Epic Discovery Program could propel Heavenly Mountain Resort to the forefront of Outdoor Family Adventure Destinations

Heavenly Mountain Resort, Calif./Nev. – May 14, 2015Heavenly Mountain Resort has received  final  approval for  expansions to its on-mountain summer activities, as part of Vail Resorts’ Epic Discovery program. The Epic Discovery proposal was submitted in July 2013 and has undergone a comprehensive environmental and public review. Earlier this year, the proposal received approval from the U.S. Forest Service – Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. On Thursday, May 14, 2015, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board gave its approval of the proposal, allowing the resort to move forward with implementation. Heavenly expects to begin construction of the activities in summer 2015.

Epic Discovery is designed to connect kids and families with the national forests in an active, fun and engaging way, utilizing existing infrastructure, such as Heavenly’s Gondola, lifts and on-mountain facilities, and blending into the natural environment in a thoughtful manner.

The expanded activities at Heavenly Mountain Resort are designed to appeal to a wide rangeSummerZiplineCompositeRachidDanhoun2_4511_4656_low of visitors. They include zip line and tree canopy tours, an alpine coaster, a mountain bike park, multi-use trails, ropes courses, and interpretive and educational tours to teach visitors about the Lake Tahoe Region’s cultural and environmental resources.

“We appreciate the hard work of our partners at the U.S. Forest Service, TRPA and Lahontan through this entire process and helping us advance it from a proposal to an approved project,” said Pete Sonntag, Heavenly vice president and chief operating officer. “The concept of Epic Discovery really began several years ago with the question: why can’t we make summer at Heavenly as special as the winter? Thanks to our agency partners, we are now on the path to make that initial question a reality for our guests.”

The Lahontan Water Board acted as Lead Agency under the California Environmental Quality act to ensure all potential environmental impacts were evaluated and addressed. The Water Board also issues permits to ensure construction and long term operation and maintenance does not adversely affect water quality.

“Our permit allows Heavenly to proceed with its new summer programs while making improvements to water quality and ensuring protection of sensitive stream zones and meadows,” said Patty Z. Kouyoumdjian, executive officer for the Lahontan Water Board.

Heavenly’s Epic Discovery program is the second large-scale summer use plan approved by the Forest Service following the 2011 passage of the Ski Area Recreational Opportunities Enhancement Act. Vail Mountain’s Epic Discovery project was approved by the U.S. Forest Service in October 2014.

“By approving new summer activities at Heavenly Mountain Resort, the Forest Service hasVailResorts_HVY559_Jack_Affleck_HighRes_4503_4656_thumb taken another step toward providing sustainable recreation in the Lake Tahoe Basin,” said Jeff Marsolais, Forest Supervisor for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.  “The Epic Discovery Project takes advantage of existing facilities to reach families, youth and urban visitors, engage them in managed outdoor summer recreation and teach them how to take care of Lake Tahoe and their national forests.”

“This Epic Discovery Project represents an exciting and collaborative model for sustainable, year-round recreation that balances environmental preservation and education with economic revitalization and improved recreational opportunities, consistent with TRPA’s Regional Plan,” said Joanne S. Marchetta, Executive Director of TRPA.

The plans for Heavenly revolve around the concept of “learning through play” by featuring extensive environmental educational elements among the numerous new interactive activities located in already developed areas of the mountain focused primarily at the Adventure Peak area at the top of Heavenly’s Gondola, as well as in the East Peak and Sky Meadows areas. Heavenly has already begun work with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, the League to Save Lake Tahoe and The Nature Conservancy, to bring scientific and educational content to the eco-discovery experiences.

Epic Discovery will generate a number of jobs related to construction of the new facilities, as heavenly logo well as increased year-round employment for operations and maintenance. This will directly support a healthier year-round economy for the local community. Heavenly will roll out the implementation of Epic Discovery in phases over several years, concentrating initially on the activities surrounding the Tamarack Lodge area forestservielogoat the top of the Gondola and then moving on to the East Peak Lake and Sky Meadows areas of the resort.

To learn more about Epic Discovery, visit http://www.epicdiscovery.com.


Sierra REC Magazine is dedicated to sharing the events, news and adventure opportunities that exist in The Sierra Mountains. From Lassen Volcanic National Park to the North down through the Central Sierra and the Lake Tahoe Basin through the rugged eastern slopes of the Mono county and Yosemite National park to the southern tips near Sequoia National Park and the PCT trail. We invite you to share stories, trips and photos from your adventures in the  Sierra. Please join us on Facebook, Twitter Google +  and You-Tube or email us your events and photos at sierrarecinfo@gmail.com  #goexplore