After all these years, I had never experienced spring skiing, and then back-to-back, I skiied at Sun Valley Resort and then most recently at South Lake Tahoe both during the month of April. Thanks to Jenn Boyd and Sally Gunter who seem to know a thing or two about the area, I landed at Heavenly Mountain and took in some of the most spectacular views I’ve ever seen from a ski slope. Below is the view of Lake Tahoe from the Skyline Trail at Heavenly.
Some of these shots, albeit stunning, are a little grainy as I took them on my iPhone rather than face the risk of skiing with my Canon 7D. Alas. So I traded in freedom for clarity, light and lens quality. That said, this visual journey will give you an idea of what Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe is like for skiing in the Spring.
You’ll note that we were comfortable enough in a fleece and/or a sweatshirt hoodie and there were times we stripped those off as well. In other words, it was sunny and warm and most people were skiing without hats and gloves. It was in fact, the last few days of skiing before they were slated to close the slopes for the season.
Like Sun Valley, there are a host of day lodges where you can grab drinks and food, although I noted that it is more expensive in general than Sun Valley, probably because of its close vicinity to the San Francisco Bay Area. The Lakeview Lodge sits at 8,250 feet, East Peak Lodge is at 8,625 feet, California Lodge sits at 6,565 feet, Steins is at 8,070 feet, Sky Desk is at 8,548 feet and the Observation Deck is at 9,123 feet.
There’s also the Bear Cave, where children can learn how to ski at the Ski School Lodge. In general, I felt that South Lake Tahoe is a fabulous place to travel as a family as there are a boat load of kid friendly options throughout the resort.
There’s also tubing, snow biking, sledding and ziplining at Adventure Peak. Here’s a little jump for gratitude at the bottom of the mountain. On a sunny glorious day like this one, it’s hard not to be grateful.
Then, there’s the ultimate joy of spring skiing. While the snow may be slushy at times and some of the trails will show some rough patches that aren’t entirely covered, you also have the sun, crystal clear blue skies and the relaxed atmosphere of skiiers taking a break at the day lodges. People sit in Adirondack chairs that are scattered throughout the area in front of the lodge, drink beers, eat chicken wings and fries all while taking in the beautiful weather.
For socializing Apres Ski, there are 17 restaurants and bars across the mountain, including the infamous Tamarack Lodge & Bar, a smokehouse American Grill, the Cafe Blue, Booyah’s which has gourmet burgers and 97 varieties of microbrews, Sky Desk for shrimp and veggie kabobs, California Lodge & Bar for grilled sandwiches and tacos, East Peak Lodge & Star Bar for garlic tries and BBQ, Boulder Lodge & Bar for chili-cheese dogs and patty melts, Lakeview Lodge, which is located at the top of the Tram and has unrivaled views of Lake Tahoe alongside fire pits, Steins & Umbrella Bar to experience their Beer Garden and Stagecoach Lodge & Bar for cheese steak, pastrami, portobello and more.
While we’re talking about the upside to spring skiing, I would be remiss not to include a few shots (all credits Heavenly Mountain Resort) from the mountain’s winter months, especially after some fresh fallen snow. Ahhh yes, that glorious powder!!
Bottom line, South Lake Tahoe is a great place for family travel during any season. We plan to return in the summer and/or fall to experience the outside adventure activities when skiing isn’t an option. Think skylining, boating, hiking, swimming, tubing and other outside festivities.
All photos credits: Renee Blodgett, except for the winter shots (the last four shots) which are from the Lake Tahoe/Heavenly Mountain Resort website) and the top shot which is from www.ski-msa. org.