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snowsports@dead.net

By: W. Dire Wolff

South Shore - Lake Tahoe Resorts
Heavenly Valley
Kirkwood
Sierra-at-Tahoe

Heavenly Valley

On a good day, with fine powder laying atop well groomed trails, mild weather, and not too big of crowds…yes, the skiing is Heavenly. From this world class resort a snowrider can explore the slopes in two separate states on one single day. Heavenly Valley straddles a great mountain range that divides the states of California and Nevada. It is an expansive resort with 4,800 available acres that offers great variety in terrain and conditions. The mountain is tall enough that conditions usually vary from the summit to the base runs. Sometimes the summit runs can be barren windblown sheets of ice, but further exploration can unveil more protected bowl skiing for the more fair weathered snowriders. This resort provides some of Tahoe’s finest skiing and is easily accessible from the Casinos and hotels at Stateline.

Being one of Tahoe’s largest and most accommodating resorts, Heavenly attracts great crowds of snow seekers to the snow covered mountain valleys. But like Squaw Valley, the resort is large enough to handle the masses. Some people return to ski Heavenly year after year. There’s certainly plenty of slopes to explore and all the great places to eat and relax, you would expect from a world class resort. While making your way down the slopes you have two separate, yet spectacular views. From the California side, you have the view of majestic Lake Tahoe, and from the Nevada side you have a wonderful view of the arid desert valley.

The California side requires a long ascent up a chairlift towering above the infamous mogul fields of Heavenly’s Gunbarrel run. Besides returning down the expert only Gunbarrel run, there is a long slow beginner trail that winds down the mountain. Often crowded, the trail can be exhausting after a long day, and most people prefer to return to the California base by chairlift. The Nevada side is more forgiving base camp for beginners, intermediates, and families. There is a small lodge with basic concessions and services at the foot of a great slope for those happy with less challenging adventures. Yet, from the Nevada or the California side, the entire resort is still available by Heavenly’s efficient system of chairlifts.

Snowboarding is permitted throughout the entire resort of Heavenly Valley. The sport is furthered encouraged at the resort with two snowboard parks and two halfpipes. One park and half-pipe is located on each side of the resort.

Heavenly Valley is located off Highway 50 close to the Stateline area on the California, Nevada border. The resort has entrances and base lodges in both states. Discounts on local area lodging can be found through the toll-free Heavenly Valley Lodging information telephone service.

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Kirkwood

Weighing in at 2,300 acres of skiable terrain, Kirkwood may not be the biggest resort in the Tahoe area. But if you are looking for some of the hottest double back expert slopes or quietest beginner runs combined with some of the best snow in North America, then mark Kirkwood as one of the resorts you make sure to visit. Those that take the time to discover Kirkwood, usually find it to be one of the best snowrider experiences in the Lake Tahoe region. Although the scenic drive down Highway 88 makes this one of the more remote areas to access from the greater Tahoe region, it doesn’t deter those in the know from getting there. Route 88 provides an alternate highway to using Highway 50 and Interstate to access the Tahoe area. With all the local lodging, dining options, and beautiful mountain scenery that surround the Kirkwood ski area, many people find that they really don’t need to venture out explore the many other great experiences Tahoe has to offer.

Kirkwood encourages snowboarders and skiers alike to enjoy the wide open bowls and groomed runs. Most of the skiing and snowboarding is above treeline, providing a high Sierra feel to the resort.

Kirkwood Village provides a collection of slopeside condominiums and lodges tied together by roads, cross-country ski trails, and sled paths. The little alpine island of amenities can provide a relaxing getaway for a winter vacation. The ski area provides a network of well groomed Cross Country ski trails lined by wilderness. For those days when lift lines aren’t on the menu, a cross country ski adventure can really allow one to experience the majesty of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Kirkwood is close enough to the South Shore action to make it a reasonable destination, but Kirkwood Village was designed for those that wanted an alpine get away vacation.

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Sierra-at-Tahoe

Whether it’s the last stop after a fun filled winter vacation or one day outing to the mountains, Sierra-at-Tahoe’s location makes this one of Tahoe’s choice ski areas. Conveniently located southeast of Lake Tahoe on Highway 50, this resort serves as the southern gateway of Tahoe resorts. Of course location is not the only reason to come to this ski area. Sierra at Tahoe offers two terrain parks, a half pipe, and 2000 acres of skiable terrain. Although families can find this resort accommodating to their needs, 25% of the slopes are designed for expert snowriders.

Sierra-at-Tahoe offers an excellent set of programs for children, as well as snowboarding and ski instruction. The skill development center provides a unique opportunity for snowriders to advance their art. Snowriders all ability can benefit from professional instruction

 

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South Shore Resorts