Fortune Friday

Posted May 3, 2024

Happy Fortune Friday! 

In this week’s edition of Fortune Friday, I want to look back on our 2023/2024 ski and ride season and reminisce on yet another incredible winter here at Heavenly. First, I’d like to start with some personal news: this was my 45th ski season, and for those that haven’t heard just yet, it will also be my last in my role as VP/COO of Heavenly and the Tahoe Region. I will be retiring later this summer so I can focus on playing and having fun in this amazing place, and most importantly, doing more skiing at Heavenly and Kirkwood in the winter! So, before we get into the season recap, I wanted to take a moment to thank every Heavenly employee I have had the pleasure of working with during my tenure here, as well as all of you who come to our resort – and a special thank you to those who enjoy reading my thoughts here on Fortune Friday. I enjoy sharing the day-to-day activities, inside information, and all updates that I have with you. With all of that said, Heavenly is in great hands with my successor. Shaydar Edelmann, VP of Mountain Operations at Park City Mountain Resort, will be coming in as VP & GM starting this summer. He is an exceptional leader and human being, and I can’t wait to see him thrive here in South Lake Tahoe. 

With all that out of the way, how about this season? I may sound like a broken record, but every season is different, and the comparison between this year and last year is a great example of that. This year, it took a while to get the snow we wanted (and needed in some cases). We relied heavily on our snow surfaces team early on, and they answered the call. It may have felt disappointing at times that we couldn’t get base areas like Stagecoach and Boulder open earlier this season, but we can only do as Mother Nature allows. It took some time to get the Face open as well, but once the New Year came around, so did the snow. February was great, but that storm in early March was just awesome. We ended up with close to five feet of snow in a week and were able to keep a lot of the lower mountain open to enjoy throughout the storms despite having insane wind gusts on the upper mountain. If you got to ski the Face, East Bowl Woods, Hogsback, or Stagecoach Woods during that storm, there is a good chance you got the best turns of the season in. It was deep, soft, and a ridiculous amount of fun. That storm also set us up with a great base for spring skiing, which we all love so much here in Tahoe. We ended up with 226 inches this season, which is just a little short of our recorded yearly average. 

We also got to try some new things this season. One was our reservation-based parking program, which worked extremely well at eliminating congestion around our base areas and neighborhoods. 65% of guests carpooled and parked for free, which is exactly what we were hoping for. It took some getting used to, but we are thankful for our guests who adapted. We also hosted a new event series this season called Brews and Views. If you got to join for one of the events, you know we had a blast. For those of you who couldn’t make it to one of them, we partnered with some breweries to have beer samples, and we added some food, music, and of course views from Lakeview Lodge.  

The event season was a blast like always, and we loved seeing athletes brave the storm for Air and Après, contestants racing down Gunbarrel, the support for our Pride event, and of course, the pond skimmers. Spring always brings unmatched vibes here in Tahoe, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. 

If you have any favorite memories of the season, I’d love if you could share some of them in the comments. Everyone’s experience at Heavenly is unique, with different “best days of the year” and fun days on the mountain. I am thankful for your support and excitement throughout the year; you made my last season one to remember. 

Lastly, now that the sun is out and temperatures are on the rise, I wanted to quickly let you all know that we are planning on beginning summer operations on June 14th, conditions permitting. We’ll announce more details on activities, events, and all the fun we have to offer soon. 

I will be back with more Fortune Fridays before I wrap for good. Enjoy the shoulder season, and I’ll see you around this summer!