My work this winter kept me from planning anything too far out so my ski season had been spent close to home (McCauley/Gore). But once the calendar turned to April and the worst of winter seemed over, I could start looking to see who still had good conditions. Though I've never been to Tahoe, I heard about the great winter they've had from a family member and Heavenly's heavy mix of blues and single black diamonds seem to fit my ski style.
Booked a flight on Southwest the week before using points (Buffalo->MDW->Reno and skis fly free!) and rental SUV through AAA. Buffalo was the cheapest of the airports I looked at in upstate NY (BUF, SYR, ROC, ALB).
It's just an hour and 10 minutes from the Reno airport. Not a bad first view of Lake Tahoe driving in on US-50. Locals say you just have to hope there's no rock slides/snow slides/etc blocking US-50 (and thankfully for me, there wasn't).
Stayed at the base of the Heavenly Gondola at the Marriott Grand Residence (booked on vrbo). 5 minute walk from my room to the gondola and restaurants, 10 minute walk to the casinos.
Being on east coast time, I was ready to hit the slopes at 5am. Unfortunately, I still had 4 hours to go before the gondola started up. Thankfully, a Starbucks across the street opened at 4:30am. I think I was their first customer both days.
Day 1 was bluebird skies. Skiing started out on the hard side but in little time, the mountain started to soften, especially at lower elevations, like the Stagecoach area. There is tons of snow everywhere and conditions were fabulous. Groomers, trees, bowls, all had great coverage. Skied the morning with some locals who were nice enough to let me tag along and they showed me all around the Nevada side. I kept smiling and thinking, here it is, April and it's skiing like it's February! Can't beat that!
Day 2, the clouds moved in but it also brought in some afternoon snow. The harder morning conditions turned to nice packed powder as the day went on. Very different from Day 1 but a great ski day nonetheless.
For me, Heavenly lived up to its name for the views and the ski conditions. The only negatives I heard about were the weekend/holiday crowds and the frequency of the gondola/chairlift wind holds. Fortunately, neither affected me. Locals were thrilled with their winter and Heavenly is planning on staying open until the end of May and Squaw Valley until July 4th, maybe longer.