The countdown is on, and from intense competitions and events to the return of the halfpipe, there is a lot to get excited about this season at Heavenly Mountain Resort, Lake Tahoe’s largest winter playground.
“Heavenly is a super high-energy resort, and the improvements we’ve made this year reflect that spirit,” said Pete Sonntag, Heavenly’s general manager. “Last year, even with the lack of snow, there was a great vibe on the mountain. With forecasts calling for a return to a more favorable winter weather pattern and a full year to enjoy programs like Unbuckle, we’re going to take it to the next level.”
Unbuckle, North America’s number one après ski party, is back and those looking to elevate their game off the mountain will have seven opportunities per week this year to perfect their dance moves.
Unbuckle at Tamarack Lodge is Lake Tahoe’s highest elevation après ski party featuring music, half-off drinks, dancing and the lovely Heavenly Angels – skiers and riders by day and go-go dancers when the sun dips below the mountain tops. The party takes place from 3:30 to 5:30 every night.
“I knew we were onto something with Unbuckle,” said John Wagnon, Heavenly’s senior director of brand marketing, “when you’d see as many people in street clothes as ski boots. The party was so much fun that people who hadn’t even skied that day would ride up the gondola to party on the mountain.”
On the food and beverage side, Heavenly has re-imagined the menu and experience at Gunbarrel Grill inside Lakeview Lodge and has created the ultimate on-mountain guy’s hangout. Flat screen televisions will dot the landscape while friendly waitresses provide table service featuring made-to-order gourmet burgers and a ridiculously huge selection of well-priced microbrews.
“This restaurant will be a bit of a man cave,” said Steve Turner, Heavenly’s director of food and beverage. “But for guys looking to catch part of a game while having the best burger and beer combination on the mountain, this will be the place.”
The parties aren’t the only place Heavenly is raising its game. The Terrain Park Crew will work with Snow Park Technologies this season to bring the halfpipe back after a four-year hiatus. This all-star team will build an 18-foot, competition-quality pipe in High Roller Terrain Park. Lake Tahoe will be an ideal backdrop for this 500-foot-long pipe with a 56-foot-wide transition. The location on High Roller creates an orientation that allows for a uniform consistency between both sides of the pipe, meaning one side won’t melt faster than the other.
“Our parks have become a differentiator for us over the past couple of seasons, especially our ability to have a legitimate park right when we open in November,” said Sonntag. “The return of the halfpipe and the partnership with signals that we intend to continue to raise our game and provide one of the best park experiences in North America.”
From being out front to a blast from the past, the free-wheeling days of ’70s hot dogging returns to the famous moguls of Gunbarrel this season.
From March 29-31, 2013, the resort will host the U.S. Freestyle Championships, building on Heavenly’s long-standing tradition of freestyle skiing and competition. Heavenly’s own Sho Kashima, a member of the U.S. Ski Team, will join the nation’s most accomplished freestyle skiers to showcase their talents, as they prepare for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Also featuring the aerial competition, this will be the rockin’-est competition of the season, highlighted by fireworks and a live concert.
“Having the U.S. championships at my home mountain is one of the coolest things I can imagine,” said Kashima. “I can’t wait to show the nation the world’s best mogul run!”
“Heavenly is the place for a high-energy snowsports vacation that features big events, and an après experience that is just as fun as the on-mountain experience,” said Sonntag. “This year’s improvements show that we’re going all in to deliver on that promise.”
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One of the largest resorts in North America, Heavenly spans 4800 acres, climbs to Lake Tahoe’s highest elevation at 10,067 feet and features 97 trails for every level of skier or snowboarder.
For more information on Heavenly Mountain Resort visit skiheavenly.com or call 800-HEAVENLY.