on February 19, 2001
Heavenly Valley is one of the BIG FOUR (there are over 20 downhill and X-C resorts in the area) of the most well known alpine resorts in Tahoe: Heavenly, Squaw Valley, Kirkwood, and North Star. I would say it and North Star are the best suited for families though you can't go wrong with ANY of these places (Squaw Valley was, in fact, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. It has some wonderful runs for more advanced skiers!). There is an excellent ski school at Heavenly Valley that I would highly recommend for beginners (see separate Heavenly Rockets entry). Most of the trails are intermediate, but there are also plenty of blacks and double blacks for the expert skier. There is a half pipe that is new and being further developed for snow boarders. There is a new gondola (Winter 2000-2001) that accesses the top of the mountain so that you do not have to park or ride a bus to either base camp (see separate Gondola entry). The views are spectacular and varied depending upon whether or not you are skiing the California (great views of Lake Tahoe) or Nevada (wonderful views of the flat, patchwork valleys and Carson City) sides of the resort. I actually preferred the runs on the Nevada side, but the views at the top of Ridge Run on the California side can not be beaten. If you take the Gondola to the top of Heavenly, make sure you can get down a moderate blue (intermediate) run! Average temperature in Tahoe is 27 degrees due to the dryness of the winter climate, so even on the top of the mountain, we did not experience the bitter cold that sometimes makes skiing miserable. In fact, one GORGEOUS day, I would have been completely comfortable without a ski jacket!
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