The U.S. Forest Service gave the green light to alterations at Heavenly Mountain Resort intended to help open up more terrain in low snow years.
In approving Heavenly's improvements — which include selective widening of ski trails and removing some obstacles — this past week, officials with the Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) noted the agency's working relationship with the resort.
"Heavenly Mountain Resort is an exemplary partner. Throughout the planning of this project, they have worked alongside our commitment to improve recreation experiences for our visitors," Jeff Marsolais, LTBMU forest supervisor, said in a press release. "Together, we will continue to work on innovative and unique resource protection measures that meet the needs of the public, while providing world-class recreation on National Forest System lands."
In widening select ski trails, the resort will remove some trees and relocate boulders on approximately 12 trails, according to LTBMU. Grading will be required in two locations in order to match the widened area to the grade of the existing trail.
By removing obstacles, Heavenly aims to improve natural snow surface coverage on 11 trails, thereby improving early season use of those trails and conserving water used during snowmaking.
Snowmaking lines will be relocated to the edge of the newly-widened trails.
The proposal to remove trail obstacles was addressed in the Heavenly Ski Resort Master Plan and includes protection of native plants and revegetation, removal of invasive plants, chipping of large woody debris and existing felled trees, stump grinding, and boulder height reduction, per LTBMU.
Work could begin as early as this spring. To view the decision document issued by the Forest Service, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/Heavenly2017.