Heavenly, CA and NV 2/21-22/24


Well-known member
Another great day on the South end of Tahoe. Friend from FL had an extra parking pass for where he stays across from gondola and I got his cousin a Buddy pass, then after short line we loaded gondola about 9. (Didn't realize Heavenly is open at 830 all President's week). I thought I saw early that Heavenly reported 6" new vs. 4 at Kirkwood, but after skiing saw that was Tuesday's number and Wednesday was 1" which I had on my car overnight. But Heavenly had 16” new on Monday and there is a lot less competition for it than at Kirkwood.

We rode Tamarack and I skied some powder and found more bumps than expected in Big Dipper Bowl. We then rode Dipper and went into Milky Way Bowl, which is one of all of our favorites. They traversed to ropeline while I made some turns into steep line next to bowl before cutting over to find them. Even though it was before usual 10 AM opening, patrol was taking down rope into Mott Canyon gate 3 so I skied it twice early before riding Dipper and going into Stateline Chute using Killibrew Gate B after skiing along ropeline, my first time down that chute this year.
https://www.skiing-blog.com/heavenly-an-inside-guide/ for Stateline says "Boasting a 1,000 foot vertical drop, this 40-degree, north-facing avalanche path is the best place to find soft, chaulky snow after a storm." After skiing more steep and deep, more open, lightly tracked, I caught higher exit to Mott chair. Purple arrow is Pipeline. Most of Stateline (green arrow) is hidden.

Hill on left is Boundary Chutes and some of The Meadows, but skiing there makes it hard to get higher exit to Mott chair.

I re-connected with friends and we skied Milky Way Bowl again then Nevada Trail and went up North Bowl and Olympic and skied The Pines where I found a lot of short untracked. Next time up Olympic we skied to and had lunch outside Tamarack Lodge. It was sunny at first, then clouded up and started snowing, then after friends added heatpacks to their gloves the sun came back out. They announced over loud PA a couple of times for people to give up their tables after 30 minutes and it was incredibly crowded when I went inside to refill my water (and found a short line there). We rode Tamarack and skied CA Trail and passed up Maggie’s Canyon as we would have been late for meeting with friend who has moved to Minden and his sister, who I had not seen for many years. We eventually connected and skied a few runs from Canyon lift with them. We also skied Waterfall once with me finding more powder to ski along left side and in trees further left. After returning to and taking a couple of NV runs with Minden friend, I avoided downloading the gondola by skiing Firebreak, over 3K vertical side-country run that had enough untracked that I may need to take out my powder skis out and ski it again tomorrow. Lakeview shortly after gated entry posted "You Can Die" and ski with a partner and beacon. I survived but not a great idea to ski it alone so late in day.

May have been patrol who hiked up to communication towers on top of East Peak and left these tracks.

Some photos taken coming down Firebreak.

My tracks are the ones with turns in last photo. Lower down there was some bushwacking, a big log that I threw my skis off before sliding down it,
a couple of snowbridges over running creeks and some thin spots before I skied down hiking trail that got me close to gondola base. It was 420 before I took my skis off next to Lake Parkway after a more than 30 minute run.

My watch counted 25.5K. New friend who I let use one of my $131 Buddy passes (walkup $239, Northstar $269) bought me a Happy Hour beer at Libation Lounge that is short walk from where they stay. I went to Safeway and encountered my longest line of the day since I couldn’t use self-check as I was buying this 12-pack (less than cost of 4-pack at brewpub which also had long line).
First going to post some pictures. On California Trail on Wednesday taken by FL friend. Tamarack Lodge behind me.

Me and Jim, my Minden friend, at the bottom of Canyon on Wednesday, taken by his sister.

A couple of reduced to 5500 pixels wide panoramas. First is Firebreak on Thursday just after 1:30 PM.

Pinnacles panorama taken at 4:09 PM on Thursday.

