Heavenly, CA and NV April 3 and 5, 2023


Well-known member
Monday 4/3/23
Heavenly opens for passholders at 830 on Monday (weekends and holidays for everyone). I wondered why the usual suspects were not waiting for Tram which I parked close to. When I went there, I was told it was only running for employees, so I put on skis near base of World Cup and skied to Gunbarrel that starting loading about 825 (I got on before 830). Heavenly reported 2” new and at bottom it seemed like it was going to clear up and was supposed to remain cold. It did remain cold but did not clear up as it snowed on and off during the day and the top was often in clouds and it was windy, the coldest April day I’ve skied in a long time.

I rode Sky chair twice before 9, first skiing the new inch or two on Ridge Run into Ridge Bowl where it was not smooth or deep enough to keep from hitting bumpy bottom. I moved to Nevada and found deeper new snow in Milky Way Bowl. My tracks barely visible in center.
Next I skied Dipper chair 4x finding some decent new snow, but it was hard to avoid hitting hard bottom. At 10, I hiked over big hump that has formed to left at top of Dipper and skied left side of Milky Way Bowl. New snow was a little deeper and I went through Gate 1 into Mott Canyon skiing Bills where new snow skied well and sluffed a lot. I next went through easy to get to gate 4 and worked my way right to ski some of Widowmaker and Snake Eyes. At the top I went right and skied low angle new snow to and past top of Galaxy and found more new humps to get over to get to Nevada Trail which I skied to Stagecoach base. Under Stagecoach chair is roped off due to lack of clearance.

Heavenly announced last Friday that they were cutting back operations beginning Monday and would only be running Stagecoach, Dipper and thankfully Mott Canyon in NV, with shuttle from Boulder parking to Stagecoach. Some people were upset to lose North Bowl and Dipper. To me it mostly means if there is enough new snow to make it worthwhile, I have to figure out best way to ski the Gondola. They did not announce Tram would be closed to public and even worse on a windy day with highs on mountain in teens, that East Peak Lodge, where I planned to warmup, would only be open outside where they have BBQ on covered metal deck. There were 2 ladies with 3 little girls who also needed a warmup and didn’t know where to go so I showed them the way to Tamarack Lodge with one crying most of the way up cold Dipper lift and down Sam’s Dream run that avoided the worst of the flats getting to lodge.

My phone was dying quickly dropping from 30% to 20% charge while I was in lodge. I hadn’t brought right cable to charge from external battery and charging station was not working so after riding Tamarack and skiing California Trail to a very early entrance to Maggie’s Canyon, I rode Groove and skied Advanced Roundabout with a couple drops into untracked steeps between corners to my car. Besides charging phone, I changed to mittens with liners and moved heat packs from gloves and car to parking closer to where I’d end day.

I skied one Sky lap starting on Liz’s then into trees closer to lift before returning to Nevada and catching run of the day, Outer Limits, from gate A into Killibrew Canyon.



The top was very lightly tracked and new snow was deeper and subsurface soft enough that I didn’t feel it. I found entrance to Pipeline that I skied, then took an early exit from it to get more untracked before catching higher Killibrew exit. It was good enough that after riding Mott and Dipper, I got back to gate A and repeated Outer Limits. I stayed out of Pipeline and quickly found hard layer underneath on lower half of Outer Limits, but still had untracked turns. Then I found great untracked deep enough snow in what used to be called The Meadows (to skiers left of Boundary Chutes). Looking down into Meadows and looking up to where I skied.


which meant taking lowest exit from Killibrew that required three 12-25 sidesteps up to get out. I did one more lap down Mott trying to get above and past Rocky Point to North 40/Promised Land, but was too low so I skied some of Bill’s the got in below Rocky Point and skied good chopped up new snow in what is usually cliffs.

After riding Mott and Dipper again, I skied California Trail, finding some untracked to left then more on drop towards Maggie’s Canyon where I skied left side of gully for first time this year. I went back up to top and skied some low angle untracked in trees between Canyonland and High Five and to left of High Five, then skied left side of Waterfall. After riding stopping a lot Groove, I skied next to ropeline above Gunbarrel and on left side of it before cutting across and finding shallower new snow to right of East Bowl. World Cup, the bottom of East Bowl, was getting firm as new snow had been scraped off except along very edges. I quit at 3:55 with over 28K.


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I don't have time or energy to write 4/5 up tonight and may not be able to in AM as I need to get out of cabin. I skied Heavenly 9-4, catching first Tram - 31K including 3x Killibrew and 3x Mott. After returning to cabin and changing, I dropped my powder skis for free tuneup that I won earlier in year that expired in 10 days, then stopped at new brewpub about 6 blocks from cabin that is having a soft opening (other location is past Y). I had a pint of Expedition Citra and bought a 4-pack to take home. Then I shoveled roof of cabin for an hour and really need a shower.

