Trail widening expected to help relieve congestion. (Heavenly/Facebook)
Heavenly Mountain Resort recently got over a critical regulatory hurdle in order to widen trails, remove debris and relocate snowmaking.
Resort officials aim to start the projects as early as this spring, if a final decision is issued by the Forest Service.
The “draft decision” by the U.S. Forest Service in the Lake Tahoe Basin will, if it survives a 45-day object period, relieve bottlenecks and get trails open sooner in low-snow winters on the California Sierra mountain, according to the document.
The Orion’s trail off the Dipper Express will get the most attention from widening crews, with some 11 acres undergoing tree and boulder removal to open them up more. Ridge Run, a blue run off the summit, and the Olympic Downhill trail off of the Olympic Express chair will also be widened.
As a result of the widening projects, some snowmaking pipes and equipment will have to be relocated to the newly aligned edges of the trails. Also, Lower Orion’s and Lower Olympic Downhill will be re-graded to match the widened area with the existing slope.
Also in the plans is widespread removal of large boulders, stumps and downed trees along some 11 trails. Woody debris will be chipped, stumps will be ground up and boulders blasted to reduce their height.
As of now, these trails need at least five feet of snow in order to open – either from the sky or through the snowmaking pipes. Upper California off Tamarack Express chair and Upper Stagecoach on the Nevada side of the resort will have as much as 15 acres of debris removed.
For a look at the whole plan, click here.