The 9 Types of Insurance Companies

Insurance is generally a topic people do not like to think about until they need it. Who can blame them, right?

People also do not know that the law has 9 different categories of companies. These categories are not derived from the product (s) the company sells. So when you say life insurance company or health insurance company, you are surely staging the type of product the company sells. You are not talking about its legal structure.

The 9 types of insurance companies are:

1. Domestic – This type of insurance company is incorporated and formed under the laws of the state in which it is domiciled. For example, a company incorporated in California is domestic to California and is foreign to the other states.

2. Foreign – This type of insurance company is also domestic company as it is domiciled in one state but it is licensed to do business in another state. For example, a California domiciled company doing business in Nevada is foreign to Nevada but can do business in Nevada because it met the licensing requirements.

3. Alien – This type of insurance company is often confused with a Foreign insurance company. The Alien company is the one that is formed under the laws of a country other than the United States. For example, a company organized under the laws of Canada and doing business in the United States would be an alien company in this country. However, if it is properly licensed, it can do business in the United States.

4. Authorized (Admitted) and Unauthorized (Unadmitted) – Upon applying for approval to do business in a state, the insurance company receives a certification of authority from the state Insurance Department (Division). Once they receive this certificate they become known as an accredited, or authorized, company. Companies without a certificate of authority are known as unadmitted, or unauthorized, companies. A note of caution before buying insurance. You should always learn if the company is allowed / authorized. Otherwise, they may not honor your claim.

5. Stock Company – As the name implies, a stock company is an insurance company that is owned by the shareholders. These holders own the capital stock of the company and most are publicly traded on an organized exchange.

6. Mutual Company – This type of company is owned by the people and / or businesses the company insures.

7. Reciprocal (Assessment) Company – Nonincorporated associations of individuals or business, called subscribers, engage in cooperative insurance programs. Each policyholder is insured by all others, and each insures the others. Coverage is exchanged on a reciprocal basis.

8. Fraternal Benefit Society – This type of social organization has bylaws allowing it to sell insurance to its members. The society has no capital stock, is not for profit, and is organized for the benefit of the members.

9. Lloyd's Insurer – Lloyd's is a very well known name and most people think of it as an insurance company. The truth is, it is not. It is a number of people organized into syndicates or groups for the purpose ofwriting risks. Lloyd's operate on many of the same principals as a stock exchange in that it matches buyers wishing to secure insurance with sellers who wish to underwrite risks.

By the way, each insurance company sets its own rates and must first get them approved by the Insurance Commissioner in the state in which they wish to sell. This is why you can get a wide disparity in premium quotes for the same coverage. It pays to shop for the best possible price BEFORE you purchase any type of insurance.

Miracle at St. Sharbel's in Las Vegas

Do you believe in Miracles in this day and age? I do for sure.

Some history of St. Sharbel. He was a Maronite monk from Lebanon. He was born May 8, 1859, and died December 24, 1898. After the death of Sharbel, a light began to shine from his tomb attracting the local villagers, Miracles of healing began to take place. Four months after his death his body was exhumed and found to be incorrupt and floating in water. His body remained incorrupt, perspiring blood and liquid until the day of his beatification, December 5, 1965. Miracles are occurring through the intercession of Saint Sharbel to this day. In fact if you were to Google "Miracles of St. Sharbel", you would find over 300 miracles attributed to him.

Sister Maria Abdel Kamari, just one of the miracles of St. Charbel.

More recently in 1992 some of Charbel's "miracles" reached the Western press. Swedish papers and the British daily, The Guardian, printed the story of 15 year old Samira Hannoch who reported having had a vision of Charbel in her home near Stockholm. Since then oil has been pouring from a portrait of Charbel and has been associated with a number of healings. His final resting place and shrine is in Lebanon.

Now let us fast forward to St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Mission, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Several weeks ago the statute of St Sharbel, after Mass held by two spanish practices, several people, noticed the statue had started to bleed "oil" from the head, chest and down into the palms of the hands.

