The 2004/05 sking and snowboard season at Lake Tahoe officially begins with the opening of Heavenly Mountain Resort this Friday, November 19, at 9:00 a.m. Thanks to record-breaking snowfall during the month of October, the resort will open with more terrain than originally planned; offering skiing and riding on the upper California and upper Nevada sides of the mountain.

“The wait is over. We’ve got a strong opening on tap and we’re thrilled,” stated Blaise Carrig, chief operating officer at Heavenly. “The combination of record early-season snowfall and our snowmaking has allowed us to offer a much bigger opening than we have had in the past two years.”

Thanks to record snowfall during the month of October, Heavenly received as much as four feet of early-season snow, making a solid base for the upcoming winter. In addition, Heavenly’s snowmaking crew fired up the snowmaking system on Friday, October 29, and blanketed theupper mountain with snow. Since then, snowmaking crews have made snow nearly every day for a total of 170 hours.

Heavenly will be offering skiing and riding in two states on some of the resort’s most popular trails: Orion’s, Big Dipper, Comet, California Trail, Skyline, Jackpot, High Roller, Double Down, Canyon and Ridge Run. Access to the mountain will be via the Heavenly Gondola in Heavenly Village. Snow conditions will be packed powder and machine-groomed snow, on the designated runs. Six out of resort’s ten high-speeds lifts are scheduled to operate, including the Heavenly Gondola, Tamarack Express, Dipper Express, Comet Express, Sky Express and Canyon Express. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Lifts open a half-hour earlier at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Full-service ski school, rentals, and food and beverage will be available at the mountain as well. Parking will be available in the parking garage at Heavenly Village or at Heavenly’s California Lodge. The resort’s complimentary shuttles will be operating with service to the casino corridor, as well as from the California Lodge to Heavenly Village.

“In addition to great snow, we have quite a bit to show off this weekend,” explained Carrig. “Over the summer, we invested $10 million in the overall mountain experience, including a new lift, an extensive lodge renovation, additional snowmaking, new grooming machines, on-mountain signage and more. Combine that with everything that’s opening in Heavenly Village and our guests will see adifference from the moment they set foot on the mountain.”

This week’s opening offers skiers and riders a sneak preview of the resort’s $10 million worth of on-mountain improvements. Many of the improvements, including the new Powderbowl Express high-speed six-passenger lift, will be revealed as more terrain opens throughout the coming days and weeks. The most visible improvement this weekendwill be the ‘extreme’ makeover to East Peak Lodge. On the upper deck, a new roof has been added along with windscreens, heaters and a more convenient seating arrangement. Over the lower deck, architecturalfeatures are currently being installed, as well as a new barbecue grilling station and outdoor bar, and bathrooms.

The Ski Schools of Heavenly will be open in Heavenly Village. Heavenly Sports adjacent to the Gondola will unveil its expanded rental fleet this weekend. The Boardinghouse has been relocated to the upper levelin the Cecil’s Fountain Plaza building. The new store opened its doors to the public on Wednesday, November 17.

Heavenly lift tickets will be specially priced at $55 for adults (19-64), $46 for teens (13-18), $22 for children (5-12) and $37 for seniors (65+). Children four and under ski free. For additional information, to book a ski vacation or for current mountain conditions, log onto www.skiheavenly.com or call 775-586-7000. Early-season package offers start as low as $86 per person, including lift tickets and lodging.