Why does Heavenly leave us cold? For some reason, we just don't care for this place... but it has the most spectacular views of any ski areas I've ever seen. From the top looking out at the unfrozen blue water of Lake Tahoe and the snow capped mountains ringing it... gorgeous! Then on the ridge run over to Nevada side and the view of the parched Nevada country side and the bare brown mountains beyond - it's a view you shouldn't be able to get without being in an airplane. You can't capture it with a camera unless (maybe) you have one of those panorama jobs that gives 180 degrees of view.
Maybe it's the tickets - at $57 adult, they're the most expensive in the region. Maybe it's the people - with a gondola right down to the casinos, the mountain attracts more casual skiers, more dilettantes... people who ski one day, sleep late and hit the casinos the next day, then go on a sleigh ride and go home to write about their ski vacation. Maybe it's the terrain - there is an experts only section, Mott's Canyon, but it seems somehow an afterthought. Maybe it's the lift lines - they were the only lines of any consequence anywhere on our trip, at the Sky Express and Dipper Express, and they were under 10 minutes... but, dammit, at Kirkwood and Squaw there were NO lines. Maybe it's the curse of Sonny Bono, who hit a tree in the Orion trail area... we can take Cher or leave her, but we loved that little guy! Anyhow, intermediates can find lots of long cruising trails on the Nevada side. Experts should be able to find some interesting tree runs after a storm. Beginners get stuck, however, since the mountian is weak on pure beginner areas. In fact, the upper mountain beginner runs - which you need to use in the spring to keep out of the heavy slush - are in conflict with intermediate/expert access to other terrain. The poor beginners try to do their thing, which involves much side to side work and an occasional fall, while the better skiers just blast through hoping to keep up their speed so they can get to wherever they need to go without poleing or walking. This leads to occasional discomfort on both sides.
The grand finale - Heavenly is 'Highly recommended' for a one time visit. Go and take a good look around. You really do have to get up there and check out the scenery. Heck, you may even like it more than Squaw or Kirkwood! It's high on a lot of people's lists, just not ours.