Ski Heavenly in South Tahoe in the Spring
There's no better time to ski than in the spring, in my opinion! The snow is good and the weather is beautiful. One of my favorite places to ski in the spring is Tahoe Lake.
I usually find that my ski trips are primarily dependent on having the right gear. So before I launch into all the amazing details about Tahoe, let me share a few things with you. First of all, you can certainly purchase affordable and warm ski clothes and accessories on Amazon. You have to read the details and make sure they fit your needs.
Here's a quick look at some of my favorite skiing basics if you're looking to stock up on the details that keep you warm and comfortable while skiing. Please keep in mind, these are my preferences.
I booked a room at the Hard Rock Hotel in South Tahoe because I found an incredible deal that allowed me to stay at any Diamond Resort for 4 nights and 5 days in 2 separate locations for a total of $200 (so $100 for each place)! I know it always seems like these resort companies are trying to sell you a scam, some are, but if you take a few minutes to listen and ask the right questions, you can get lucky and find a truly awesome deal. For these offers, they always ask for about 2 hours of your time to walk you through a tour and timeshare presentation, but you are not locked into anything. Two hrs for a hotel for $100 total for 4 nights is worth it in my book.
Due to work schedules, I could only use the hotel for 3 nights but I maximized 2 full days in Tahoe skiing all Heavenly and catching the sunset from spots on the water! I chose to go at the end of March because there’s usually clearer weather. Since Heavenly is known for its beautiful lake view, I opted for a better chance of clear sunny days than snowfall. It worked out perfectly because it snowed a few inches earlier in the week and then was beautiful for both days. The second day was so warm that we didn’t even need jackets!
Both Heavenly mountain and the town straddle Nevada and California. We stayed on the Nevada side with the casinos and rowdiness. However, the California side has the breweries and a more local feel and is only a short walk away.
We flew into the Reno airport which is about a 45-minute ride from Heavenly. When you're planning your trip, don't forget to calculate in the price of a larger Uber so that your skis and boards can fit! Most cars will have a ski rack, but always check so that you are not forced to cancel your ride when they arrive. The ski bag we use for our skis is linked to the right! It is a double with rollers and a more sturdy shell to protect our skis.
The Hard Rock was less than a half mile from the base of the gondola so each morning we put on all our gear and walked the short distance. The gondola is a beautiful climb up the mountain and if you face backward you will get a stunning view of the lake that grows as you get higher up. When I ski, I like to start on one side of the mountain and work my way to the other, trying most of the runs as I go (Heavenly Trail Map). Once we got off the gondola at Tamarack Lodge (halfway up the mountain), we quickly made our way to the Sky Express lift via California Trail because the top of Sky Express has the best views of the lake. It is also the highest point of Heavenly at just over 10 feet of elevation. Ridge Run is the famously beautiful run that gives you the chance to ski with one of the best views on any mountain..the picturesque lake. After doing that run multiple times and stopping to admire the lake and mountains, we opted for the Skyline run to get to the other side. It's a bit of a traverse along the top of the mountain with gives expansive views of the land on the other side.
By the afternoon we made our way over to Milky Way Bowl which was full of moguls so gave us a great workout on the way down. Unfortunately, that bowl spits you out at the base of Galaxy Lift which is one of the slowest lifts I’ve ever been on. A few other great runs we checked out over the two days were Comet, Liz’s, and Olympic Downhill. Olympic Downhill is the longest run on the mountain at about 5.5 miles. It’s smooth sailing on that run, with a bit of a catwalk at one portion. One of my favorite parts of Heavenly is the infinite tree skiing options. The trees are just far enough apart so are easy to weave between and with runs on every side of the tree pockets you can easily jump in and out where you’d like. Heavenly quickly became one of my favorite mountains to ski with the ample blue runs and some great blacks tucked in around each lift.
At the end of our first day, we stopped at Tamarack Lodge (at the top of the gondola) where they had live music, Adirondack chairs outside, and easy access to beer. We relaxed with beers in hand and enjoyed the warmth of the sun for a bit before making our way back down to the hotel to freshen up. Since we wanted to watch the sunset over the lake, both nights we found spots with amazing views. The first night we were a bit swanky and went to a place called Edgewood Restaurant (another short walk from our hotel). Edgewood is a resort right on the water with a dining room that spills out onto a terrace overlooking the lake with gas fire pits. We ordered two bottles of wine and enjoyed them outside while we watched the sunset by the fires. We also ate dinner there because the restaurant was highly rated and it did not disappoint! We ordered the Pan Seared Sea Bass and the Coffee Crusted Prime New York Steak. Both were perfectly cooked and complemented by intricately cooked sides of vegetables and potatoes. The service was also excellent. If you are looking for a nicer dinner while in South Tahoe, I would definitely recommend Edgewood.
The second night we opted for a more low-key sunset experience after some of the best wood-fired pizza I’ve had to date. We ate at Lake Tahoe Ale Worx and ordered the Tartufo and Avventura pizzas. The toppings-to-crust ratio was perfect on both pizzas and we ate while watching a few March Madness games. After, we hopped in an uber and went 2 miles down the road, crossing to the California side of South Tahoe, to watch the sunset from a public beach near a restaurant on the water called Boathouse on the Pier. The sand was dry enough to sit and with a blanket and wine, we enjoyed the hour it took for the sun to dip behind the mountains. The Uber ride was $12 each way and we picked up the wine from a CVS on our way to the beach.
A few local spots that we didn’t have a chance to check out but that were recommended by locals we met were Hangar, Pourhouse, and Sidellis. South Tahoe can feel very touristy around the base of the gondola. But if you drive about a mile up the road into the California side, it has a much more down-to-earth local feel to it. I enjoyed Heavenly and South Tahoe so much that I can’t wait to go back.
Reach out with any questions about this trip and others! And connect with me on IG if you have trip suggestions, ideas, or asks! We all find special moments in each place we visit and I would love to hear from you about what you’ve experienced.