New Heavenly ski lessons are debuted for 2016-17 season |

New Heavenly ski lessons are debuted for 2016-17 season

Tahoe ski lessons are plentiful this season with several resorts offering customizable options

Anthony Gentile
Snow covers the Nevada side of Heavenly Mountain Resort during a sunny day last winter. Heavenly is offering customized and on-demand lessons for the 2016-17 season, as part of a focus on enhancing the overall guest experience.
Courtesy / Heavenly Mountain Resort |

A skier or snowboarder with little experience on the slopes has made their way up the mountain at Heavenly Mountain Resort, but is having trouble getting back down. The day started out fine but has basically turned into point-to-point falling.

Frustration begins to set in along with the thought, “I should have just taken a lesson.” In the middle of a day on the mountain at Heavenly, that wish is now a reality with new Heavenly ski lessons that are being introduced this season.

“How do we make it so you’re going to be able to access the whole mountain and have a good time,” said Kevin Cooper, senior communications manager at Heavenly. “There are so many places on the mountain to go to that [without] the skills of at least an intermediate, you’re not going to experience.”

For the 2016-17 winter season, the new Heavenly ski lessons include customized private lessons along with on-demand lessons on the mountain. The latter can be found at Ski and Ride School kiosks located at different spots on the slopes in addition to base locations.

“We’re able to go and give you a lesson right there,” Cooper said. “It’s plug-and-play, and we can curtail that lesson to where you’re at.

“It hasn’t really been done before, and it makes it a lot more fun for people — it’s on-demand, and it’s an experience.”

Heavenly  Snow Park will again boast a strong après scene this winter, highlighted by Unbuckle at Tamarack on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays along with its season-opening Winter Ignite celebration from Dec. 2-10. Indie rockers Cold War Kids will headline this year’s Winter Ignite on the last day of the two-week party.


If you’re looking for the ski lessons Lake Tahoe has to offer, Heavenly Mountain Resort isn’t your only option. While focusing on big-mountain skiing and riding, Kirkwood Mountain Resort has also focused its efforts on improving the experience. The South Shore resort has added programming and competitions for 2016-17, but has done nothing to take away from its spirit and feel.

“It’s all about the big-mountain experience — big mountain, big snow,” said Cooper, a spokesperson for Kirkwood that has been there for more than two decades. “You’re not there for pomp and circumstance, you’re there to ski and ride.”

Kirkwood calls its Expedition: Kirkwood program the “master’s degree of ski school,” and the Lake Tahoe ski school curriculum has been expanded for this winter. The resort has upgraded the offerings of the program, which include out-of-bounds guides, Cat tours, backcountry instruction and ladies only one-day clinics and two-day camps.

When it comes to events, the big mountain’s big season is spring — including its legendary Banked Slalom event held Feb. 25-26. New to the schedule at Kirkwood this season is the IFSA Junior Nationals, where competitors ages 8-18 will go big during the four-day event March 9-12.

“These are junior big-mountain contests,” Cooper said. “These kids are amazing and I’m always shocked at their level of riding.”

Opening day at both Heavenly and Kirkwood is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 18. For more information, visit and

Originally published in the October 27, 2016, issue of the Tahoe Daily Tribune and regularly vetted for accuracy.

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