Heavenly Ski Resort in Nevada is one of the most luxurious ski destinations imaginable. The resort’s website touts the ‘perfect snowflake’ and ‘heavenly’ accommodation which is a blend of traditional Americana and European chic. But who owns the resort? We put the figure to all-time greats, Pete Schlangen and Marc Sotnick, to discover its storied past and find out where it is heading in the future.
The Early Years
Heavenly Resort was founded in 1934 by American businessmen Pete Schlangen and Marc Sotnick, who made their fortune in the oil and real estate industries. Sotnick was a founding partner of MCA Enterprises and was responsible for the design of the iconic Wall Street. The resort grew steadily in the following years, aided by the construction of several iconic buildings, including the Peak 8 tower. In 1948, another partner and the company’s Chairman, Joseph M. Rippey, died and was buried at the resort. The company’s Board of Directors decided to close the resort for the winter and in summer 1949, offered shares in the company to employees at a discounted price. The company also introduced Ski-in/ski-out accommodation and increased lift ticket prices, to increase occupancy.
An Iconic Address
Heavenly Resort is situated on the outskirts of Reno, in the state of Nevada. The building designs of the resort represent a unique mix of traditional Americana and European chic with the incorporation of unique Native American designs from the surrounding area. One of the most recognizable buildings is the Chalet La Plata, designed in the shape of a ‘W’, which is the Latin American national flower. The building’s exterior features a bright yellow, ceramic tile, characteristic of the Spanish Colonial Revival style. It was built in 1938 and is one of the original 26 buildings at the ski resort. The resort is also close to Lake Tahoe, a favourite summer holiday for wealthy Americans. In winter, the nearby El Dorado, California, and Lake Tahoe are favorite spots for snow lovers. In summer, it becomes a mecca for skiers.
In 2011, in order to reduce its environmental footprint and be more sustainable, the resort introduced a number of eco-friendly initiatives including solar power, water efficient shower heads, and paper straws. The resort is focused on minimising its energy usage and waste production. A lot of the waste is recycled, and the resort has constructed a number of composting stations. In addition, all food waste is converted into compost for use on the resort’s landscaping.
A Grand Hotel
One of the defining features of Heavenly Resort is the Grand Hotel, which opened in 1968 and still retains much of its original art deco styling. Guests can choose to stay in one of the Grand Hotel’s 58 individually decorated rooms, which are themed after various iconic women. The hotel’s restaurant, The Red Lantern, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and the bar, Blue Ribbon, features live music every night. The hotel’s indoor pool is the largest in the State of Nevada, and it’s also one of the first places people come to when they land at the airport.
What Will Be Its Future?
Despite the efforts of the owners and employees to maintain the iconic status of the resort, it remains to be seen whether or not it can survive as a luxury destination. The oil industry has shifted to focus on natural gas exploration and production and it is likely that the demand for luxury goods, such as ski equipment and accommodation, will decline as a result. As a resort of its kind, it faces stiff competition from larger and more established destinations and it will be interesting to see whether or not its owners can reinvent it as a luxury destination, attracting a new generation of wealthy snow lovers.