Heavenly, Northstar turn lifts for 2014-15 season; Kirkwood delays opening | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Heavenly, Northstar turn lifts for 2014-15 season; Kirkwood delays opening

Snowmakers line Heavenly Mountain Resort’s California Trail last weekend in preparation for opening day. Heavenly is scheduled to open for the 2014-15 ski and snowboard season on Friday.
Courtesy Heavenly Mountain Resort |

Skiers and riders can count on making turns at Lake Tahoe this weekend. Heavenly Mountain Resort and Northstar California Resort officially open for the 2014-15 ski and snowboard season on Friday.

Opening at 9 a.m., Heavenly will operate the Gondola and Tamarack Express, accessing 14 acres and 1.5 miles of skiable terrain on California Trail to Tamarack Return. Heavenly will also offer a variety of terrain park features on the left side of California Trail and limited ski and ride school offerings. Free shuttle buses for guests will be available from the California Main Lodge parking area to the Gondola.

Northstar will open Big Springs Gondola at 8 a.m., followed by Arrow Express, Vista Express, The Big Easy quad chair lift, and Big Dipper mid-mountain magic carpet at 8:30 a.m. Terrain will be offered for all ability levels, including access to popular slopes such as Skid Trail, Lumberjack, Main Street to mid-mountain, and The Big Easy learning slope. The Northstar Ski and Ride School will offer instruction as well. Additionally, terrain park features will be offered via Skid Trail.

“We are proud to be able to offer season pass holders two great options in Heavenly and Northstar for early-season skiing and riding. Heavenly’s and Northstar’s experienced snowmakers and the two largest snowmaking systems on the West Coast have enabled us to provide the best snow surfaces conditions at Lake Tahoe,” said Pete Sonntag, Heavenly’s vice president and chief operating officer. “Our teams will continue to take advantage of the cold weather that’s in the forecast to continue to expand terrain, and we are excited to kick off the 2014-2015 season.”

Heavenly kicks off opening day with the party starting at the bottom of the Gondola in Heavenly Village. A live DJ, the Heavenly Angels, giveaways and free Heavenly Donuts start opening day activities at 8 a.m. The first 100 guests will be entered into a pre-opening raffle for a pair of skis or snowboard. Guests in two random gondolas will also receive lunch at Tamarack Lodge.

At the first Unbuckle at Tamarack après party of the season at 3:30 p.m., the first 100 guests will also receive a raffle ticket for a pair of skis or snowboard, a GoPro and Smith goggles, as well as Hard Rock Hotel and Casino swag. Unbuckle takes place on Fridays and Saturdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. with a live DJ, half-priced drinks, giveaways, food specials, lots of dancing and the lovely Heavenly Angels.

The party continues past opening day with Winter Ignite on Dec. 5-6 and 12-13, featuring Unbuckle après parties, the Heavenly Angels and a free concert in Heavenly Village by Young the Giant on Dec. 13.

The Village at Northstar invites guests to its variety of fine shops, restaurants and 9,000-square-foot ice rink, which officially opens Friday. In celebration of opening day weekend, guests are invited to savor complimentary morning S’mores in The Village before the lifts open, and Starbucks will offer complimentary coffee samples at the Big Springs Express Gondola.

The Cabana Bar and Big Springs at Mid-Mountain will offer drink specials, and live music will play on The Village Stage from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. As always, Northstar will offer complimentary S’mores throughout The Village daily at 3:30 p.m. Kids are invited to participate in the Ripperoo Parade in The Village Saturday, Nov. 22 at 3:45 p.m.

Looking ahead to the holidays, Northstar’s Holiday Kick-Off Weekend is set for Friday, Nov. 28 through Sunday, Nov. 30 — complete with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in The Village, horse-drawn carriage rides, kids’ parades, caroling, letters to Santa and live music on The Village Stage.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort will continue to make snow when conditions permit in an effort to open as soon as possible. Known for its legendary big-mountain terrain, Kirkwood is committed to delivering a top-quality experience to its guests; the resort has elected to reschedule its opening day in order to continue with preparations and to deliver the best-possible start to the 2014-15 season.

Available only through Sunday, the season pass offering the best value and access to Tahoe’s three premier mountain destinations, Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar will be available. The Tahoe Local and Tahoe Value passes offer access to more than 263 trails, 14 terrain parks and 10,270 acres of terrain all on one pass. For the best prices of the season on all Tahoe passes and info about pass holder benefits, visit http://www.epicpass.com.

“The value of the passes to our three mountains is unrivaled,” Sonntag said. “Skiers and riders have variety, outstanding guest service, and reliable snow surface conditions. Plus, with the relaxing family fun at Northstar, the high-energy vibe at Heavenly and the remote, big mountain challenge at Kirkwood, skiers and riders can choose what type of experience they want to have.”

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