Kirkwood Mountain Resort-The Insiders Guide to Riding and Skiing

As an avid snowboarder who has visited mountains around the country it is tough to pick a favorite… after one season at Kirkwood it wasn’t hard to pick one. With terrain that will challenge anyone regardless of skill level and a great atmosphere with a friendly staff Kirkwood is the place to be. Due to its location when the Sierra’s get storms they funnel through the Kirkwood valley and help add to the highest snowfall of any resort in the Tahoe region, 469 inches of snowfall this season. Two feet of fresh powder and blue skies was not an uncommon occurrence this year and helped me have the most fun that I have ever had on a snowboard. Due to the challenging terrain and amazing conditions I improved my ability level and confidence and had a blast while doing it.

Here is the mountain lowdown… for skiers and riders like me who love steep fast powder runs and wide open trees this is the place.

Chair six is a high speed quad which will bring you all the way up to the top… head left off the chair and you have hundreds of feet of cornice to jump off of into fields of powder, ride down through the finger chutes and head to the very appropriately named “The Drain” which is a great bowl with 35 foot walls on each side. If you head right off the chair take the short traverse over to sentinel bowl and hold on, fast and steep and on a powder day very deep. If you stay high to the skiers left and traverse out you can get into the palisades which is some of the best tree skiing on the planet. Chair ten “The Wall” is a triple which is only for confident skiers and riders… if you want to challenge yourself this it the chair to ride. The beginning part is extremely steep and sometimes you will have to take a 3 foot drop just to get started. It you ride down to the skiers right and drop into Eagle bowl you will not be disappointed, personally my favorite run on any mountain I have ever ridden, with boulders to jump off of, chutes galore, and wide open faces hearing people screaming shouts of joy is not uncommon. If you ride chair two over to the backside you can access acres upon acres of terrain that is tons of fun. From chair four (the main lift on the backside) head out skiers right and ride the wave, a humongous cornice that has a perfect steep landing that flattens out and leads you right into some really good trees. If you are willing to hike stay on top of the wave and hike out about ten minutes to Fawn’s ridge, virgin snow and some interesting terrain enable you to come up with some really creative lines and truly have a good time. If you traverse out to the skiers left and stay high you can jump into the world famous “Thunder Saddle” which has a great cornice, cliffs, and tons of chutes… not to mention it holds the most snow on the mountain and I have personally got fresh tracks through it at 4 O’clock on a Saturday. If the snow isn’t great and you don’t want to get off the groomers the backside around chair four has some really fun trails that are steep and really really fast. They had three terrain parks this year aimed at beginner, intermediate, and advanced and there was also a boarder cross course that had big banked turns and jumps and was a great time. If you are a beginner don’t worry the Timber Creek area is very mellow and is even set off to the side of the mountain so you don’t have to worry about as many people getting in your way. Whatever you like to do on the mountain Kirkwood has it, from beginner to advanced, and crazy to mellow if you like having fun out on the mountain take these tips I have given you and go have a good time!