Heavenly Mountain Resort opens for the 2018-19 season

A small crowd gathers at Heavenly Mountain Resort Friday about 90 minutes before it opened.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — There has been a small blizzard for about two weeks atop Heavenly Mountain Resort.

Their powerful snow guns have been blowing homemade white stuff, so without a drop of anything from Mother Nature, the Vail Resorts-owned property opened for the season this morning.

A small handful of skiers and snowboarders arrived well before 7 a.m. to be first ride the gondola and the first to reach Tamarack Express, the one lift available, to reach California Trail and Tamarack Return.

By 7:30 a.m., there were just nine standing in line compared to last year when Heavenly Village was a madhouse 90 minutes before the scheduled opening. There was also about 6 inches of fresh snow that fell the night before stoking the excitement for all winter sports lovers.

Heavenly’s opening was delayed for about 90 minutes while personnel prepped Tamarack Express.

The snow, or any inclement weather, has yet to arrive this season, but the guests waiting in line were amped to get on the slopes.

One boarder wore a red white and blue cowboy hat and a red, white and blue shirt to go along with a stars and stripes patterned snowboard all while carrying an American flag.

Another was dressed to look like some kind of knight or even a superhero with shorts over tights, a cape and a decorative headband.

At 8 a.m., the crowd started to grow and a DJ got the party going with music loud enough to hear a mile away.

Everybody waiting was treated to coffee, hot chocolate and donuts.

On the mountain, Heavenly’s house band 91-50 was scheduled to play in the afternoon at Tamarack Lodge to go along with ski and snowboard giveaways and group photos.

The next South Shore resort scheduled to open is Kirkwood Mountain Resort on Wednesday, Nov. 21.

Sierra-at-Tahoe has snowmaking abilities but not to where it can start the lifts churning. They are at the mercy of Mother Nature and, hopefully soon, she starts with this year’s snow dumps.

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