I must admit that I don't have much experience when it comes to snowboarding in the western half of the United States. I come from the midwest and if there's a hill with 700 feet of vertical and 400 acres of terrain than that's pretty good for the area. So my first time riding on a real mountain was at Heavenly, and if that is what it's all about, I'm ready to relocate west baby.
The views from this place are incredible. The sights overlooking Lake Tahoe surrounded by the Sierra mountains is breathtaking. Seeing snow capped mountains with desert type climate in the background is amazing.
The best thing about Heavenly for me though, was the riding. I was fortunate to show up on a Sunday after getting 6-8 inches and when I went out Monday there was powder aplenty. It's fanatastic how during many of the runs you can veer off into the woods and carve you're own way through the trees.
The weather is another bonus to riding in the west. Of all the years I have been riding I have gone out when it was above forty maybe three times. I had four staight days of fifty degree and sunny weather and it was incredible.
I went midweek so I can't say if it's bad when it gets real busy. All the lift lines were open and went pretty quickly. Didn't have problems with lifts being closed all week. All mountain areas were accessible. There are some issues with getting from the CA side to the NV side. The Skyline trail is tough on us boarders, but manageable, nothing to get upset about. Getting to CA side from NV is easy and quite adventurous.
I learned a little from some locals while I was riding. For the best snow quality start from the Nevada base in the morning and enjoy some stellar tree runs. Aroun noon,one o'clock head over to the Cali side and hit up groove or powderbowl park than finish the day with a couple runs down Round-about. That run is long, fast, and technically challenging and with the sun setting in the west it will soften the groomed paths some.
I hope to have a lot more big mountain riding experience than I do now. Heavenly is now my base line for comparison.