Personally, I had the opportunity to visit the mission a few weeks ago and witnessed that in fact, the status was indeed "bleeding oil". A truly, remarkable but unexplained phenomena. This is not a hoax but reality, and has been witnessed by hundreds of who have said their prayers in front of the statue.

The Knights of Columbus, has guarded it around the clock 24/7, since more and more people were visiting the statue and for sure someone had to protect it from theft or vandelism. Since then the statute has been moved to the parish hall, and enclosed with a locked plexi glass case for security and protection from the public.

For those that wish to visit the statute contact St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Church at 10325 Rancho Destino Road, Las Vegas, Nevada, and see and form your own opinion about this miracle.

Reno's Wealth of Knowledge

Come to think of it, Reno's nickname of the "Biggest Little City in the World" could not be more apt. Although small in size, it has so much to offer that tourists are often spoiled for choice. Besides being a perfect place to test lady luck, Reno is also an ideal destination if you fancy partaking in adventure sports like skiing. While art aficionados can step into one of its several galleries to check out some masterpieces, nature lovers can head to wildlife parks to admire the local biodiversity.

Another such underrated aspect of Reno is its large number of museums that give an insight into the rich legacy of the country. It is complete with such amazing facilities that you can head over there with your family and friends for a fun-filled time. If you are planning to book cheap flights to Reno, then check out this list of museums you can visit to make your holiday all the more delightful.

A Peak at the Automobile Legacy of the US

If you are still looking for reasons to book airline tickets to Reno, then the hunt ends with National Automobile Museum. What more can be said about a place that is considered as one of the greatest automobile exhibits in the country? Its vast collection of more than 200 four-wheeled machines include everything from 100-year-old race cars to vintage cars that were once driven around by the likes of Frank Sinatra, JFK, John Wayne, and the King of Rock and Roll itself, Elvis Presley. If this site does not have the "wow" factor, then what does?

For The Love of Art

If you are in Reno and consider yourself even a little bit of an art admirer, then you can not miss out on visiting Nevada Museum of Art. Its permanent collection of thousands of art pieces is categorized as Altered Landscape Photography, Art of the Greater West, Contemporary Art and Work Ethic. There is so much to admire here that an etern day might just seem a bit too short.

Everything under One Roof

Simply referred to as The Discovery, the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum is a facility dedicated to lifelong learning in the field of science, math and art. It spans over an area of ​​about 65,000 square feet. If you're traveling with kids and want them to revel in excitement and learn at the same time, then this is one place that you can not miss. The site has plenty in store for adults as well who can step in to under the Stars exhibition and experience nature at its best through state-of-the-art technology.

Nevada's True Heritage

If there is one place in Reno that embrates the heritage of the state of Nevada and its people, then it is the WM Keck Museum. It tells the tale of mining in early-Nevada through an intriguing collection of minerals, fossils, ores and several other artifacts. The exhibition of over 15,000 pieces also consists of an impressive collection of intricate Mackay silver collection.

