Ski USA - California

Heavenly Resort Reviews

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Ski USA - California

Heavenly Resort Reviews


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Visitor reviews for Heavenly Ski Resort

  • November 19, 2013
    from United States

    We are season pass subscribers for five years. I love this mountain. I love the varied terrain, trees, backside, views and warm sunny days with fresh snow. I typically need nothing more than shell garments and a sweater, not your typical cold ski mountain. The staff are very customer friendly and know how to make things special. I am an older expert skier, spend time with my wife on the blue groomers which are usually in great shape, but love getting to the bumps and trees. I also like that there are challenging trails available whether on the lower, mid, or upper elevations, unlike many ski areas where the challenging terrain is only at upper elevations. There is always something new and challenging and it is easy to get away from the crowds, particularly when the entire mountain is in full swing. Ski shop prices are reasonable and service excellent. On the negative side, the mountain could use a better transport lift from CA to Nevada and more direct ski opportunity from NV to CA, avoiding cat trails and such. While the lodges are nice, I believe that the food service has stumbled over the past years, and the once great offerings of lamb, elk, buffalo, ahi burgers etc. has disappeared and the replacements are not uniformly excellent. Hopefully, service will be restored for the 13-14 season.

  • Heavenly Ratings

    Overall: 4.2. Based on 5 votes and 8 reviews. Vote

    Access: 4.0

    (1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Heavenly.

    Public Transport: 3.6

    (1) There are no buses or taxis to Heavenly, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.

    Scenery: 4.6

    (1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.

    Accommodation: 4.8

    (1) No places to stay in/near Heavenly, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.

    Cheap Rooms: 4.8

    (1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.

    Luxury Hotels: 4.8

    (1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Heavenly.

    Ski in/Ski out: 3.4

    (1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.

    Childcare: 5.0

    (1) There are no child care facilities at Heavenly, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.

    Snowsure: 4.6

    (1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Heavenly is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.

    Snowmaking: 4.2

    (1) Heavenly relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.

    Snow Grooming: 4.5

    (1) There are no snow groomers at Heavenly, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Heavenly are groomed daily.

    Shelter: 3.5

    (1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Heavenly is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.

    Nearby options: 3.8

    (1) If snow conditions are poor at Heavenly, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.

    Regional rating: 5.0

    (1) Heavenly usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.

    Lift Staff: 5.0

    (1) The staff at Heavenly are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Heavenly are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.

    Crowds/Queues: 4.0

    (1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.

    Ski Schools: 4.5

    (1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.

    Hire and Repairs: 4.4

    (1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.

    Variety of pistes: 4.4

    (1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Heavenly has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.

    Beginners: 4.2

    (1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.

    Intermediates: 4.4

    (1) No intermediate terrain at Heavenly, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.

    Advanced: 4.4

    (1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.

    Snow Park: 5.0

    (1) Not even a kicker at Heavenly, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.

    Off-piste: 4.2

    (1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.

    Cross-country: 2.5

    (1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Heavenly, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.

    Luge/Toboggan: 3.0

    (1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Heavenly has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.

    Mountain Dining: 4.0

    (1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.

    Eating: 4.0

    (1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.

    Apres-Ski: 4.4

    (1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.

    Other Sports: 3.0

    (1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.

    Entertainment: 4.2

    (1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.

    Winter Walks: 4.3

    (1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.

    Ski Pass Value: 4.4

    (1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.

    Value (National): 4.5

    (1) Overall, Heavenly is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.

    Value (Global): 4.2

    (1) Overall, Heavenly is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.

    Show all 35 ratings

  • March 29, 2011
    from Germany

    Just returned from a week long visit ending Friday 25 Mar 2011. I can't remember nicer snow conditions than what I encountered early in the week. By mid-day Wednesday, though, a bad weather system made the skiing all but impossible. The early week snow was fantastic, and I did enjoy myself.

    Now for the criticism:

    I've been skiing in the Austrian Alps for the past few years, and I think Heavenly leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, there are some great views of the Lake, and the High Desert in Nevada, but I don't go skiing for the view. I'm a fairly advanced skier, and found no truly challenging runs other than perhaps one or two of the bigger bowls, only then because my slim-ish Fischer Progressor skis weren't designed for the knee high powder I encountered there.

