VERTICAL, 3,500 feet
SKIABLE ACRES, 4,800
ANNUAL SNOWFALL, 360 inches
LIFT TICKET, $62
CAN YOU SAY GIGANTIC? Good, because that's what Heavenly is. Plus it can claim some of the most ravishing views of any American ski hill: It rests in the limbo between the supernatural blue of Lake Tahoe and the scorched Nevada desert far below.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Nobody skis off-piste on this mountain! A private wonderland awaits those who venture into the trees or take a little hike, but if you want to stay on track, you'll find that the sheer immensity (almost 5,000 acres) spreads out the skiers nicely. Besides, the groomers are like boulevards—and just as smooth—so you can really dig your turns here.
NUMBER-ONE RUN: The Milky Way Bowl, a ten-minute hike up the Skyline Trail, has a steady vertical drop and an utter dearth of other souls. Continue down the chutes of Mott Canyon and have a chuckle at the expense of all the schnooks who ever turned their noses up at this peak.
HOT LODGE: Heavenly's speedy gondola is two minutes from Lake Tahoe's Embassy Suites Hotel, very cushy digs with a dizzying nine-story atrium, glass roof, flourishing gardens, and 400 two-room suites. (Suites from $200; 877-497-8483, www.embassytahoe.com)
SOUL PATCH: The spectacle of Caesars Tahoe is Disneyland for the savvy gambler. A nonstop bacchanal revolves around slot machines, top-notch shows, and the ubiquitous gaming tables—but without that Vegas overkill. When in Rome . . .