Top Places to Visit in Las Vegas

  • Mob Museum
  • National Atomic Testing Museum
  • Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
  • Nevada State Railroad Museum
  • Madame Tussauds Interactive Wax Attraction
  • Bodies … the Exhibition
  • Las Vegas Natural History Museum
  1. The Mob Museum gives one a perspective on history that one probably did not learn from the history books in school! Absolutely fascinating, the courtroom where the Kefauver hearings took place, and even more shocking is the real brick wall from the 1929 Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago. Artifacts are on display from some of the most notorious criminals, including, Al Capone, Charlie Luciano, Meyer Lansky, plus many more.
  2. The National Atomic Testing Museum takes one right back into the history books without the books! The museum is 10,000 square feet and will amaze one as one witness's first-hand the history of the atomic bomb. One will see videos and actual footage of tests.
  3. The Titanic Artifact Exhibition takes one back to the night of April 15, 1912. One will see actual artifacts from the famous ship. One will see and hear the story and believe one is actually on board. An intensely moving experience and well worth the time.
  4. The Nevada State Railroad Museum allows one the opportunity to ride on a real train, on the actual tracks that built building materials for the Hoover Dam project. One will see and feel locomotives, train cars and memorabilia from that period.
  5. At Madame Tussauds Interactive Wax Attraction, one can touch stars and famous individuals in history. If one has always wanted to take a photo with a famous person, here is the opportunity. Over 100 figures in 30,000 square feet allow one to take photos with their favorites.
  6. The Bodies … the Exhibition, a place that one will not forget! It is an exhibition of preserved human bodies while done in polite taste, is still vivid. It can be extremely informative and is certainly intriguing if one is so inclined.
  7. The Las Vegas Natural History Museum, a great place for families, contains replicas of dinosaurs and many extinct, prehistoric creatures. One of the highlights is the feeding of the sharks on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 2:30 PM. One can even move back in time to Egypt and walk through King Tut's tomb!

As always, there are far more places and things to do then can be listed in this short article. Las Vegas is certainly much more than gambling and night life, although that certainly is a big part.

LLCs And Liability Protection

An affordable and very effective method to shield your assets from attack is to transfer your rental property to a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Holding title to investment property through an LLC limits the liabilities of the business to only those assets held within the LLC. In the same way as shareholders of a corporation are shielded from liability, a properly formed LLC will guard its owners from liability liability, including liability from acts of its employees and agents.

There are several significant benefits the California LLC can provide to you or your investors. The LLC creates a risk barrier which encourages apartment ownership, yet shields the owner's personal assets from lawsuits and seizure. The double taxation and intensive formalities inherent with traditional corporations are eliminated. When legal action such as an eviction is required against a tenant, it is the LLC, rather than the individual owner, that pursues the claim. In addition, the landlord's privacy is enhanced because rent checks are made payable to the LLC, lease agreements are between the LLC and the tenant, and correspondence comes from the LLC.

While high limit liability insurance is important, it is still not adequate to protect the property owner (s) from loss of assets. Most insurance policies contain exclusions for mold, lead-based paint and other environmental hazards. Additionally, they rarely cover judgments arising out of discrimination claims. Even with expensive high-limit insurance coverage, a major incident such as a fire or balcony collapse resulting in numerous claims, could create liability far exceeding your policy limit. Even with the best of intentions regarding your tenants, the LLC has become a necessary tool in limiting liability not only for legitimate claims, but also for those in which only a brainwashed jury could see merit. The deductible $ 800 annual State franchise tax on LLCs is small compared to the huge benefit provided.

In recent years, the State of Nevada LLC has been touted as an asset protection alternative to the California LLC, since the annual tax is relatively small compared to California. However, in most cases there is little or no financial benefit to forming a Nevada LLC for your California rental property, because the ownership of the California property necessarily means business is transacted in California. As such, the Nevada LLC also must be registered with the California Secretary of State and pay the initial California registration fee and $ 800 annual franchise tax, along with California income tax. (Ca. Rev & Tax Code Sec. 17941, Ca. Corp. Code Sec. 17050). For business ventures other than California real estate, where the principal business is not transacted in California, the Nevada LLC / Corporation may be an attractive option for investors.

Additional benefits of the LLC include the ability of LLCs to utilize 1031 exchanges and exemption from the 3 1/3 withholding on sale of real estate for multi-member LLCs. Furthermore, a separate federal tax return is usually not required for single-member LLCs, including those owned by a husband-wife or living trust, and the property transfer to the LLC is almost always exempt from tax reassessment. And the LLC will work very well in conjunction with a living trust to simultaneously protect and preserve estate assets.