Tried to catch some of the sparkle in the untracked snow above Pinnacles from afternoon sun.
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Long post about long day at Heavenly that began with me buying Buddy passes for couple with a kid ($131 vs. $239 walkup). Not sure what kid Buddy pass price was, but walkup is $167 which seems like a good way to not have skiers in the future. Gondola, where Scenic Ride to over 9K is $116 adult, $81 child and $104 Teen/Senior, line was longer than previous day but moved fast and I loaded not much after 9. I rode Tamarack and since it was still early skied CA Trail and Maggie's Canyon (bypassed it yesterday on way to CA to try to meet friend and sister) that was tough powder for first run. Then rode Powder Bowl and Sky and did hike on way to NV to saddle next to Monument Peak.

I had highest entry above Milky Way Bowl, (that is top of Dipper, Heavenly's highest NV lift, at left)

but did not stop for picture of tracks I left above traverse. Top of Dipper chair at left. I never rode Dipper to take picture of tracks, but got this from top of North Bowl much farther away. I know long arrow points to where I started and think shorter, lower arrow may also be my tracks.

Then blasted past group around Killibrew entry and skied Pipeline, my first time this season down chute and always exciting. Signs and entry into Pipeline.

Looking down Pipeline from high in it.

Next two pictures are looking up and down from lower in Pipeline. Pictures taken at same place. I went lookers left of rock.

Then met up with Minden friend and did a few North Bowl + Olympic laps with him to avoid lines higher on NV. Went to Comet/Dipper area hoping for a lunch lull but found long lines and rode Comet then skied Comet/Crossover/North Bowl run. My Minden friend in North Bowl. Our fathers went to high school together in San Jose in early 1940s, the same high school my brother, myself and my son and Minden friend's two older brothers attended. His father is still living and in good health, almost 24 years after mine passed away.
SSSDave from SkiTalk in North Bowl.

After finding Minden friend's sister in short Olympic line, I left them at top and skied Firebreak,
stopping at 2 pm near bottom on bench for lunch, 2nd photo is view from bench.


then went by favorite ski shop that was too busy to repair base damage on my 10 year-old powder skis and went by Olympic Bootworks for advice on new liners that are working well before I skied Heavenly from CA base for an hour and a half quitting after 4:30. Runs included East Bowl/Face where bottom is mostly closed as they are building huge jump then Gunbarrel on next lap. Then rode Powder Bowl and loaded Sky before 3:50 and skied fast lap down least bumpy left side of Ellie’s. I loaded Sky again at 4 PM closing time and had to tell patrol at top I was heading for Palisades which had great late afternoon light. Signs said choke open, so I ignored arrows directing to left above it, skied it and found a couple of rocks around fences. Looking back up

SW-facing Steins also had great light and good snow, then I had short singles line compared to long doubles line to get up Groove. Patrol had just closed West Bowl entrance so I moved fast to open gate above Gunbarrel and had a good non-stop run on left side of Gunbarrel, then East Bowl. I quit after 430 with 26.4K on my watch that I stopped when driving between gondola and CA base. I didn't start SkiTracks until top of gondola and also paused it while in car. It had problems before and after Firebreak. SkiTracks reported maximum altitude of 12,265’ (before Firebreak I saw just over 11K) when I probably only hiked to ~10K in saddle above Milky Way Bowl. SkiTracks says my delta (hi/lo alt diff) was 5,951’ And my two Gunbarrel chair laps after big drop from Firebreak show wrong altitude, way higher than bottom of Firebreak.

I have a lot more Firebreak pictures. It was good enough late on Wed that I skied my powder skis on Thurs (6th day in a row on them over two trips to Kirkwood and Heavenly). I missed going over log on Thurs, but still struggled after getting around corner past there to where exposure goes from NE to W/SW. Was surprised I didn't have to take off skis to cross road in Van Sickle Bi-State park on Thurs. as not much had melted in 22 hours.
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While not considered a classic ski view, I've always liked those 5K vertical drop views into Nevada from top of Milky Way & Motts/Killebrew Canyon.