Heavenly to widen ski trails

Heavenly has been given the OK to make on-mountain improvements including widening ski trails. | Courtesy Heavenly

The Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) has approved improvements to existing skiing and snowboarding terrain at Heavenly Mountain Resort.

The improvements at Heavenly will include selective widening of ski trails, removing trail obstacles and relocation and/or realignment of some portions of existing snowmaking air and water pipelines to improve user experience, maintain user safety, increase energy and water efficiency, and maintain native species. Project work could begin as early as spring/summer 2018.

“Heavenly Mountain Resort is an exemplary partner. Throughout the planning of this project, they have worked alongside our commitment to improve recreation experiences for our visitors,” said Jeff Marsolais, LTBMU Forest Supervisor, said in a press release. “Together, we will continue to work on innovative and unique resource protection measures that meet the needs of the public, while providing world-class recreation on National Forest System lands.”

Ski trail widening to reduce bottlenecks and improve skier flow will include tree removal and selective boulder relocation on about 12 trails, with grading required in two locations to match the widened area to the grade of the existing trail. Due to the widening, any existing snowmaking lines will be relocated to the new edge of the trail. Removal of obstacles, such as boulders, stumps and logs, will take place on 11 trails to improve natural snow surface coverage, improve early season use of those trails, and conserve water used in snowmaking.

The proposal to remove trail obstacles was addressed in the Heavenly Ski Resort Master Plan and includes protection of native plants and revegetation, removal of invasive plants, chipping of large woody debris and existing felled trees, stump grinding and boulder height reduction.