Heavenly Valley Area

I don't advise out-of-bounds skiing at downhill resorts, particularly at places like Heavenly Valley, which prohibits out-of-bounds skiing. However, there is just about no way to complete a continuous Tahoe Loop without crossing through and out of Heavenly Valley, South Tahoe's huge downhill ski resort, which extends north and west from the 10000'+ Monument Peak.

However, there is a way around this ethical dilemma: Ski inbounds one day, and ski out of bounds (starting outside of the resort, and without buying a lift ticket) on another day. I did the latter in January 2004, starting and ending at the Cold Creek Valley trailhead, located at the end of High Meadows Drive, off of Pioneer Trail Road (free parking at the end of the road is very limited). I skied roughly east up-valley, and then turned due north around where the big power line crosses the 7400' contour, leading to the rocky peaklet 9175'. From there, I briefly skied into the downhill resort, going inbounds just above the top of the Waterfall lift, continuing down to the top of the Powderbowl lift, and skiing left into the "Powderbowl Trees" area before going back out-of-bounds. I continued south of west to a saddle at 7800', and descended due south all the way back to Cold Creek (I skied along the north banks of the creek until I reached a small bridge around 6560') and the High Meadows Drive trailhead. (This loop tour was about 8 miles with 3000' of gain; the stats and profile at the top of the page are just for the portion leaving Heavenly from Powderbowl Trees.)

The two routes described above (which I did in a single day's loop tour), linking Heavenly Valley resort with Cold Creek, are of only moderate steepness, mostly 20 to 30 degrees. However, much of the surrounding terrain is steeper than that, so use a topo map to find the kind of terrain you want to ski. That whole hillside is generally south-facing and not all that high (average elevation around 7500'), so don't expect these routes to be skiable much past mid-winter.

Heavenly Valley has two general entry areas, one at the end of Ski Run Blvd., on the California side of Stateline, and the other near Daggett Pass atop Nevada's Kingsbury Grade (from the Kingsbury Grade road, turn southward onto South Benjamin, and follow that one mile to the Boulder Lodge parking area). To connect with the next tour, well, as far as I can tell, you pretty much have to walk the roads.

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