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Whiskey, Ice (or Snow) and Everything Nice

By: JACOB FU
Author, Local Adventurer blog
With a grin that reached ear to ear, I looked over at Esther as she swirled her Old Fashioned in one hand and scrolled through photos from earlier that day with her other. We had just finished an amazing day on the slopes that reminded us why we love snowboarding at Heavenly at Lake Tahoe so much.
 
Around us was the buzz of people talking about their Epic runs, while others got excited about the extraordinary evening to come. Esther looked up from her phone to smile at me, we finished our drinks, and were off to fill our bellies with delectable bites and one-of-a-kind cocktails for the rest of the evening.
 
What comes to mind when you think of a ski or snowboard getaway?
 
Naturally, you probably think of hitting the slopes, but do you ever plan your trip around what you do afterwards?
 
During our previous trips, we focused so much on being in the snow that we forgot that it was only half the trip. Après-ski, or what I now like to call the important stuff, was always secondary in our planning.
 
After our recent trip to Heavenly, we quickly realized that we didn’t have to compromise by choosing great slopes or fun activities and entertainment. There are places that have it all!
 
When we arrived at Heavenly for a weekend getaway, I immediately knew that this would be a snowboarding vacation unlike any other. With drink in hand, I looked around at the surrounding mountain and lake and couldn’t help but be excited for the next two days.

Après adventures

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Not only does Heavenly have amazing views and great slopes, but the dining and entertainment left little to be desired! When we weren’t snowboarding, we were busy chowing down and imbibing.
 
We explored different types of restaurants, had drinks at bars and breweries, and even fit in some time at the casino.
 
Are you ready to hear about everything we fit into two days?
 
Base Camp Pizza was our first meal in the Heavenly Village and it did not disappoint. There was live music when we arrived and plenty of seating inside and outside. They have a casual and energetic vibe that really gets you excited to be at Heavenly. You’ll find families sharing a pie, friends enjoying drinks, and it’s a great place to people watch.
 
We shared a medium BBQ chicken pizza, salad, and fries, and practically had to roll ourselves out the door. They have a good beer selection and overall, it's just a great spot to spend an afternoon
 
Later that evening, we wanted to hunt down a local spot so we found ourselves over at Sidellis. This is a brewery with a really cool local vibe. They carry beers from breweries all around the lake and you can do tasters to see what you like.
 
What better way is there to experience Tahoe than drinking your way around the lake? If you also want to grab a bite to eat, they have pub-style food and a bunch of board games you can bring to the large picnic tables. We got into a pretty heated game of Jenga.
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They even have nightly magic/comedy shows as an extra side of excitement. We took our time enjoying our food, and after a few drinks, we decided to keep our night going elsewhere.
 
We ended our last night gambling at Montbleu Resort Casino & Spa. The advantage of being in Nevada is that there are casinos! The vibe at Montbleu reminded us of classic casinos straight out of the movies.
 
It wasn’t over the top, in-your-face Vegas Strip style but much more laid back so you can really take it at your own pace. Neither of us are big gamblers but we have fun playing a few hands of blackjack or dropping a few bucks in the slot machines.
 
You never know what might happen! Even if we lose, we just consider it the price you pay for entertainment.
 
When you do finally call it a night, there are a ton of different places to stay. We stayed at Basecamp Hotel because of its rooftop hot tubs, beer garden and a room called The Great Indoors. This was our bed, ‘nuff said.

The great outdoors

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With all the amazing restaurants and entertainment, you can’t deny the sheer beauty of where you are, too!
 
The slopes at Heavenly are absolutely amazing. We both snowboard on and off, but haven’t been in several years, so we were worried we’d be spending most the time on our butts, trying to relearn.
 
Instead we got some private lessons, which we highly recommend to anyone at any level. Esther went from being a falling leaf to finally learning how to do S-turns and I learned that I've been using the wrong techniques the whole time.
 
Besides having amazing runs, the area is filled with stunning views of Lake Tahoe, especially on your way up the Heavenly Gondola. We even spent some time driving around the lake to get sunset and sunrise photos at various viewpoints.
 
Whether we were partying all night and snowboarding all day, or vice versa, we had a great time! We can’t wait to head back to Heavenly at Lake Tahoe again!
 
 
Pro Tips:

  • Don’t limit yourself to just the spots near you. Sidellis was only 2 miles away but such a cool local bar.

  • Chat with the locals to find out the best spots and times to go. Many of the staff, waiters, and instructors live in the area and enjoy nightlife just as much as you do.

  • Check for happy hour times at each restaurant and bar to so you can sample more from local chefs and mixologists. Each place has its own specials.

  • Stay hydrated throughout the day, whether you’re on the slopes or at the bars!

  • Don’t miss the observation deck halfway up the Heavenly Gondola ride. You can only stop at it on the way up but it offers some of the best views of Lake Tahoe.

  • Whether it’s your first time or you think you’re an expert, consider taking private lessons. We’ve snowboarded plenty of times before this but private lessons helped us take it to the next level and learn to snowboard properly. We might have to take them until we get to black diamonds!

  • If you’re renting gear, go get fitted the evening before your ski/snowboard day. It’s usually less crowded and will save you time!

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