We had not skied Heavenly since 2011, although we had visited in both of the intervening years.
In 2012, a planned three day break slotted between visits to San Francisco coincided with both of us contracting flu and being physically too weak to ski. And last June, logs, pipes and assorted wooden debris were all that lay on the mountain.
And for much of this winter the signs were ominous.
The guaranteed snow levels normally associated with Tahoe, and Heavenly in particular, had failed to materialise. Every day since Christmas, we scoured the webcams and weather forecasts, only to discover that many of the lifts and trails remained closed and the famed snow making operation was being pressed into overdrive.
We have always skied late in the season in the expectation that a) the snow would be plentiful and b) spring sunshine would dominate. So when we heard when we arrived in San Francisco at the beginning of the week that the long awaited snowfall would be pulling into town at the same time as us, and staying for the duration, we had mixed feelings.
But we have been incredibly lucky.
We had purchased a four day lift pass, taking the Saturday off when the worst (or best depending upon your point of view) of the storms was projected to arrive.
And it worked to perfection.
Although, with the exception of our final day, sun was in short supply, the wind that often affects resort operations, closing the higher lifts and restricting the capacity of skiers and riders to travel between the Nevada and California sides, was equally ineffective.
The intermittent gloom and smattering of snow flurries of the first couple of days enabled just to take some satisfyingly moody photographs.
We were able to ski virtually the entire mountain over the four days. Only on the first day were we prevented from cruising both states, being confined to the California side due to the closure of the Tamarack chair. This was welcome, however, as we tend to spend more time on the longer trails in Nevada. With the Sky Express chair leading to the highest point in the resort open, we were allowed to spend time on our favourite trail, Ridge, which arguably provides the best views of the lake, and the High Five trail that we had not skied before.
We also managed morning hot chocolate stops and lunch breaks at all the major mountain lodges – California, Tamarack (pictured), East Peak, Sky Deck and Stagecoach – that were open.
My only regret?
Not having the presence of mind to reach for the camera as Janet struggled to get to her feet, having fallen on the Galaxy trail only minutes after she had joyfully proclaimed ONE NIL when I had suffered a similar indignity.
Ah well, you can’t have it all.
We may not have seen the last of the snow as we look set to grapple with the next big storm on our return to San Francisco tomorrow.