advertisement

This hugely popular resort -- the only one on the South Shore -- has the highest elevation (10,067 ft.) of any resort at the lake and the most vertical feet (3,500) of any West Coast resort. Skiers and snowboarders of all levels will find something to challenge them, including four terrain parks, 4,800 skiable acres, 29 lifts (including a 50-passenger aerial tram), 94 runs, and a series of tubing lanes to race your friends. Heavenly is also the only resort with day care for infants as young as 6 weeks (up through 6 years of age), child-care and ski combinations for toddlers 3 to 5, and full-day ski programs for older kids. With arcades, recreation centers, bowling alleys, and movie theaters nearby, it's a great choice if you have teenagers or if you want to visit the big casinos at night. The Heavenly Gondola has multiple cars that can transport up to eight passengers from the South Shore casino area up to an observation deck at 9,200 feet on Heavenly Mountain. The 2-mile journey ends at Adventure Peak, which is home to a multitude of winter and summer activities, including tubing, snow biking, and snowshoeing in the winter; and hiking, rock climbing, and the children's Spyder Climber in the summer. The resort also recently invested nearly $30 million in improvements to the mountain, including two new high-speed lifts, six new trails, a new tubing facility, expanded snowmaking, a 15-acre beginner's area, and the new fine-dining experience, the Tamarack Lodge.