heavenly Ski Resort has two sides to it - one on California, overlooking Lake Tahoe (a view to die for, and worthy of carrying a small camera in your jacket), and Nevada, overlooking the high desert area east of Lake Tahoe area.

Sometimes the Nevada area will be less crowded than the California side, as it takes a bit of moving around to get there. There are also two main areas to get into the resort, one at the bottom of the Nevada side, and one at the larger, bottom of the California side, where the big gondola loads.

Check with The Ridge about any transportation to the lifts. There is also the TART bus system, the local bus

posts: 7
reviews: 6
4. Re: Skiing Heavenly Dec/New Year 2012/13

Just wanted to say thank you very much for taking the time to reply, you can't get better advice than other travellers views. All your comments have been a great help, it's so difficult when you're from out of town and don't know an area, but we're starting to see the light :)

5. Re: Skiing Heavenly Dec/New Year 2012/13

1. What’s the cheapest way to get a lift pass? Should we book before going or buy in the resort? I think I’ve read somewhere that the lift pass covers two areas, is that right? & if so what other area should we choose? I'm assuming a ski bus will pick us up from the Ridge?

ans: get it from hotel with when you book hotel. Heavenly or California Ski Resort

2. I need to hire some skis, any suggestions?

Ans: you can get when you arrive. There wre plenty of shops are there.

3. Are the runs at the top of Stagecoach ok for the girls level? Or would we be better off getting the bus to the gondola.

Ans: doesn't matter, both r fine.

Edited: 9:49 am, October 28, 2012
Corpus Christi...
posts: 1
reviews: 15
6. Re: Skiing Heavenly Dec/New Year 2012/13

In keeping with the theme that Tahoe conditions can be unpredictable, please pay attention to the point others have made about being able and ready to go to another resort. I travel to Heavenly from Texas once a year with my buddies (intermediate to just above level snowboarders) and once a year with my family. Usually, I go with the guys in mid-December or mid-March, and I take my family over the Holidays or Spring Break.

The best part of Stateline/South Lake Tahoe (other than the incredible beauty of the lake and high desert, especially as seen from the top of the mountain) is the ease of the experience: there are tons of food options from food courts in the casinos to a variety of high end food. The Stateline Brewery (in the basement of the shopping center between the Embassy Suites and the Marriott) is a good place to go: Good beer and food options, regardless of the size or character of my party and, again, an easy experience. If you want to impress your ladies, the view from Friday Station steak house (atop the Harrah's casino) is unbeatable. However, keep in mind that it gets dark early in the mountains and the sun will be down around 4:40-4:45 during the time you are there, so eat early if you go there as you want your money's worth and, though the food is good, you are paying for the sunset and alpenglow.

So, you gather that I love Tahoe, BUT the one inescapable and often trip-busting phenomenon is the immense wind that sweeps across the Sierres OFTEN. I would say that, in the 50+ days I have dedicated to riding in the Tahoe area over the years, fully 1/3 have been "wind hold" days where some or all of Heavenly (and other resorts) are affected by winds that I have seen exceed 100 mph over the ridgelines (though, usually, the wind hold is in the 30's-40's). Heavenly has the advantage of height and, as a result, when snow conditions are weak, Heavenly is making enough snow to enjoy yourself. But, Heavenly's height also makes it the most susceptible to these wind holds. When this happens, if you want to stay close to South Lake Tahoe, head south to Sierra at Tahoe (a smaller place with a decidely "relaxed" vibe) or, as I prefer, go to Kirkwood (more of a traditional ski resort set up, but the mountain is protected like Sierra at Tahoe and there is more of it and better runs).

Anyway, have fun and best of luck to us all: I will be there Dec. 28-Jan. 2 with my family. Cross your fingers.

Maui, Hawaii
posts: 1,141
reviews: 1
7. Re: Skiing Heavenly Dec/New Year 2012/13

Not sure how many days you plan on skiing but if you are traveling all the way from the UK you should drive around the Lake to the North Shore and ski Squaw, Alpine, Northstar or Sugar Bowl for a day or two. Squaw and Northstar both have nice villages for eating, drinking and shopping.

It will be hard to find discount lift tickets during the busiest time of the year, most discount tickets are void during New Years but each year Safeway Stores sell discount tickets, you might also check the REI store in Sacramento or anywhere in the Bay Area. Plus check Costco's too.

I wouldn't rent your skis in the Bay Area, I would wait till you get to Tahoe that way you don't have to carry them with all your luggage on your drive up to Tahoe and back.

South Lake Tahoe...
posts: 183
reviews: 156
8. Re: Skiing Heavenly Dec/New Year 2012/13

You're in luck, NickyB. We've had 2 feet of snow in the last 2 days, and they expect up to 3 more feet to fall tomorrow.

For ski rentals I highly recommend Shoreline Ski and Sport. www.shorelineoftahoe.com/store/home.php

They are a knowledgeable local shop (so the money stays here) that we used last week when my nieces came for a visit. We were able to get them boards, snow suits, helmets, wrist guards - everything. It was reasonably priced, as well. The best part is it's on the way to your hotel.

Someone upthread mentioned that there are 2 ways to access the resort. There are actually four: 2 on the Nevada side, 2 on the California side. I don't know how many days you'll be riding, but there's 4,800 acres there, so I imagine that will be enough to keep you busy. Link to the trail map: http://www.skiheavenly.com/~/media/heavenly/files/trail%20map/2011-12trailmap.ashx

I hope you have a great trip.

9. Re: Skiing Heavenly Dec/New Year 2012/13

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