Kirkwood, CA Conditions Report: Knee Deep But Rocky

Bevan Waite |






IMG_7177Tahoe had a killer weekend last week.  40” of snow fell from Thursday to Sunday on average around the area.  Kirkwood was particularly amazing on Friday Dec. 11th.  Kirkwood is now 100% open.

Low crowds, and copious amounts of snow were the defining features of the day.  I arrived around 10 am and was on the mountain at 10:30.  I thought I’d missed my chance to get first tracks anywhere, but I was fantastically mistaken.   I followed some skiers on the traverse through Sentinel bowl into the Palisades and to my surprise, the Palisades were barely skied at that point.  Unfortunately, I left my GoPro in the car and missed capturing the untouched awesomeness on video.


It was faceshots all the way down to the valley. 4 times in a row.  Luckily, by the time I got down the first time, chair 7 was just opening and there was no need to take the shuttle back to the main lodge.  After getting several core shots from hidden rocks in the palisades, I decided it was no longer worth chewing up my skis for freshies, so I migrated to chair 11 where I waited in line less than 10 minutes for it to open.


I was on the lift before the first riders had even made it to the top and was blessed by another two runs of basically untracked bliss.


The skiing was great until I started hitting rocks left and right.  The rocks were completely hidden which made it like skiing through a mine field.  It was nearly impossible to predict where you might destroy the bases of your skis.  I had two major core shots by lunch which I took to the shop to be repaired.  By 4 pm I had 2 more, though, as the terrain got a bit more skied off, it was easier to avoid the rocks.


Skiing through hidden rocky knives was a bit menacing and caused me to have much less confidence in the snow and in myself.  I was defensively skiing; aggressiveness was risky and kept to a minimum…  But hey, that’s Kirkwood for you.  It was still well worth it.


Sunday dumped even more snow: roughly 12-17 inches.  I’m sure this covered up most of the rock mines lying just beneath the surface.  This weekend we are looking at an additional 12 inches Friday night / Saturday, so get up there early!


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2 thoughts on “Kirkwood, CA Conditions Report: Knee Deep But Rocky

  1. I took a shot to a ski (that they told me could not be repaired properly) last year at Whiteface in December after they got a foot of snow. Guess the base wasn’t deep enough. This year is an even bigger disaster with temperatures barely below freezing at night. It may be February before it’s even somewhat acceptable. I have a season pass, I won’t go if it’s mediocre to bad…I wonder if they will give me credit towards next year.

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