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Heavenly Lake Tahoe Is Pure Heaven for Families

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By Margot Black

Our family recently had the pleasure of enjoying a late-winter wonderland at Heavenly Ski Resort, and it was undoubtedly one of the most picturesque places I have ever seen. Situated in South Lake Tahoe, it is the largest resort in the region and offers an absolutely phenomenal playground for family-friendly skiing and snowboarding. This magnetic destination is perfect for a bucket-list family ski adventure.

Heavenly is extraordinary because of its visually stunning scenery at every turn. Lake Tahoe's sapphire-blue waters surrounded by snow-capped mountains at this world-class resort definitely inspired all of us to get out on the mountain and ski more.

Despite having an impressive variety of ski runs -- around 28 lifts and 97 runs -- the resort is still super accessible, so we didn't have a hard time at all finding our way around the area. Another family-friendly aspect was that signage is excellent. Large, visible signs direct skiers to the easiest route, family ski paths and more.

To avoid crowds we traveled during the week, when the resort was very light in attendance. Staying naturally socially distanced from other people was practically effortless. And because traveling safely is such a major priority during these uncertain times, we checked the Sierra Safely website before and during our stay for updates on current state and local advisories. This made it easy to be informed travelers and adhere to the guidelines they provided for safe travel.

We stayed at Zephyr Point, which is located on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe. Our rustic lakefront cabin offered some truly breathtaking views and was only a seven-minute drive to the resort. It provided a safe and desirable option for our lodging because we were able to sequester ourselves away. We shopped at a nearby market and cooked most of our meals in the comfort and safety of our own kitchen. We also enjoyed a few tasty grab-and-go meals from local spots, including Lake Tahoe AleWorx, Capisce and Casey's.

 

The best areas to ski here straddle the dividing line between California and Nevada, and my family enjoyed the variety of being able to ski and snowboard in both states. I stayed in the easy California area, while husband and son adventured out into more advanced paths that took them into Nevada. From beginner to advanced levels, Heavenly can accommodate everyone. One thing that's really important to consider right now is that all reservations are done in advance, so don't plan on trying to do any walk-ups during this COVID time.

We chose to access the California side of the mountain since we needed an area that provided the largest amount of beginner skiing. Some of the options for access points include Heavenly Gondola, Heavenly Stagecoach Lodge and Heavenly California Base Lodge. Heavenly Gondola, which is located in Heavenly Village, is known for its panoramic views the whole way up. It was somewhat difficult to take photos in the gondola itself since the windows were foggy; however, the observation deck that's only accessible on the way up had some picture-perfect views.

The Heavenly Stagecoach Lodge in Nevada only has intermediate skier access. But if you park at Boulder Lodge it is possible to access some beginner terrain. It's a much smaller parking lot, so plan to arrive early. The main benefit to using this access point is that the lift lines are considerably less busy. You'll have quicker access to the Nevada terrain, where you can find incredible views of both the valley and the lake.

For some next-level photo ops, I would recommend taking the Aerial Tram to Heavenly California Base Lodge instead of taking the gondola. A bonus is that this also gives you access to more beginner runs coupled with faster access to the Sky and Canyon Chair Lifts, which provide some of the most stunning views of the mountain.

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