Heavenly Opens Two Days Early

By: Denise Wong Email
By: Denise Wong Email

South Lake Tahoe - Heavenly was supposed to open up on Friday, but the general manager says snow conditions up on the mountain were so good, they just didn't want to wait.

And a lot of people on Wednesday morning couldn't wait to get up on the mountain. Especially Jake Parker, the skier at the front of the gondola line.

"I got here around 2:45, 3 am," says Parker. "Just to make sure that we were going to be first. Nardcore! That's what we like to call it!"

For a lot of locals, showing up here isn't just part of the excitement, it's tradition.

"These are dedicated people who love the sport, who want to give respect to the mountain and be here on opening day," says Pat Pohl, a local skier who was also in line before the resort opened.

And what a rush! Once on the mountain, a sea of skiers and riders lined up at the Tamarack Express Chair Lift, eager to race right back down. The snow was smooth and powdery.

"The snowboarding is pretty nice right now. It's not too slushy, not too icy," says Drew Wigington, a local snowboarder.

"The snow is actually really good. We've had a fair bit of natural snow up on the mountain and we augmented that with the best snow-making system on the West Coast to produce absolutely fantastic conditions," says Pete Sontag, Vice President and General Manager of Heavenly.

"You know, the skiing is pretty much impeccable," agrees Jason Groffman, a skier on opening day.

"We're actually really thrilled with how many people have showed up for Opening Day," says Sontag.

On the first day, Heavenly was running the Gondola and Tamarack Express. Officials were looking forward to the upcoming storm in hopes it may bring much more snow to the slopes.

"Our plan right now is to open additional terrain this weekend. We'll see what the weather does, but we're very optimistic," says Sontag.

Northstar also opened for the season on Wednesday. Kirkwood and Squaw Valley open on Friday. Mount Rose Ski Tahoe hopes to open on the day before Thanksgiving.


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