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Kirkwood, California Review

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A video review of one of Lake Tahoe's toughest, most diverse ski resorts. Not for beginners and intermediates.


Video
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
That looks utterly terrifying. I think I'll leave it until I want to cash out on my life insurance
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
This skier was unlucky because the snow was crap. Kirkland usually has much better snow coverage about ~1200 cm per year and is more inviting with better coverage & fresher snow. In the right conditions, Kirkwood is a fun mountain for confident upper-intermediates/experts who enjoy off-piste terrain. Nice honest review nonetheless and the skier in the video is obviously extremely skilled. Kirkwood is one of those quirky mountains with loads of snow & expert terrain but with slow lifts & frugal lodges… it’s more an out-of-the-way excursion for local experts rather than a family friendly destination resort.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Tue 15-12-20 2:57; edited 2 times in total
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The many varied resorts in the Tahoe area are beautiful and a wonderful resource for Northern Californians, however, I would not recommend Tahoe for long-haul travelers due to low-altitude & variable snow conditions. However, if you are in the area here is a quick summary...

Kirkwood: expert terrain, loaded with snow, “old school feeling” (slow lifts, frugal lodges, etc.)
Squaw: expert terrain, modern infrastructure, considered by many to be the best in California.
Alpine Meadows: next door to Squaw, low-key and less intense, there are plans to eventually connect Squaw & Alpine Meadows.
Heavenly: largest in CA, varied terrain, beautiful views but with a confusing resort layout and serval flat sections that infuriate snowboarders. Fun party scene with casinos, etc.
Northstar: A civili$ed, family-friendly place, considered more of a “luxury” resort with all the associated amenities, dining, etc. Lovely place to ski.
Sierra at Tahoe: Tree skiing heaven.
Homewood: Smallish old-school resort with VIEWS! A fun place for mellow beginners and intermediates who don’t require a big mountain but appreciate the beautiful views.
Sugar Bowl: A fun and mellow ski area with varied terrain and loads of powder. Old-school feeling.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Ken in LA, good, accurate summary.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
peakslopecontent, Nice review video, thanks for reminding me why we enjoyed Kirkwood Toofy Grin and felt the drive worth it.

Quote:

@Ken in LA, good, accurate summary.


Yeah I'd agree too - no mention of Mt.Rose, I know its a little bit further but still worth the visit.
AS for Alpine / Squaw link up, that was on the cards when we were there back in 2005 - IIRC lift pylons were in place and that was as far as it had got Toofy Grin

For anyone who enjoys the variety of ski areas and doesn't mind driving a bit, Tahoe in a good snow year ( ours was ) is a nice place to visit. We flew into Reno and stayed in Tahoe City, at a place lakeside in the woods.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Kirkwood is my favourite area in Tahoe. Everything from the drive up to the vibe is very different from other more touristy areas. The video overstates the difficulty a bit though. You don't have to ski stuff like heart chute and while groomers like Zachs are about as steep as you can get and still be groomed ( and with a bit of wind polish a big shock to the unwitting first time visitor) the whole of Sunnyside area is pretty mellow. I also think Timber Creek is an excellent beginner area.

The eating situation is pretty grim though unless you get something from the grill at Sunnyside on a sunny day.

Diamond Peak at Incline is often missed off the lists of Tahoe ski areas and is good for mellow tree lined groomers at a more friendly price. Rose is a Reno locals' fave (also easily accessed from Incline)
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Bones, ah, those lift towers you saw are still there, but they carry nothing. Long story, google White Wolf Ski Area. Kind of a story of how stuff should not go. Near there, Squaw (who is changing their name) has approval to build a gondola linking to Alpine, which will be nice in my opinion, though there has been what I'd call typical local opposition.

I like how a Tahoe trip can combine the best elements of a road/day-skiing trip and a resort-based experience in the same trip. And the areas really do have different personalities.

As noted the cuisine scene generally sucks. One bright spot is there for young bucks who need mass quantities of fuel as opposed to fine dining--they can go to the buffets at the large casinos and fill up for a song.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
In terms of terrain...

Expert big mountain:
Squaw - excellent terrain, susceptible to wind hold, crazy competition for powder
Kirkwood - hard to get to, but good snow and less competition
Mt Rose - Highest base elevation, best balance of terrain, snow and (lack of) crowd

Tree Heaven:
Northstar - just ignore the fur coats, enjoy the quiet glades
Sierra-at-Tahoe - don't go there if you want to show off your fur

Mixed terrain (bit of everything):
Heavenly -- has some good terrain, but crowded and hard to get around the mountain for first visit
Alpine Meadows -- good alternative to Squaw, no really extreme terrain though
Homewood -- very low key
Diamondpeak -- low key to the point of sleepy, limited terrain though

Sugarbowl is the one mountain I've not been to.
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