Lake Tahoe was a favorite destination for local Washoe and Paiute Indians for hundreds of years. In one high valley, up among the tallest peaks of the region, they found abundant game and a cool stream fed by large snowfields. They would later describe this area to the first white settlers as “heavenly” and it would come to be known as the Heavenly Valley.
The story begins with Heavenly Valley’s grand opening in December 15, 1955 when the resort opened with the legendary Gunbarrel lift and two rope tows in South Lake Tahoe. On New Year’s Day, 1968, Heavenly’s Nevada side was opened and the resort became the first to span two states. Heavenly installed a snowmaking system and began making snow in 1977. Today, Heavenly operates the West Coast’s largest snowmaking system. In 1990 the Mott Canyon lift was installed on the Nevada side, providing access to some of the best expert and extreme terrain in the region. The Gondola at Heavenly opened in December 2000. Connecting the mountain to the town of South Lake Tahoe, the Gondola is located just steps away from lodging, world-class gaming and Tahoe’s legendary nightlife. The 12 minute ride is enjoyed by guests year-round and offers breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe, the Carson Valley and the surrounding Sierra Mountains.
In May, 2002, Vail Resorts, Inc., acquired Heavenly, making it the fifth resort in the company’s portfolio of premier U.S. mountain resorts alongside Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone. Vail Resorts has revitalized Heavenly with numerous capital improvements, provided a new approach to service and supported the local Tahoe community through a corporate stewardship program. With a resort that spans two states, 4,800 acres, with 30 lifts and a 15-acre Adventure Peak activities area, Heavenly has quickly become one of the top year-round mountain resort destinations in the United States. Vail continues to support Heavenly and the South Lake Tahoe community. In February 2011 Heavenly plans to debut the Tamarack Lodge at the top of the Heavenly Gondola. The 15,000 square-foot day lodge will seat 500 people inside and an additional 250 on a 4,000 square-foot deck. The Tamarack Lodge will be the first lodge built at the resort in 31 years.
Heavenly prides itself on offering exceptional guest service, amazing terrain for all levels of skiers and riders, and creating the most memorable experiences for all who visit.
Heavenly operates in cooperation with the US Forest Service.