SPOT TO SKI: HEAVENLY VALLEY
Elevation 6,850 to 8,500 feet; snow depth 5 to 12 feet; yearly snowfall 400 inches; skiers last year 20,000; season Dec. 15 to April 15
Anyone who likes to do his skiing against a background of gorgeous western scenery, and his after-skiing in some of the country's most famous casinos, would do well to try Heavenly Valley, Calif., a 2-year-old resort spotted on state highway 50 just 1 mile from the Nevada state line. From each of the four major trails (Gunbarrel, 1 mile, expert; Hogback, 1 mile, intermediate; Corkscrew, 2 miles, expert; Round-About, 3� miles, advanced novice running down from the top of the chair lift on Monument Mountain, there is a really spectacular view of Lake Tahoe. The scenery is almost as good from the sundeck of the combination restaurant and ski-rental shop at the base of the area, and of course from the snack bar close to the top of the chair lift, 2,000 feet above the valley floor. Entertainment at the Nevada casinos a short hour's drive away includes floor shows, dancing, gaming tables. Tips: Stein Eriksen (above), former Olympic and world ski champion, now heads the Heavenly Valley ski school and is teaching the new Wedeln technique to intermediates as well as experts; there are plenty of good motels along route 50 for overnight skiers.
SKIING COAST TO COAST
TD-top slopes, depth in inches; BD-bottom slopes, depth in inches; CR-ski crowd last weekend; SN-inches of snowfall last weekend
Heavenly Valley, Calif.: Snow storm which broke over entire Far West opened all runs. Press party next weekend to include beauty contest with season-lift-pass prizes. TD 20-24, BD 10-20, CR 400, SN 18.
Squaw Valley, Calif.: Two to three feet of powder hit mountain last weekend, opened Flying Saucer lift for first time. TD 48-60, BD 24-36, CR 500, SN 24-36.
Sugar Bowl, Calif.: New snow expected to open all runs on mountain. Sugar Bowl championships here Jan. 26. TD 48-72, BD 36-48, CR 1,500, SN 36.
Yosemite, Calif.: Runs 1, 2, 5 and Badger Hill excellent last weekend. TD 34, BD 31, CR 3,300, SN 22.