Heavenly Mountain Resort — Lake Tahoe’s largest ski area with more than 4,800 skiable acres stretching across California and Nevada — recently opened Tamarack Lodge, a 14,980-square-foot restaurant located midmountain between the top terminal of Heavenly’s gondola and Adventure Peak, the resort’s tubing hill.
For visitors, the new lodge — the first one built on the resort in more than 30 years — will be just another reason to visit Heavenly, which has had stellar ski and snowboard conditions since early December.
Construction of the lodge — which broke ground in August — was completed Dec. 18, more than six weeks ahead of its planned schedule. Featuring 500 indoor seats and 250 outdoor patio seats, the lodge is within walking distance to the gondola, which connects Heavenly with downtown South Lake Tahoe and Stateline, Nev.
Day-trippers — wear waterproof snow boots! — can take the gondola to the new lodge for lunch and enjoy spectacular views of Lake Tahoe or watch daredevils glide down the slopes from 40-foot-high glass windows that face the upper part of the mountain accessed by the Tamarack Express chairlift.
Diners will not be disappointed by the lodge’s culinary offerings. Offering a food-court-style setup, the main restaurant has five separate stations — the smokehouse, the grill, soups and chili, salads and artisan pizza — with the kind of comfort food that hungry, tired skiers crave after a day on the slopes.
-- The smokehouse offers sandwiches, such as tri-tip, pulled pork, smoked turkey and a half rack of St. Louis ribs. For non-meat eaters, there is a selection of vegetarian sides — baked beans, potatoes, cole slaw, creamed corn, French fries and mac-and-cheese.
-- The grill features burgers — the Epic Mountain burger, a classic burger and a turkey burger, hot dogs — all-beef or a chili dog — and hot sandwiches, such as a smoked Monte Christo, a mushroom-avocado melt, a turkey green-chili melt and a smoked ham-and-cheese.
-- Soups and chili offers adult and kids’ fare. In addition to a daily vegetarian option of black-bean chili, the area offers smokehouse chili, chicken corn chowder, clam chowder and a soup du jour. Here, kids can order chicken tenders, mac-and-cheese, grilled cheese, hot dog or kid’s cheese pizza. Note, kids’ meals include fruit or fries and a beverage.
-- Artisan pizza features two vegetarian pies — four cheese and mushroom-tomato-artichoke-olive — and pizzas with pepperoni, pulled pork with red onion and garlic, and a supreme with pepperoni, onion, mushrooms and peppers.
-- The salad area offers a caesar, a California, a pasta salad, and a gorgonzola-and-apple salad; carnivores can add smoked tri-tip, smoked ham, smoked turkey or fried chicken tenders to any of the salads.
In addition to the restaurant, the lodge also features a 4,320-square-foot patio, which visitors can enjoy sunny days. Toward the end of Heavenly’s winter season — which is currently scheduled to run through May 1 — the lodge will feature an outdoor grill.
The lodge is also home to Bar 9150’, named for the altitude of the lodge’s location.
In terms of the lodge’s interiors, the restaurant features richly-colored woods and stone as well as high-end finishes like granite tops in the bathrooms, bar and food court.
The lodge is lit with both natural light — from the expansive window wall facing the slopes — as well as rustic chandeliers.
The exterior of the lodge features natural colors that blend perfectly into the local Tahoe landscape.
If you go
Tamarack Lodge at Heavenly Mountain Resort
On the Web: www.skiheavenly.com
Winter hours of operation: Gondola and ski lifts run 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends
Heavenly gondola ride
Located one-half block west of the California-Nevada state line, the Lake Tahoe Gondola — an eight-passenger cabin — transports visitors 2.4 miles up the mountain in 12 minutes. At the top of the gondola (9,123 feet) is the Deck, a 14,000-square-foot mid-station observation platform, at which guests are treated to views of the Carson Valley, Desolation Wilderness and shore-to-shore views of Lake Tahoe. Adult tickets are $32. For more information, visit www.skiheavenly.com.
Adult Heavenly-Northstar season pass
Starting at $799
This Heavenly-Northstar pass is valid for unlimited skiing/riding at Heavenly, Northstar and Sierra-at-Tahoe during the 2011 winter season for adults (ages 19 to 64). Note: The pass, which has a few blackout dates, is valid for unlimited and unrestricted half-day-off daily tickets at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado. For more information, visit www.skiheavenly.com.
By the numbers
Square feet of the new Tamarack Lodge at Heavenly Mountain Resort
Indoor seats at Tamarack Lodge
Outdoor seats at Tamarack Lodge
Feet of windows at Tamarack Lodge