Fire Break

Lake Tahoe

Heavenly

A big, wide swatch of sidecountry that's high-risk, high-reward

Also in Nevada, United States of America

Freeride Skiing Moderate

Distance
4 km
Ascent
103 m
Descent
744 m
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
2.7 km
Gradient
31˚
Fire Break Map

This massive, 2000-2500 vertical foot face extends from the edge of the ski area boundary all the way down to Heavenly Village below. Enter via one of three gates: option one, the easiest to find, requires heading to the top of Olympic Express and looking for the gate just to the north. If you enter here, be prepared to do a lot of traversing to skier’s left to get towards the path under the Gondola line. Option two is to head west off the Gondola (on California Trail) and enter the woods to your right before the Trail turns to the left; go towards the lake until you get to the boundary line and turn left… you’ll eventually find the Raley’s Gulch gate towards the bottom of Maggie's Canyon. Finally, option 3 involves entering the Stateline gate near the top of the handle tow by the Big Easy lift. Once you start making turns, the experience varies slightly depending on where you enter, but all routes provide exceptional tree skiing; unlike many of the other gladed areas on the mountain, the trees stay consistently dense the entire way down. On a cold morning after a storm, it’s hard to beat the powder turns in here… the relatively consistent slope and spacing through the trees, it’s easy to pick up some speed and let ‘er rip. If the weather is warm or it’s been a few days since the last snowfall, proceed with caution… as your altitude gets lower, the snow will likely get slushier and you’ll almost certainly start seeing more exposure poking through the snow as you descend. Moving towards the Gondola as you descend is absolutely critical, as this will keep you away from impassable swaths of terrain (including rivers and exceptionally rocky patches) that would otherwise block a safe return to civilization. Up until a few years ago, you faced arrest if you were caught skiing the area, but it's legit these days... but, as is the case with all out of bounds terrain at Heavenly, the area is not patrolled and you'll be on your own if you get injured.

Difficulty

Moderate

Slopes become slightly steeper at around 25-30 degrees.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

January, February, March

Features

  • Trees
  • Cliffs

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area