Gondola – Heavenly, CA

View up the line from the Gondola Plaza.
Lower terminal building.
Departure side at the bottom terminal.
Inside the bottom terminal building.
Tire contour.
Euro-style tower 6.
Lower section of the line.
Epic views of Lake Tahoe.
Mid-station unload.
The midstation only serves up-bound cabins.
Breakover towers with a CWA Omega cabin.
The entire mid-station with cafe and viewing platform is built above-grade.
Imagine a gondola terminal split in half and placed end to end.
Leaving the mid-unload.
Upper lift line.
Towers 19-21.
Upper terminal with vault drive.
The drive terminal building has maintenance bays.
Depression towers at the top.
Transfer rail to cabin parking.
Half towers above the mid-station.
View down to South Lake Tahoe.
Tower 9.
Arriving back at the bottom.
Arrival side of the bottom terminal.
The top breakover before the middle station.
The short downhill section after the observation deck.
A tower near the summit.
View down to the top terminal with Tamarack Express in the background.
The high point of the lift.
Another view of the summit towers.
View down towards the mid-station.
View up towards Tamarack Lodge.
Split towers above the observation deck.
Tower 26.
25 and 24 in two different colors.
Underside of the middle station.
A downbound cabin passes the mid.
The entire middle station.
Another view of the two sides passing.
A cabin over Lake Tahoe.
View down the steepest part of the line.
Cabins over South Lake Tahoe, California and Stateline, Nevada.
Monster combination assemblies.
Lower part of the lift line.
Tower 12.
View up the face of Heavenly Mountain.
Towers near the bottom terminal.
View down the first stretch of the line.
View up at tower 8.
Worldbook 2
Doppelmayr Worldbook entry.
Doppelmayr Worldbook entry.

22 thoughts on “Gondola – Heavenly, CA

  1. Collin December 11, 2017 / 9:51 pm

    This is probably biggest and most expensive lift that Otten installed anywhere. He always rushed into things and tried to come up with the biggest grandest plans for all his ski areas. His fatal flaw was thinking it was all about him and his image as an industry leader, doing whatever Intrawest and Vail were capable of. Unfortunately, he was a bit too greedy, and his company crumbled under a crushing debt load, but many of his former resorts got some really good lift investment out of the deal.


  2. Nosewhistle July 25, 2018 / 3:55 pm

    He skimped on the cabin parking though and they’ve been hanging on that line now for 18 years!


    • skitheeast January 31, 2019 / 11:01 am

      I think there is cabin parking below the top terminal.


      • Nosewhistle April 28, 2019 / 11:50 am

        Nope, sorry, I worked there for many years and a cabin storage garage was never built.


        • JP2E February 1, 2020 / 4:08 pm

          Where does the railing on the top terminal go? Is it to pull cabins off for maintenance? I figured that there was no parking, I have never seen those cabins off the cable. Its a beautiful machine, too bad Vail has not spent much in California the past decade. Comet was down for two days again this past weekend.


        • RT February 1, 2020 / 5:36 pm

          At the top terminal the rail is just a stub. It can clearly be seen in the photo. There is only room for a few cabins.

          The original plan was grand and first class. I saw the plans. This rail was to lead to a cabin conveyor which would transfer all 138 cabins downstairs to a massive basement parking garage.This garage was to spread out toward Tamarack and Von Schmidt with all the needed food outlets, retail and level access to Tamarack chair on top. Those light duty stairs that bring you down from the top station were only intended to be temporary.

          If the current top station design appears hap-hazard it’s because 20 years later it is still incomplete!

          As the summer of 2000 progressed it became increasingly obvious that ASC was running out of money and the original plans began to get cut, including the legendary “J – chair” which was to provide direct access from base of Sky to top of Gondola. 20 years on, access to the Gondola from California is still a pain and “J chair” is still just an idea.

          Liked by 4 people

        • Joubin Pakpour February 1, 2020 / 10:57 pm

          > Thanks, I knew about the ramp not being built to tamarack but had no idea the original design called for a cabin barn, that is too bad, I wonder how much use it would get with gondola running both summer and winter. It seems like it’s offline for only a few months out of the year and during windy storms, how long would it take to put them into storage and bring them out. Loading the chairs back up on sky express seems like a good two to three hours. I was also sad that the original north bowl / Olympic chair with the angled mid station was never installed, but I recall that being more a trpa issue than money. >  >


  3. snowbasinlocal12894 August 19, 2018 / 11:32 am

    Does the mid station have spacers in it? Does park city’s Orange bubble have them too? Both lifts have half mid stations.


  4. Michael January 31, 2019 / 2:53 pm

    What do you mean by “spacers”?


    • snowbasinlocal12894 January 31, 2019 / 3:33 pm

      The system that spaces out the chairs/gondolas evenly in the terminals. Im wondering if the mid stations have them too.


      • Michael March 15, 2019 / 8:27 pm

        The “Mid Station” is only on the uphill side…and since you can unload and reload there, yes- it has spacing…or synchronization.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Peter Landsman March 15, 2019 / 8:03 pm

    There is so much snow in Tahoe right now that I was able to ski the entire lift line for photography purposes. This is such a badass lift!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Billy B. March 16, 2019 / 11:26 am

      That is a fantastic run, I skied it after the big snows of 2017 and it is up there for my favorite all time runs. Long vertical with no crowds, amazing lake views, impressive gondola, what’s not to love!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Joshua May 10, 2019 / 7:18 pm

    How could you possibly ski under the gondola?
    Heavenly does not allow it as you will have to cross the ski area boundary to ski under it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter Landsman May 10, 2019 / 7:48 pm

      There is a backcountry gate for those feeling adventurous behind the mountain coaster. The Forest Service supports public access to public land. I had a great run!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Joshua May 10, 2019 / 10:51 pm

    Oh cool.
    So can I just ski through the gate or do I have to get special permission?


    • Ryan Murphy June 13, 2019 / 3:17 pm

      As it’s non-patrolled terrain, even if it’s accessed from a resort, always follow backcountry safety procedures. :) Beacon, probe, shovel, partner, etc. Slackcountry is amazing if you do it right.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Will March 21, 2020 / 8:21 pm

    Does the observation deck and corresponding cafe operate in winter?


    • JP2E March 22, 2020 / 9:04 am

      Yes it runs pretty much all year, except for some downtime for maintenance during spring and fall. The full restaurant and observation deck are open when the gondola is running.


  9. pnwrider March 6, 2021 / 3:56 am

    This gondola will always hold a special place in my heart! It is the first gondola I have ever ridden in my life, I was ten at the time! Back then I wasn’t nearly as knowledgeable about aerial ropeways, and assumed when looking at the trail map prior to visiting, that it was going to be like an aerial tramway. Little me was so thrilled to see what in my mind was the middle ground between a detachable chairlift and aerial tramway!


  10. YobB1n June 25, 2022 / 7:40 pm

    This is one beautiful gondola!

    Liked by 1 person

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