"Under New Management," reads a figurative sign in front of this massive resort astride the California/Nevada state line at Lake Tahoe. Last spring, Vail Resorts, Inc., acquired Heavenly. That comes as a relief to many Heavenly devotees. One complains that "lack of cash has hurt the quality of operations." Indeed, the last owners siphoned off profits to capitalize other resorts. Vail, however, plans to improve Heavenly-to the tune of $40 million over five years-and will bring capital and energy to one of the most varied and scenic ski complexes on Earth. "Heavenly was worth the trip, if only to stand at the summit and look at the lake," says one awed reader. "Great terrain and plenty to do after skiing." Some whine, though, about getting around the huge resort. "Take your map," advises a reader, "because it's big" (3,500 acres). Snow at Heavenly "gets measured in feet, not inches," while mild weather and wide groomed runs make Heavenly an ideal place to improve your technique. Several of SKI's Top 100 Instructors reside here. Proximity to the downtown casino core permits 24-hour entertainment, shopping and dining, and the list of activities is all but endless. The bear that's Heavenly has been in semi-hibernation, but the grizzly is awakening and stretching its limbs again. -S.C.
Great Lodging Deals here.