    The real problem with Heavenly is that it is too small, though. A competent skier could, assuming no lift lines, ski every run before lunch. Getting to Heavenly is basically a whole days travel from almost anywhere further than Sacramento or Reno. So, spending a long weekend is a minimum to make the trip worthwhile. Heavenly's small size is an issue for sure. Compare Heavenly piste map with a few of the available resorts in Europe and you'll see what I mean. These maps are on a much larger scale than the Heavenly map.

    try snow-forecast dot com:
    to see some big ski arenas.

    Heavenly's management should be ashamed at the archaic lifts, half of which can only carry three or fewer people. This makes the lines significantly longer than they should be. Also, what's the deal with the staff at the gondola ? They seem incapable of putting more than four skiers in a single car, and also seem to think we're too stupid to put our own skis in the ski rack. This makes the morning queue a painful experience.

    All in all, I'm surprised at how poor value Heavenly is: $75 per day (unless you have a long term season ticket) is almost twice the price of a typical French, Austrian or Italian resort. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing Heavenly, it's a nice place, but it ain't that great.

  • February 14, 2010
    from United Kingdom

    I have been to Heavenly on 4 occasions and can agree that the tree riding is amazing, but only when there has been a good dump of snow. We were lucky enough on our last visit to have snow every night for the 8 days we were riding! Awesome. The lift lines are non-exsistent during the week but it gets a little busier at the weekend. It is fair to say that the town isn't very atmospheric but it can still be fun. Overall, a great mountain with enough to keep you busy and entertained in the evening as well. If you do get bored Vegas is an hour flight away!! Enjoy.

  • October 26, 2009
    from United States

    Heavenly is spectacular and the tree riding is truly #1, if conditions are right. Views of the lake are all that and more. There are many wide groomers, excellent traverses that usually won't force you to unbind, and have I mentioned the trees? It has everything you'd expect from a Vail resort, including a very potent lift system, incredible free shuttle system, and... sky high prices on the mountain. Slice of pizza: 7 dollars; can of beer: 10 dollars; day spent in Heavenly's trees after a night of serious dumpage: price- er, of a lift ticket. Check out Heavenly.

  • February 06, 2009
    from United States

    Heavenly has the best views of Lake Tahoe and the best tree skiing in Tahoe.

    If you are at beginner to intermediate level, you will enjoy lots of long and wide cruisers at Heavenly with amazing views of Lake Tahoe to the west and the Carson Valley to the east.

    If you are lower-advanced to expert, you will enjoy the 2500 acres of tree skiing over the entire Heavenly mountain. From high tundra with small stunted trees to lower elevation widely spaced forests with huge ponderosa pines. Mostly intermediate to expert steepness. Heavenly is made for tree skiers.

    Warmer temperatures on the Sierras has the advantage of sunny, warm skiing, but fresh snow does not last as long. Even untracked powder can melt and freeze into hard crust after 2 days of 40-degree weather.

    Easy access to town and casinos but gets crowded during peak periods. Access from California base-lodge is a real pain with parking and a crowded shuttle ride.

    I live 3-hr drive from Heavenly and this is my 2nd year with a season pass. I switched to Heavenly after 4 years at Kirkwood which has more snow, but is much harder to reach in stormy weather.

  • February 03, 2005
    from United Kingdom

    Big snow area. Lots of piste and off-piste, VERY friendly compared to any European resort I have been to. Short organised lift queues lived up to the hype about life on the other side of the pond. Town not very atmospheric though.

  • November 09, 2004
    from United States

    Pricey food (on mountain) and lifts, but you can get a great lodging deal and eat off the mountain quite cheap. Fairly easy to get to from Reno, pending decent weather conditions. Generally speaking, very friendly and helpful staff. Definately not a locals' spot.....very touristy and can get crowded during peak times. Mountain is well maintained.

  • November 02, 2004
    from United States

    While it's one of the largest resorts you can find, i don't like it too much, it's way pricey, and way crowded and not very friendly.
    It's not a bad place, but you could save the money and get much better experience at alpine meadows or even better Kirkwood.
    On the other end you can sometime save a bit by sleeping at a casino at staeline (well if you aren't a gambler anyway :-)