Kirkwood hands down gets the most snow in the Tahoe area with an average of 600 inches per year. That’s pretty darn impressive! It’s located southwest of Lake Tahoe in a unique location on the Sierra Crest somewhat out of the way. However, there’s no question it’s well worth the drive. The mountain has 2,300 skiable acres with a top elevation of 9,800 feet above sea level. Kirkwood has over 81 trails with 15 lifts. I would say it’s probably more on the advanced end, but there are definitely places to find blues and greens on the mountain. It’s also extremely well known for its mountain biking trails in the summer, but I’ll discuss them in a later post.
Learn about Kirkwood!
I was super excited when Vail Resorts bought Kirkwood because I would have the opportunity to go there more often as it’s now included with the Heavenly and Northstar pass. Unfortunately, I really didn’t make it out there as much as I had expected this winter partly because January and February were pretty sparse of snow. Kirkwood is amazing when there is snow, but I tend to stay away if they haven’t gotten some fresh snow in the past few days. Either way, my last day at Kirkwood was in early January and we hadn’t gotten much snow. The conditions weren’t stellar, but with that said I very much enjoyed spending the day there with my family who was visiting.
One of my favorite runs at Kirkwood is The Wall, while I also like to ski the backside of the mountain. The Wall is viewable from the village in Kirkwood. Basically, when you go into the village, it’s the first thing you will notice when looking at the mountain. It’s steep, rocky and fun. Kirkwood is generally more of an open mountain. The Covered Wagon peak area on the backside is a great place to find some deep powder and spend an afternoon.
Kirkwood just hosted the Freeride World Tour on February 27th. The mountain was the fourth stop out of the six stops of the Freeride Tour 2013, FWT13. At Kirkwood, the competition takes place on The Cirque which has more cliff drops and gullies in a 100-yard area than most mountains. It’s closed to the public. Judges use a point system of a hundred increments from 0.0 to 10.0 to evaluate the competitors’ runs. The five judging criteria are line, air and style, fluidity, control and technique. It’s a great event. Below is The Cirque!
They also host avalanche training sessions over the winter months. The classes will generally last three days on the snow. The next one is actually coming up next week March 12th-14th, 2013. The classes are the AIARE Avalanche 1 classes. For more information, go here.
I really enjoy skiing Kirkwood and will most definitely make more appearances next winter! Have you been to Kirkwood? If so, feel free to make a comment below. Also follow me on twitter @sberei!