Many apartment owners have executed a living trust in order to provide for the distribution of their assets after they die, as well as to avoid huge probate costs, reduce or eliminate estate taxes when they die, and prevent court control of their assets should they become incapacitated. The living trust, however, will not protect against lawsuits. If an apartment building is held directly by a living trust, then all other assets in the trust will be exposed to liability liabilities generated by the building. A much better approach is to place your apartment in an LLC, creating a liability barrier in order to protect all of the other trust assets. The LLC membership inquiries may then be safely added to the trust.

As far as multiple investments are concerned, it is better to have a separate LLC for each rental property so that liability arising from one property can not attach to any other properties. Even single-family homes with tenants should have been held by their own LLC. If paying $ 800 annually each for multiple LLCs is not a viable option, then properties could be grouped together. Owning a total of six investment properties with three in one LLC and three in the other would afford significantly more protection than owning all the properties in one's personal name. For those investors wishing to transfer multiple properties with annual gross rental receipts totaling more than $ 500,000 into a single entity, the use of a limited partnership should be considered. Both the limited partnership and the LLC must pay the $ 800 franchise tax, but the LLC must pay an additional gross receipts tax if the gross annual receipts exceed $ 250,000.

Because landlords are subject to virtual unlimited lawsuit exposure and financial liability arising out of ownership of their rental property, they must take advantage of every legal means to protect their assets. Once a competent attorney prepares and files the array of legal documents required for the initial formation of the LLC, personal assets will no longer be reachable to satisfy any debts or judgments against the LLC.

History of Bishop, California

Bishop, California is a city of 3,500 residents on the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Owens Valley. The Paiute Indians originally inhabited the Bishop area until European-American settlers arrived in the mid 19th century. Despite being originally shown on maps as part of Mexico, the Eastern Sierra Nevada region was not inhabited by Mexicans. The city of Bishop takes its name from one its first western settlers, Samuel A. Bishop. It was originally started as a cattle ranching settlement, due to the need for beef to feed the mining boom in surrounding areas at that time. Settlers found the northern Owens Valley was perfect for raising livestock.

In 1861, Samuel Bishop settled in the area and owned a ranch along a creek, known as Bishop Creek. He set up a market to sell beef to the miners and business owners of mining communities. In 1862, the frontier settlement known as Bishop Creek was established and in 1870 a post office opened. In 1903, the city of Bishop was incorporated.

Between 1905 and 1907, William Mulholland, superintendent of the Water Department for the City of Los Angeles, purchased much of the land in the Owens Valley under the guise of a local irrigation project. Water from the Owens River began being diverted south to the city of Los Angeles. The siphoning of water from the Owens River caused the lower Owens River and Owens Lake to dry up completely. In 1913, construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed, creating an efficient, reliable means of water delivery to the city.

Today, the City of Los Angeles receives 70% of its water from the Owens Valley and the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) own much of the land in and around Bishop. The LADWP offers visitors and locals alike many recreational opportunities including fishing, hunting and camping (in designated areas) on city owned property. Bishop is now the largest city in the Owens Valley and Inyo County.

Water – Cashing in on an Environmental Issue

You’ve heard the adage that water and oil don’t mix. But don’t be surprised if they play out their role as vital assets in the same sand box.

Just look to our neighbors in the western U.S., specifically Las Vegas, Nevada, to measure just how important water is at this moment.

Water? The same valuable natural asset status as oil? Who would have thought that could ever be the case?

Actually, a hundred years ago President Theodore -Teddy- Roosevelt did. “The nation behaves well if it treats its natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.”

This famous quote by President Roosevelt in 1907 to the United States Congress was one of many oracle examples of a man ahead of his own generation’s individual and industrialized bad habits. His speeches unveiled an intellectual understanding of conservation and environmental stewardship. He was quite the motivator.

Paddle forward 100 years and the signs of increased water appreciation are rearing their head and peeking into your wallet.

Depending on what area of the United States you flip on the faucet determines if that is a good thing or a not-so good thing.

Let’s tackle the bad side of the issue first. One example of a not-so-good thing would be the email that landed in my inbox yesterday from a Central Florida homeowner, aghast that their water bill had jumped to $314.12 this month.

