Heavenly season at this Lake Tahoe resort
In an unprecedented move, the South Lake Tahoe resort decided over two months out that it would extend its closing date, which rarely ventures into May and was originally supposed to shut down its massive, 31-lift system by April 20.
Of course, the reason for an extended season is the massive amount of snow Heavenly and all Northern California resorts have received this winter. Despite a slow start, the snow began arriving by mid-December, providing an early Christmas present. And it kept right on snowing through January and into early February.
Heavenly Mountain Resort received 167 inches of snow in January, marking the most snowfall in a single month since the resort began keeping data in 1975. The record snowfall has Heavenly’s snow pack 23 percent above average and heading into the second week of March the snowfall had exceeded 300 inches overall.
“We’re in one of those epic snow cycles that the Sierra mountain range is famous for,” said Blaise Carrig, Heavenly’s chief operating officer. “We beat the next closest month by 20 inches. There is no destination in the U.S. that has the kind of snow we have right now.”
Frankly, the Tahoe resorts were due for a wet winter. Two years ago was a down season and 2007 was characterized by warm temperatures and below-average snowfall. That combination led to a forgettable season in not only Tahoe but all of California where skier/snowboarder visits were down 1.6 million from the previous year (7.8 million).
For Heavenly season-pass holders like Justin St. Onge, it’s about time. The Marquette, Mich. native has been waiting for a season like this since he decided to call South Lake Tahoe his home six years ago.
“Yeah, definitely, it’s been a pretty good year, especially after the last two, which were horrible,” said Onge, 29. “We’ve had consistent snow all season.”
Russ Pecoraro, Heavenly’s director of communications, says extending the season two more weeks is a way to reward loyal pass-holders like Onge, who skis at least five days a week thanks in part to living only a few blocks away.
“It’s a chance to give people like our pass holders the value that they didn’t get last year,” Pecoraro said. “But it is important to know that it is weather dependent. If we don’t get more snow, we may not extend it.”
Like many Heavenly loyalists, Onge gravitates toward the tree runs, especially on powder days, which were frequent in January. One of Heavenly’s greatest drawing cards for expert boarders and skiers like Onge has always been its abundance of trees.
“Heavenly is so big and has so many tree areas that you can always find secret stashes (of snow) that no one knows about,” he said. “Even a couple weeks after a storm you can still find some stashes no one has skied.”
Good news for all Heavenly visitors this year has been the long awaited upgrade of the Olympic chair, which went from a dreadfully slow, old-fashioned two-seat wooden bench to a high-speed quad that cut the ride time from 18 minutes to around five.
“It was the type of lift that if you rode up with someone you had time to hear their entire life story,” laughs Pecoraro. “Olympic had been underutilized in the past, now a lot of people head over that way, so we got the desired result, people moving away from the Comet and Dipper lift.”
Not only does the Olympic lift now transport people up the hill in no time, they can easily access three new runs – The Pine, Cloud 9 and Bohemian Grove. Cloud 9 is a classic groomer run, The Pine is a mild tree run that is frequently groomed, while Bohemian Grove offers the type of tree skiing that makes Heavenly, well, Heavenly.
“It’s beautiful in that area, but it does get skied out in a hurry,” Onge said.
Jeffrey Weidel is a Sacramento-area free-lance writer with over 25 years of skiing experience.
Author Jeffrey Weidel, an award-winning writer from the Sacramento region, can be spotted skiing the powdery slopes at Lake Tahoe-area ski resorts or trying to lower his handicap at local golf courses. He can be reached at email@example.com
Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.
Pet Care | Real Estate | Restaurants | Tech | View All | * Add/Upgrade Business
Placer County News HeadlinesRocklin Burglary Suspect Killed by PoliceRocklin, CA- This morning February 25th, 2017 at 10:01 AM, The Rocklin Police Department responded to a residential burglary in progress on the 4900 block of Bradford Place
Roseville Police Activity Weekly Update (2.23.17)The City of Roseville police activity weekly update for the period covering February 17-23, 2017
Fine Forgiveness at Sacramento Public LibrarySacramento Public Library is waiving all overdue book and material fines through Wednesday, March 15 as part of its new Fine Forgiveness promotion
Public Meeting: Sierra Joint Consortium for Adult Education(AUBURN, CA) The public is invited to attend the Sierra Joint Consortium for Adult Education (SJCAE) public meeting on March 15, 2017,
Seniors First Represents Capital Region in National Campaign(Auburn, CA) - Surprisingly to some, individuals age 60 and older in our area continue to experience an increasing rate of hunger.
20 Year Upgrade Project for Northstar Ski ResortAUBURN, Calif. -- The Placer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a series of actions to guide upgrades and improvements to the Northstar California ski resort
Real Estate Watch: Home Seller's Market Roseville, CA - Realtor, Julie Jalone of MagnumOne Realty in Roseville, is asking why more homeowners are not taking advantage the current seller's market being caused by high buyer demand and low inventory of home for sale.
Top 5 Healthy Heart Habits : A Dose of Vitamin Ray with Dr. RayDid you know, heart disease is still the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States? In fact, per The American Heart Association
Autism Studies: Placenta Provides Time Capsule(Sacramento, Calif) - In two recent studies, researchers at UC Davis have shown that placental tissue can provide critical information about the epigenetic
Winners of American History Essay Contest honored in RosevilleRoseville, CA - Congratulations to winners of the American History Essay contest sponsored by Roseville's Gold Trail Chapter
Placer SPCA Announces 2017 Board of DirectorsRoseville, CA - The Placer SPCA has announced the election of its 2017 Officers for the Board of Directors.
Hyundai Veloster: Unconventional compact hatchbackRoseville, CA- The first thing one notices about the Hyundai Veloster is the odd door arrangement. It's an ingenious idea, putting two doors on the passenger side of this compact hatchback
NEWS: In Case You Missed It