Final Record of Decision Published For Heavenly's Epic Discovery

14 May 2015

·U.S. Forest Service, TRPA, Lahontan Water Board Approve Proposal

·Epic Discovery Engages Guests using Learn Through Play

Heavenly 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 range 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 has 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 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 at 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
About Heavenly
High above the sapphire-blue waters of Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort is one of the most unique mountain resorts on the planet. Combining 4,800 acres of off-the-grid terrain and incredible views of Lake Tahoe with high-octane, non-stop nightlife, Heavenly offers a high-energy resort experience like no other. Visitors to Heavenly come prepared to go “all-in” because Heavenly is for those who are up for first chair and are still going strong after last call. Heavenly is a subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc., the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. Visit or call 800-HEAVENLY to learn more.

About Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN)
Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Park City and Canyons in Utah; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Company's subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resort hotel company, manages casually elegant properties. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning, development and construction subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is and consumer website is


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