That’s more than I paid to fill my car with gasoline in the past three months.

Case In Point: Jack Daniels and Las Vegas

A quick look through your local and national news source and you’ll see a variety of water deficit indicators popping up across the US.

Tennessee’s low water table is threatening the Jack Daniel’s distillery where water conservation is in full swing.

Further out west in the sandy desert Nevada’s Hoover Dam is 107 feet below its traditional level. Higher residential populations in the Colorado region challenge as quick of a recovery experienced in the 1950s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, according to Bob Walsh, the external affairs officer for the lower Colorado region of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The Bureau manages the dam that includes services to southern Nevada, southern California and Arizona–the constituencies of the Lower Colorado River basin region.

Nevada, Arizona, southern California; I picture a sandbox. It’s in the desert. What did they expect?

And perhaps that sand-box scenario is why they are ahead of the curve in reshaping just how cavalier the end-user chooses to be and just how much of this valuable natural asset they consume. Would you believe a popular option is a turf-free lawn? Could you imagine?

Giving Up The Grass

Bob Walsh upgraded from his previous home of a “small” amount of grass to a home with “no grass” in Nevada. In our discussion of our vastly different cultures, Bob reminded me that in the U.S., the typical single-family suburban household uses at least 30 percent of their water outdoors for irrigation according to the EPA.

Some experts estimate that more than 50 percent of landscape water use goes to waste due to evaporation or runoff caused by over-watering according to the EPA.

A turf free landscape is a far cry from the theme of Michael Pollan’s book, Second Nature (Dell Publishing 1991), where “the democratic system can cope with the nonvoter far more easily than the democratic landscape can cope with the non-mower..” The popular water conservation way of life that Bob Walsh described for the western region was a vastly different model than I witness in the far southeast.

Policy on the local, state, and federal level can be crafted. But how do we truly motivate change on the user-end? Reward or punish?

Show Me The Money

Las Vegas rewards homeowners in cash for removing turf from their landscape. The Las Vegas Water Valley District website provides information on several rebates and coupons for their patrons. By upgrading existing grass to a new water-smart landscape, participants receive a rebate of $2 per square foot for the first 1,500 square feet of grass converted to xeriscape. Areas in excess of 1,500 square feet receive $1 per square foot.

Cha-ching. There’s a fine line between manipulation and motivation. Nevada has set a fine example for us to follow.

No matter where you live, it’s time to take notice of just how important water is to you and your landscape. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there’s a reason that water has become a national priority. A recent government survey showed at least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013. But by using water more efficiently, we can help preserve water supplies for future generations, save money, and protect the environment.

How do you engage people who have not felt the impact of this resource?

The answer: Cash.

Depending on where you live, that might mean cashing in on a very present environmental issue.

Top 10 Spanish Experiences!

Guidebooks often provide the visitor with a list of sights to see and places to visit when venturing overseas to a brand new country, but this list of top 10 experiences to have in Spain provides the visitor or new expatriate living in Spain with some slightly more unusual alternatives!

If you consider yourself a more adventurous tourist or you’re just bored of the same old same old spouted by tired tourist guides read on for an exciting Spanish itinerary.

1) The Seville Fair – we all know that the Spanish are party people and they party well, but if you’d like to experience the biggest, liveliest and most exciting party of all consider visiting the Seville fair which is seven days of pure, unadulterated fun!

2) Surfing and Snowboarding – from riding the Biscay swell at Guernika in the Billabong Pro to snowboarding in the Sierra Nevada – whatever form of extreme sport you’re into Spain has the unique natural landscape to satisfy you!

3) Breathtaking Views – from standing atop the piste with views of Granada to driving the N340 highway with the coast of Morocco so close you can almost reach out and touch it – Spain not only has the most breathtaking natural scenery, it affords you a wealth of unique views to die for.

4) Drink Sherry & Drink Rioja – drink sherry in Jerez, drink Rioja in La Rioja – say no more!

