Cold frosty air and the swishing of snow against sleek skis and snowboards are usually what comes to mind when one thinks of the world famous Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe.
But you don’t have to be a snowbird to enjoy this mountain. In fact, you don’t even have to brave the chilly conditions at all to find yourself swooshing silently down the hill. Too good to be true, right? WRONG!!!
That’s because Heavenly Ski Resort has a fairly new, (since Summer 2014), summertime adventure park. That’s right! We are talking zip-lines, ropes courses, rock climbing walls and their newest installation: the RIDGE RIDER MOUNTAIN COASTER!!! Talk about fun in the sun! This place is great to visit for so many! If you are looking for a fun-filled family adventure, a unique couple’s day date or just a down(hill) and dirty girls day out (or boys for that matter), then look no more than here!
Day trip adventurer, Sandy Wilson of Rocklin, CA explains people should explore the adventure park for “The thrill of the unknown and the excitement of doing something one wouldn’t normally do.” She adds, “It’s fun and exciting. The adventure park (enables visitors) to experience some of the thrills we all want to experience.”
So what ARE some of those thrills? We’ll share six highlights of the this high altitude adventure area:
Your admission to the adventure park includes the Heavenly Gondola ride, (which for this adventure editor was already a thrill ride)! As you glide quietly up the mountainside suspended by cables, be sure to open your eyes and peer out at the vast beauty that Lake Tahoe has to offer—it is never short of spectacular.
Once you reach the Observation Deck, be sure to get out and take some incredible breathtaking background selfies (because there’s no stopping on the way back down)! Next stop, the top!
Once you’ve reached the adventure park, your fun begins. We recommend that you beeline over to stand in line for the Zip-line, if that’s of interest. (Be prepared for an extremely long wait—Heavenly Ski Resort is very cautious about safety and they do NOT rush their procedures—this is for your benefit. So plan to make some new friends as you stand in line). This ride, approximately 1000 feet long, and 60 ft above the ground, zips riders at speeds of approximately 40-50 mph. Riders must wear safety gear including helmets and harnesses, and riders must be able to climb a four story tower to begin their descent. (DayTripper Magazine recommends this ride as a great introduction to zip-lining, if you have the time and patience for the line and are physically fit enough to make the four-story climb in all the heavy gear).
If you do, Sandy explains, you’ll find “You’re at the top hanging with knees on the gate. Your heart’s pumping and you’re shaking just a little. That’s when the gate opens. It’s just like ‘Aaaaaahhhhhhh’ and you’re flying! All the nervousness disappears, and suddenly you’re thinking ‘this is so cool’!”
HIGHLIGHTS 3 & 4
Next we suggest catching the ropes course, then heading over to the Rock Climbing Wall. The Rock Climbing Wall was finished in 2015, and a very fun spot to “hang out!” Many visitors were found here waiting and watching, and wrestling the wall. Even this editor attempted the feat (and made it to the top)!
After you’ve gotten your upper body workout in, if the downhill tubing is luring you, we suggest you throw caution to the wind and go for it, (at least once), just to say you did. Younger kids will enjoy this most. (And maybe those who choose NOT to seek high adrenaline thrills).
(THE ULTIMATE) HIGHLIGHT 6
Saving the best for last, we would be remiss if we didn’t suggest that you get everything in that you can first, and save the Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster for last. WHY? Because once you go on it, if you are anything like, us you’ll be getting right back in line, over and over and over again to ride until the park closes down! It is beyond a blast!!!!
“It’s exhilarating and fun for all ages,” says Rob Seth, visiting with his family from Folsom, CA. “My daughter is afraid of ziplining, but not of this.”
His son, Sid Seth, 14, adds, “This is my fourth time (in a row riding). I love the turns, it’s like you’re falling, but you’re not.”
Why are visitors clamoring over this alpine coaster ride? Simply because it’s different. It’s like a roller coaster, yet riders have all the control.
The ride begins with riders sitting in a glider. The glider gets pulled up the mountainside. It’s a serene, but exhilarating, all at the same time. Once rider reaches the top, the glider is set loose, into a “freefall,” if you will.
If riders will allow themselves, when they reach the peak, they are treated to an incredible view of Lake Tahoe. The problem is, most people don’t realize this and they immediately focus on controlling the coaster. (This includes this journalist too). Luckily, a fellow rider gave the advice to look up at the top, so the second ride was even more of a sensory overloaded delight! The view really is incredible, and the ride equally so.
As riders glide down the run, they are swished and swooped all over the place, including into a corkscrew spin, that elicits shrills of excitement from those who dare to ride!
The only way we’d tweak this order of riding the highlighted rides is if you see or are advised that clouds are around. Then go straight to the coaster and get your rides in.
Remember that mention about safety coming first with Heavenly? Well, they will close the rides and the park down with the hint of a thunderstorm. (It takes a long time to safely evacuate people from the mountain down the gondolas—so don’t given them any flack—they do it for your safety)!
Enjoy the rides! (And be sure to call the park for more information on rates and rider information).