I went out gate that I don't think is on any maps. Sign with name of gate is mostly buried at right.

View to E after going through gate.

After going through gate, I passed up this.

This is some of what I skied instead. I also skied Killibrew's Boundary Chutes twice, only once hitting lowest exit.
Wednesday 4/5/23 (the long version)
Finally have time to add more. EpicMix has me loading Tram at 8:57 (after adjusting for time zone), then I shared first chair on Powderbowl at 9:06 with two other guys and had first chair to myself on Sky at 9:11. I had two fast laps there with no traffic, but line started building on 3rd lap. I skied top of Liz’s and found my friends taking an ill-advised Swing trail to bumped out W-facing Ellie’s for their first run. Then we skied excellent groomed Canyonlands together before moving to Nevada. I took high traverse above Milky Way Bowl to gate A to Outer Limits in Killibrew. Snow was getting hit hard by early morning sun, but still was soft and had room for more tracks.
I skied some steep nearly untracked in front of patrollers in Boundary Chutes and exited high enough to avoid the lowest Killibrew exit. After riding Mott, I tried some of the E/S-facing to lookers right of lift but it was hard to find consistent snow. I rode Mott and Dipper and traversed to gate A into Killibrew again and got into high left entry to Pipeline which skied better than two days earlier. Boundary Chutes at left, Pipeline is diagonal top before right edge.
I caught skier coming down Pipeline after me.
Next time up Mott, I took highest easily reachable gate to lookers left and got on traverse to Bill’s,
but smooth packed powder into Snake Eyes looked and skied great. Since Dipper line was also growing, I skied Nevada Trail to Stagecoach base and caught up to my friends entering Upper North Bowl. We skied Olympic, then next time up skied Stagecoach run together.

Heavenly opened Comet (they had announced on previous Friday that it was done for season after that weekend, but it also opened Tuesday when Dipper had full maze) which eliminated Dipper line so we rode it and skied to Tamarack lodge via Sam’s Dream. One friend went in for a beer while other and I skied Cascade under Tamarack chair. They were nearly done for the day so after a break at lodge and riding Tamarack I tried to get them to right of reservoir to avoid flat getting to Maggie’s but failed. They went up Groove to return to CA base while I rode Powderbowl and Sky (where singles line was about 5 min) and started my adventure for the day.

Riding Sky with a patroller earlier, I’d asked about little known Beach Gate. He said it was open and should be good, but Forest Service rules are that if you leave through a that gate or Fulstone Canyon or Firebreak, you are not supposed to return (unless at base). He said snow ended at least 1,000 vertical feet above Kingsbury and they realize that people return to Killibrew from Beach and Fulstone. So I went for it. View from hike to Beach Gate off Skyline.
Overhead sign for Pinnacles at center, top of Dipper to right. There were probably three or four tracks leaving gate; two were going right where you would be committed to a long descent and hike to road. The two tracks that exited area cross the middle left of this picture. Second one is more zoomed. Both taken from near top of Bill's.

I followed the one or maybe two going left that traversed above untracked snow in my previous post. Since it was after 2 PM, E-facing and starting to re-freeze at over 9K, there was a light zipper crust on Fulstone Canyon face where I came down that was not a problem for me. I returned to Killibrew and ski deeper into still great Boundary Chutes and was stuck on lowest exit where I counted the three step-ups at 12-25 sidesteps. I did one more lap on Mott, skiing excellent lightly packed powder on Bill’s. Due to effort and elevation, it was warm enough at bottom of Mott Canyon to have to remove jacket on chair while I stayed cool on Dipper and skiing groomers on Stagecoach.

My day was not done as from top of Dipper I skied CA trail and a better route down Maggie’s Canyon than earlier. There was a big line on Groove, the only way beside long flat hike to Roundabout, so I returned to the top via Powderbowl and Sky. I skied Pinnacles, my first (non-powder) time down it in its prime as coverage is great and W-facing had been getting a lot of sun. Skier (on horizon to right of triangular rock) coming down Pinnacles at 3:30.
This is an 8500 pixel panorama looking up Pinnacles, then past airport to Lake. Namesakes at left?
I rode Sky again and skied some of Double Down then some trees before taking Ridge to Upper Mombo as I was too tired to try Waterfall. I entered Groove from left side where there was no line and joined one of the many doubles loading from the right. I skied to CA base using Hogback gate to Gunbarrel and stayed left of run further than previous day. Snow was good there and on the left side of East Bowl, although World Cup where chair was running for racers only was scraped off. My car was parked 20’ from where I took off my skis. I was not that concerned about getting caught in something like this that happened to someone while transitioning from touring to downhill near Kirkwood although I knew enough to avoid skiing off big cornice like this that is behind top of Sky chair.
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