5) Clubbing in Ibiza – take a week and visit one of the seven main clubs in Ibiza each night of the week and be prepared to party until the sun rises and your feet can dance no more! It has to be done!

6) Bull Fighting and Bull Running – bull fighting may be ritualised killing and many people’s idea of extreme cruelty, but to others the experience of a corrida is to take a breathtaking and dramatic glimpse into the Spanish psyche. The Pamplona Bull Run on the other hand is possibly the very last thing you’ll get to do in Spain! We’d advise anyone crazy enough to charge ahead of a mad bull down the narrow cobbled streets of Pamplona to get their life insurance in order before they set off – alternatively, join the crowds of spectators and simply witness this (possibly?) once in a lifetime thrill!

7) The Alhambra At Sunset – the Alhambra, the most incredible and enduring legacy of Moorish Spain is worth a hundred visits…but if you want to experience the true majesty and understand why the Alhambra was the physical manifestation of the Moorish concept of paradise, climb up to St. Nicholas Square at sunset and see how the ancient wonder glows golden against the stunning snow-capped backdrop of the peaks of the Sierra Nevada – and be prepared to feel seriously moved if not a wee bit emotional!

8) Art & Culture – The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is a work of art in itself and worth visiting even if you’re not interested in the wealth of art and artefacts contained therein. The museum is an incredibly daring structure built from titanium, glass and stone, and it beats at the heart of this city of contrasts. Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum is tame in architectural comparison but it houses one of Picasso’s greatest works, in fact, possibly one of the greatest works of 20th Century namely Guernica…if you want art and culture, Spain has it in heaps and every city, town or region you visit will offer you a whole host of opportunity to experience the Spanish cultural riches.

9) World Heritage Sites – The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is dedicated to ensuring future generations inherit the treasures of the past by working to protect both cultural and natural sites of significance worldwide. Spain has over 35 sites that have been flagged as world heritage sites – we challenge you to visit them all!

10) Tomato Fighting – not fighting tomatoes (that would be silly), but fighting with tomatoes in Valencia in August. Yes, one of the strangest of all Spanish festivals and carnivals is La Tomatina where upwards of 30,000 semi-naked people gather to throw tomatoes at each other before getting washed down by the hoses of the local fire brigade…it is truly an experience worth…well…experiencing really! If only to say ‘been there, done that.’

Spain is different! It is a country which effortlessly and seamlessly combines a plethora of fiestas, indefatigable nightlife, stunning and diverse natural scenery, supposedly impossible to achieve levels of synergy between ancient and modern architecture and artistic culture, fun and fascination, beautiful people, incredible cuisine, sun, sea, sand and sangria – to create a variety and spice of life you will never experience outside of Spain.

The Kill Game

The "Kill Game" is a romp of a police novel with its primary setting in Las Vegas, Nevada with a side trip to Northern Nevada, Idaho and Utah, all of which is interesting to those familiar with these western states. The "Kill Game" is an easy summer read about a cold case Las Vegas murder that three retired Nevada police detectives accept after 22 years of no leads and closure. It is not an intense or heavy plot.

The three detectives, two male former partners and a female work well together in their effort to resolve the old Las Vegas murder case. There is the mystery of finding clues in the cold case and a romance begin to blossom between two of the detectives, but nothing racy.

Even a person not in law enforcement will notice some improbable events and serious over sights when the case was fresh and think that investigators were not trying very hard to work this. Then 22-years later, with a little bit of looking, things begin to quickly fall into place and the case is solved in a surprising twist.

The writer uses locations that those familiar with the community will recognize and be able to place themselves in some of those locations, such as the Bellagio Café, where the detectives often eat. There is also mention of professional casino poker tournaments. However, for readers who have spent very much time in Las Vegas, they will also note the lack of accuracy of some of the locations and other details related to the city. There are several mentions of the Las Vegas chief of police. Las Vegas does not have a chief of police. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Force falls under the direction of the elected sheriff.

