Powerful early-season storms combined with the area’s largest and most advanced snowmaking operations have allowed Vail Resorts’ Lake Tahoe mountains – Heavenly Mountain Resort, Northstar California Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort – to open early with 111 acres, Tahoe’s most terrain and finest surface conditions, all on one season pass.
Instead, Heavenly and Northstar will open on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, with a combined seven lifts and eight trails, totaling 51 acres. On Friday, November 16, Kirkwood will open one lift and five trails, accessing another 40 acres and Heavenly will open Dipper Express, giving access to mile-long Orion’s, adding another 20 acres, weather and conditions permitting. All told, by Friday, the three resorts plan to be open with nine lifts, 14 trails and 111 acres, by far the most accessed by one pass at Lake Tahoe.
Colorado’s Heavenly and Northstar had originally planned to open on November 16 with Kirkwood following on November 21.
Not only will the resorts open early, but their expertise in the art of snowmaking traditionally gives guests confidence that they’ll be skiing and snowboarding on the most consistent and reliable snow surfaces Lake Tahoe has to offer.
“No need to bring your ‘rock skis’ to our resorts,” said Pete Sonntag, Heavenly’s general manager. “Our resorts have a reputation for opening with quality in addition to quantity. The guest experience is always first and foremost at our mountains and providing the best skiing surfaces possible plays a huge part in that.”
Heavenly will operate Tamarack Express Chairlift on Wednesday, accessing upper California Trail and Tamarack Return. By the weekend, the resort plans to add Dipper Express and Orion’s run, one of Heavenly’s famous mile-long groomed cruisers. All told, the resort will offer over 30 acres of skiable terrain. Everything will be accessed via the Heavenly Gondola. The resort will also kick off season two of Unbuckle, the ski industry’s highest-elevation and highest-energy on-mountain party, starting at 3:30pm.
“When you come to Heavenly, be ready to go all in from Day One, with ripping skiing followed by the industry’s wildest après-ski party,” said Sonntag.
The Way It Should Be at Northstar
Northstar will open four lifts on Wednesday, including the Big Springs Express Gondola, Big Easy, Arrow Express and Vista Express chairs, giving access to Pinball, Main Street, Upper Main Street, Lumberjack, Woodcutter and Easy Street trails. One of the beginner carpet lifts will open as well, opening up some terrain specifically for new skiers and riders. Ski school will also open early, as well as on-mountain dining. The Village at Northstar will also be open, featuring shopping, dining and access to the resort’s 9,000 square foot outdoor skating rink.
“This last storm brought phenomenal snowfall and our snowmaking team has been hard at work to make ensure we have the extra coverage needed to provide a high quality experience,” said Northstar COO Bill Rock. “Our guests expect the best and we’re ready to provide that, so why wait?”
Adventure at Kirkwood
Kirkwood will open Chair 5 (Solitude) accessing about 40 acres of terrain including Race Course, Mokelumne, Lower Monte Wolfe, Lower Zachary and lower Olympic
“We’ve got two-and-a-half feet of Mother Nature’s finest augmented by some machine-made snow,” said Casey Blann, Kirkwood’s general manager. “If the amount of people hiking our terrain over the weekend is any indication, we’ve definitely got the goods at Kirkwood.”
Tickets and Info
Lift tickets will be available at early-season pricing and can be applied toward the purchase of a season pass. The Tahoe Local Pass remains unmatched in value, price and experience with access to more than 263 trails, 14 terrain parks and 10,270 acres of some of the best terrain in the world at Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California and Nevada. For just $459, the Tahoe Local Pass pays for itself after just four days and then passholders are skiing or riding for free the rest of the season.