The Tahoe ski season officially starts Friday (Nov. 20) when both Heavenly Mountain and Northstar California open for skiing and snowboarding.
However, anyone planning to visit either of these Vail Resorts in Lake Tahoe better have a reservation. A reservation? That’s right. This will be a different ski season due to the coronavirus epidemic with less skiers and riders on the mountain.
Only season pass holders (including Epic Day Pass) will have access to either Heavenly or Northstar through Dec. 7. After that date, day tickets will be released based on availability and will only be purchasable in advance. To ensure the best access to reserving a day on the hill, purchase a pass by Dec. 7.
To ensure your safety this season, all transactions across both Northstar and Heavenly will be cashless. The resorts are requiring all guests and employees to abide by social distancing and mask protocols.
Opening Day and week-of reservations for Heavenly and Northstar began Nov. 18. Pass holders can make early-season reservations from Nov. 20-29 for Heavenly and Northstar.
Both Heavenly and Northstar received 10 inches of snow on their summits by Wednesday morning and more snow was dropping throughout the day.
Priority Reservation Days for the core season (Dec. 8 through April 4) for Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood are also available for pass holders. For more information and to make reservations, guests should visit EpicPass.com. There will be no walk-up purchases of lift tickets.
For no pass holders, traditional lift tickets go on sale Dec. 8 and are subject to availability.
With limited early season terrain, skiers and riders can expect certain days to book up fast. But as resorts expand terrain, they will be able to accommodate more guests.
DINING: Heavenly and Northstar will follow the State of California’s guidance for indoor dining within the state’s Purple Tier – there will be no indoor dining offered at either resort until further notice.
While the resorts will not offer any indoor dining options, both resorts will have grab-and-go food options available for outdoor consumption. Restrooms will be open with limited capacity. Heavenly and Northstar encourage guests to bring their own water, food and snacks.
HEAVENLY TERRAIN: Heavenly will have beginner and intermediate trails open for skiing and snowboarding – Patsy’s, Maggie’s and Ridge Run trails.
Skiers and riders must use the California Base Area to access the mountain, with the Gunbarrel Express, Heavenly Tram, Powderbowl Express, Canyon Express and Patsy’s chairlifts opening at 8:30 a.m. To begin the season, there will be no skiing or snowboarding access from the Heavenly Gondola.
The Heavenly Gondola will open for sightseeing on Friday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Dec. 3. The ticket window will be open at 9:30 a.m.
Beginning Dec. 4, sightseeing will be open based upon availability determined day-of and will have reduced hours of operation, with day-of purchase beginning at 11 a.m. to prioritize skiers and riders. There will be no online purchase option for sightseeing; guests much purchase at the Gondola Ticket Windows.
NORTHSTAR TERRAIN: Northstar will open with a variety of beginner trails: Lumber Jack, Skid Trail and Upper and Lower Main Street. Skiers and riders will access trails using the Big Springs Express Gondola, Highlands Gondola, Vista Express, Arrow Express and The Big Easy chairlifts. Opening day begin at 8:30 a.m. and skiing and riding concludes at 4 p.m.
Heavenly and Northstar will continue to expand and open terrain as conditions allow.
KIRKWOOD OPENING: Kirkwood Mountain Resort is planning to open on Friday, Dec. 4. Guests are encouraged to visit SkiHeavenly.com, NorthstarCalifornia.com and Kirkwood.com for updates on terrain, conditions, and our approach to safety this winter.Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood require skiers and riders to observe all posted signs and warnings. Closed trails may contain hazards due to limited natural snow coverage and snowmaking operations.
EPIC PASS PRICES: Epic Pass price options will increase Sunday, Nov. 22. With Tahoe resort openings just around the corner, Vail Resorts Epic Pass holders get the mountains to themselves with exclusive early season access through Dec. 7 with any Epic Pass product, including the Tahoe Local Pass, Tahoe Value Pass or an Epic Day Pass.
TAHOE SKI RESORT OPENINGS
- Heavenly: November 20
- Northstar: November 20
- Boreal: November 23
- Squaw Valley: November 25
- Alpine Meadows: November 25
- Sugar Bowl: November 27
- Diamond Peak: December 10
- Homewood: December 11
- Tahoe Donner: December 11
- Granlibakken: December 18
- Mt. Rose: TBA
- Sierra-at-Tahoe: TBA