For those who do any amount of reading, they will note that the writer, while entertaining, does not write tight. There are strings of sentences filled with unnecessary words. Because of this, the book could possibly be edited more and cut by three quarters and be a tighter less waste read. The "Kill Game" is entertaining enough that I would read the next in a series that this writer, Dean Wesley Smith, has written. But keeping in mind it is light reading and a good pick to take and read while traveling or anywhere where meaningful concentration is not available.

Lake Tahoe: Awesome Ski Resorts

It is incredible that within a one to two hour drive of a full-feature city like Reno, Nevada, there are more than a dozen world-class ski resorts. Add the attraction of gambling casinos, fabulous restaurants and showrooms and you have a winter vacation destination at Lake Tahoe that is second-to-none.

If you are in Reno for a visit to a casino or on a business trip, it is a very simple to just rent a car or hop on a shuttle bus down to Lake Tahoe and enjoy a day of awesome skiing with absolutely breathtaking views of the lake from the snow covered slopes.

In the South Lake Tahoe area you will find a little piece of skiing heaven called, appropriately, Heavenly. This beautiful and massive ski resorts’ lower slopes can be seen from the Stateline/South Lake Tahoe highways and from most of the lake itself. Many people consider Heavenly to be one of the most spectacular ski areas on the planet.

Heavenly opened in 1955 with only one chair lift and a small hut on U.S. Forest Service land. Today it covers over 4,800 acres and is literally a massive operation. The resort was purchased in the spring of 2002 by Vail Resorts Inc. who has pumped over $36 million in on-mountain capital to improve and upgrade the site. Enhanced snowmaking on 70% of all mountain trails, expanded grooming, outstanding terrain parks, new signage and access to tree skiing are just a few of the improvements that have been made.

The ski season at Heavenly runs roughly from mid-November to late April. The vertical drop is 3,500 feet and the top elevation is 10,067 feet. The mountain spans California where the base elevation is at 6,540 feet and Nevada where the base elevation is at 7,200 feet. Annual snowfall is 360 inches on average but they had 480 inches during the 2004-2005 season.

The resort has 30 lifts, 15 in California and 15 in Nevada, highlighted by an eight-person gondola and an aerial tram. As far as skiing goes, the mountain offers something for everyone. 35% of trails are rated expert/advanced; 45%are intermediate; and 20% are beginner.

Heavenly has a veritable cornucopia of additional amenities and close access to all the lodging, shopping, dining, recreational, entertainment and fitness facilities that you could possibly imagine. It is truly a fantastic resort.

At the north end of the lake we find Squaw Valley USA, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. It was founded in 1949 amidst 8,000 acres of wilderness preserve in the California High Sierra. Today it boasts over 4,000 acres over six Sierra peaks.

Squaw Valley offers skiers a unique experience since there are literally thousands of acres of open bowl skiing as opposed to the trails that most people (especially Easterners) are accustomed to. Skiing in wide-open bowls in consistently deep snow allows skiers of all levels to kick their skill sets up a notch. There are 16 open bowls to choose from and over 100 runs that are serviced by 33 lifts. The terrain is rated at 25% beginner, 45% intermediate and 30% expert.

The area receives over 450 inches of snowfall annually and boasts one of the most advanced and sophisticated grooming operations around. Three terrain parks and two half pipes round out the operation to include something for everyone. The summit is 9,050 feet with a base of 6,200 feet, making the vertical an impressive 2,850 feet.

Squaw Valley, like Heavenly, offers close proximity to the Lake Tahoe area with all the added attractions and amenities. An absolutely world-class resort, you also have the additional perk of skiing down slopes once graced by Olympic athletes.

These are only two of the many world-class ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe region but they clearly give an indication of the fine facilities that are available. For winter sports enthusiasts who enjoy a nice meal, a relaxing spa and terrific shopping after a day spent on some of the most awesome runs anywhere in the world, Lake Tahoe is a must visit.