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Q&A with Heavenly Mountain about current snow conditions

Our friends at Heavenly Mountain Resort answer all of your questions about ski conditions in South Lake Tahoe, snow making and more! Have more questions?

Submit them below in the comment field!

Q: I heard Heavenly is closing.

A: We have no plans to close the resort. Our mountain conditions are good, thanks to our hard-working snowmakers and groomers. With 22 lifts operating and 25 trails open, there are more than 14 miles of skiable terrain available. We are dedicated to continuing to provide our guests with as much terrain as possible.

Q: What's open?

A: We have 22 lifts and 25 trails open at this time, accessing 14 miles of the finest surface conditions at Lake Tahoe. Skiers and snowboarders can ride from Nevada to California but not the reverse. Convenient, green shuttles will run between all of our base areas. All four base areas are now open, as well as all three of our Ski and Ride School locations, serving every ability level. With Ante Up, we've got Tahoe's best terrain park in Nevada, but no terrain parks in California.

Q: How are you able to open so much relative to your competition?

A: Here at Heavenly, we've got the West Coast's largest snowmaking system. The crew has been hard at work this year, logging a record 964 hours of snowmaking to date, compared to 715 hours at this point last year.

Q: I hear it hasn't snowed in Tahoe all season.

A: We've got the West Coast's largest snowmaking system, and the crew has put in a record 964 hours so far this season to bring you 14 miles of the best snow surfaces Tahoe has to offer.

Q: It's all artificial snow, right?

A: That's correct, but the only difference between natural and machine-made snow is the shape of the snow crystal. Machine-made snow consists of cold air and water … just like natural snow. As often as we can, we're making high-quality snow on every open trail. And our amazing grooming team is out every night with state-of-the-art equipment to make sure the surface is just right in the morning.

Q: I’m a season pass holder. What kind of value can I get out of my pass right now?

A: First of all, thank you for purchasing a season pass. While there is no natural snow, our snowmakers and groomers have worked hard to ensure we provide our guests with quality groomed runs. We have more than 14 miles of corduroy and are dedicated to maintaining those runs and working to open more terrain. Also, with your season pass, you are able to access Northstar. Heavenly and Northstar, combined, have more lifts, runs, and terrain park features open than all of the other Lake Tahoe resorts combined.

Q: Is Heavenly running out of water to make snow?

A: We have plenty of water available for snowmaking and are continuing to make snow whenever possible.

Q: It’s been cold lately. Why haven’t they been making more snow?

A: There are several factors at play when making snow, mainly temperature. While it may be colder down in South Lake Tahoe, sometimes an inversion occurs, which means it is warmer at the top of the mountain and the temperatures are too high to effectively make snow. Our snowmakers use every chance they have to make fresh snow on the mountain. If the temperatures are right, they will be making snow.

Q: What is going to happen if we still don’t have any natural snow in a couple more weeks?

A: We can’t predict the weather, but we can continue to do our best here at Heavenly to make sure our guests and pass holders have terrain available until natural snow falls. We will continue to use the West Coast’s largest snowmaking system to make snow.

Q: So I have to choose one side or the other?

A: There is an on-mountain connection from Nevada to California, but you cannot get back to Nevada from the California side. For the most open terrain, Lake Tahoe’s best terrain park, and top-to-bottom skiing or riding with nearly 2,400 vertical feet, we recommend skiing the Nevada side at this time. After skiing the Nevada side, you can take California trail to the California side and finish your day there. The free, green shuttles will take you from the California side back to the Gondola.

Q: What if I don't ski or ride?

A: We've got sightseeing, tubing and sledding at the top of our Gondola. We also offer Unbuckle at Tamarack, Tahoe's ultimate après ski party at Tamarack lodge from 3:30 to 5:30, featuring half-priced drinks, a specialty food menu, DJ and, on Friday and Saturdays, dancers. After the party, you can ride down the Gondola and see the sunset over Lake Tahoe.

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Vanessa Vancour

Guest blogger Vanessa Vancour works for Noble Studios, the agency that helps manage digital development for TahoeSouth.com.

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