Heavenly indeed. PHOTO: Courtesy of Heavenly

This article, and distribution, was paid for by Visit California and produced in conjunction with POWDER.

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Heavenly Ski Resort is a place where the nightlife and powder days go hand-in-hand. Where après spotlights go-go dancers, and the evening entertainment is not just an open mic night at a rustic ski lodge, but also show-stopping live music performances or festivals with DJs and neon lights. At Heavenly Ski Resort, the skiing is just one part of the resort experience.

Just steps from downtown South Lake Tahoe, with its hopping boulevard, a gondola whisks skiers into the mountains and the Tamarack Lodge. From here, spend the day skiing from lift to lift, criss-crossing the mountain's 4,630 acres, which are oriented toward to the lake, to make the most out of the panoramic views. Up here it's all blue—sky and water divided by a rim of snow-capped peaks.

There's a lot of ground to cover at Heavenly Ski Resort, with more than 97 trails and 28 chairlifts. The Sky Express takes skiers to 10,067 feet—the highest elevation of any ski resort in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Ski as much fresh snow as you can find in the glades. For a day-ender that will make your legs burn for weeks, mosey on down to the Gunbarrel Express for laps down 1,600 feet of moguls. If it sounds punishing, that's because it is. But Glen Plake pioneered this run with his annual mogul skiing contest, the Gunbarrel 25, which challenges skiers to do as many mogul laps as they can in a day. So, in honor of Plake's mohawk, no trip to Heavenly Ski Resort is complete without at least one lap down Gunbarrel.


Heavenly is a good host when it comes to delicious grub and fare. There are more than 10 restaurants to choose from on the mountain, serving everything from Philly Cheesesteaks to Vietnamese Pho. For a Bavarian sausage and a pilsner, ski down to the Powderbowl Express on the California side and grab a table on the patio at Steins. For a menu with 97 beers to choose from, take the tram to the top and go to Booyah's.


In South Lake Tahoe, après easily phases to dinner and drinks and dancing and suddenly it's 2 a.m. and you probably should put yourself to bed so you can ski in the morning. To get you warmed-up, the ski resort hires a resident DJ to play at the Tamarack Lodge every Friday and Saturday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Midweek, go to Tap, where happy hour features deals on craft beer from 3 to 4 p.m. every day. Then let the night take you away into clubs that offer bottle service, where DJs play with a tempo measured by lights. You'll quickly understand why Heavenly attracts so many bachelor and bachelorette parties.


Heavenly makes it easy for visitors to stay slope-side, and there are many mom-and-pop motels and B&B's in South Lake Tahoe that are reminiscent of the 1960s and ’70s—the Coachman Hotel is a newly renovated motel that embraces the Mid-Century Modern with a mountain lifestyle and California vibes.