If you’re a powder hound, you already know that Tahoe has been getting pummeled this year—in the very best way possible. It’s forecasts like this that make Tahoe a truly world-class ski and snowboard destination. And Heavenly is one of the area’s top resorts.
Yeah, the skiing there is pretty great (in fact the feeling of gliding down one of the resort’s snow bowls is, well, heavenly). But the truth is, Heavenly would be worth visiting even when it’s not a powder day. With everything from excellent groomers to off-mountain activities, Heavenly is packed full of fun for the whole family. Here are our recommendations for seven killer reasons—apart from the skiing and snowboarding—that make Heavenly great.
1. Fuel up at the Red Hut Cafe
The Red Hut Cafe in South Lake Tahoe, established 1959, is a longstanding classic. It features tasty omelets and must-try waffles (after all, the joint was originally named the Red Hut Waffle Shop), which can be ordered with lip-smacking toppings from pecans to fresh berries. Those who love a hearty breakfast will want to order the house special: the waffle or pancake sandwich. It’s actually less a sandwich than a waffle/pancake with a side of eggs and choice of sausage, plain bacon, or another house signature—jalapeño bacon. Now you’re ready to hit the mountain.
2. Enjoy the Views From Above
Get above the clouds by taking a trip on Heavenly’s Gondola, a gorgeous 2.4-mile ride up the mountain. Hop on the gondola in the Heavenly Mountain Village and enjoy the ride to the Observation Deck—a small, 14,000 square-foot platform located at an elevation of 9,123 feet—where the views get even better, showing of sights of the entirety of Lake Tahoe, the Carson Valley, and the expansive Desolation Wilderness.
Powder days aside, one of the best things about skiing at Heavenly are the incredible views. And the Sky Express lift brings you to some of the very best of them. Dropping you off at an elevation of 10,040 feet, Sky Express brings you to the highest point on the mountain—and to the highest lift-serviced terrain in Tahoe. After taking in the epic scenery from the top, you’ll be smiling all the way back down, no matter which of the runs you take: Skyline Trail, Ellie’s, Liz’s, or Ridge Run.
3. Take a Chance Gambling
Feeling lucky? Heavenly offers easy access to the five world-class casinos on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe. The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Harveys Lake Tahoe, the Lakeside Inn and Casino, and Montbleu Resort and Casino, all offer a wide variety of gambling options in addition to fine dining and entertainment. If you’re looking for a night on the town, you don’t have far to go.
4. Visit The Loft at Heavenly Village
The Loft at Heavenly Village is South Lake Tahoe’s only live-performance theater, in addition to being a high-end lounge and restaurant. Chef Lisa Devincenzi-Miller creates a full array of handcrafted Italian cuisine, while the full bar features award-winning wines from around the world. You’ll find close-up magicians performing around the lounge seven days a week. The award-winning show Magic Fusion features magicians from around the world performing nightly, plus additional entertainers throughout the season.
5. Ride the Coaster
As if flying down a mountainside isn’t enough, this winter Heavenly introduced a new way for you to get your thrills in while visiting the resort: the Mountain Coaster. This wild ride includes 3,400 feet of track, two lateral loops, and some pretty stellar views to boot.
6. Tube the Hill
Snow tubing is so much fun that it’s almost guaranteed to make you feel like a kid again. There’s no better place to take part than at Heavenly—in fact, the resort’s Tubing Hill is popular for people of all ages—in the winter and summer, where a special surface keeps the fun going year-round. What makes it so great? Well, the “magic carpet” conveyor belt that transport you and your tube back to the top can’t hurt. All the fun, without the work.
We know, we know. For some of you skiers and boarders out there, the time on the slopes is nice, but the weekend doesn’t really get good until the après party. Well, Heavenly’s notoriously rowdy Unbuckle will not disappoint. With its cheap drinks, bumping tunes, and “Heavenly Angel” dancers, the energy could not get higher—in fact, located at the mid-mountain Tamarack Lodge, it’s already at 9,150 feet. You’ll probably want to leave the kids at home for this one.