There’s no question that Lake Tahoe is an exceptional year-round destination. Whether you go to enjoy the sun or the snow, the resort area will not disappoint. What keeps people coming back time after time is the beauty of the lake: it’s not only the largest Alpine lake in North America, but also one of the most breathtaking sights you’ll ever see.
Recently, as the ski season was just about to end for the year, we decided to hastily put together a visit to Heavenly Valley, the grand-daddy of all the ski resorts in Lake Tahoe. Having not been there for a few years, we were pleasantly surprised by the changes. First off, the resorts have found a way to make hitting the slopes as easy as possible. We stayed at the base of Heavenly at the Marriott Grand Residence Inn (top rated for the area on Trip Advisor).
Because it was late in the ski season, we got a great deal on a studio room complete with a small kitchen and a balcony, and access to plenty of chocolate chip cookies in the hotel lobby (delicious!). Located walking distance to the Heavenly gondola as well as ski and snowboard rental shops, this hotel choice saved us the trouble of taking our car — or even a shuttle — to get on the mountain each morning.
The Grand Residence Inn is also walking distance to the casinos on the south shore, making a night out on the town easy and carefree. Even better (as far as we were concerned) was its location within Heavenly Village, which offers a wide variety of restaurants, coffee shops and retail outlets — not too many to make things crowded and complicated, but just enough to add convenience and relaxation to your trip. Our favorite dining spot quickly became Base Camp Pizza, where you’ll find gourmet-quality pizza and salads, and a wide selection of wine and beer.
But back to the skiing. First off, the ride up the gondola is spectacular. The views stretch far and wide across the lake, and provide a front-row seat to the layout of Lake Tahoe’s beautiful mountain terrain. Although our trip occurred in the heart of spring — in mid-April — we were lucky to get a snowstorm during our stay. This put everyone in a good mood and gave us an excellent base of white powder to make our skis fly.
Speaking of flying, to get to Lake Tahoe, we enjoyed a quick Southwest Airlines flight, direct from San Diego to Reno (Nevada). The drive to the lake was also easy and uneventful: no steep mountain grades, a great road (with fantastic lake views in some parts) and less than an hour of travel time. Looking back, it might have been the least complicated ski vacation we’ve ever taken.
That’s one big reason why Lake Tahoe is on our list for next year’s ski season. For the best views nature has to offer, along with unbeatable skiing and the opportunity to relax and unwind, there’s no better choice than Lake Tahoe and Heavenly.