On the less-skied South Shore, the queen bee of the few resorts is undoubtedly Heavenly (Wildwood and Saddle, South Lake Tahoe, 775/586-7000, www.skiheavenly.com, call for current hours and prices). Perhaps the most sprawling of any Tahoe ski resort, avid skiers can choose from four lodge/village access points up to the ski area: Heavenly Village and California Lodge down by the lake and in the South Shore downtown area, and Boulder Lodge and Stagecoach Lodge up inland.
Zillions of runs snake down the mountainside, taking advantage of the more than 2,500 vertical feet of drop you’ll enjoy at Heavenly . Beware: Even the lowland ski area near the California Lodge has mostly black diamond runs. Approach the Killbrew and Mott Canyons with prejudice—gates at the head of these runs underscore the fact that only expert skiers should even try to take them on.
Frankly, Heavenly doesn’t have tons of green runs, but most of the beginner areas is served by the Gondola and the Powderbowl Express Six Chair. Freestylers can find a number of terrain parks, none of which are named other than the traditional and uninspired Small, Medium and Large.
Heavenly enjoys its status as an intensely popular resort, so prepare to find parking a challenge at whatever lodge you choose. Crowding and lines at the lifts, especially those at the bottom of the mountain, can get bad on weekends and holidays. On the other hand, once you’re out of your car and on the mountain you’ll have access to nearly every service and amenity you need.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition