Kirkwood, CA Report: Searching for Powder

Adrian Dolatschko | | Conditions ReportConditions Report

 

Powder Slashes! Skier/Image: Adrian Dolatschko

** Report From 1/25 **

After an 18″ storm hit Kirkwood last weekend, the plan for the day was to find any scraps of fresh snow that might be remaining. We scoured the terrain with mixed luck until we decided to go beyond the ski area boundary.

A first run down the Cornice Express Lift #6 featured wind affected slopes that had a mix of soft and hard snow. The conditions were fun, but we were seeking fresher snow.

Once The Wall lift #10 opened we quickly ventured into the far reaches of the Eagle Bowl and Lower Cirque.

Powder Turns! – Skier Adrian Dolatschko, Image: Krishtof Korda

We spent several laps hitting features in the Eagle Bowl that largely had soft and supportive landings and great coverage after the recent storms. While the Wall and wind affected upper parts of the Eagle Bowl were chalky, the lower we got the better the snow got!  We found patches of mostly untouched powder that seemed to have been kept in good shape by the consistent wind-loading and shade.

Scoping Lines – Skier Adrian Dolatschko, Image: Krishtof Korda
Kirkwood Backside – Image: Adrian Dolatschko

Approaching mid-day our ambitions for fresh snow only increased after the promising conditions in the Eagle Bowl. As a result, we decided to head beyond the area boundaries to a nearby high alpine bowl. With avalanche conditions at Level 1 of 5, the backcountry was fair-game.

Over Powder and Ice – Image Adrian Dolatschko

While hiking, we traversed over windblown ridges, patches of ice, powder, rocks, and everything in between. 

Snow Scales – Image: Adrian Dolatschko

Having reached the bowl, an expanse of largely untracked snow greeted us. We could see several patches of shining ice reflecting in the sun between rocks and expanses of soft powder. It seemed an already successful day would get even better with more powder!

The Sierra Alpine – Image: Adrian Dolatschko
Dropping! – Skier/Image: Adrian Dolatschko

The backcountry bowl was exactly what we had hoped for. Wide expanses of untracked powder.  Luckily, cold temperatures throughout the week and minimal sunlight on the many northern aspect slopes left us with good chances!

Opening the Throttle (See Red Dots) – Skier/Image: Adrian Dolatschko

 

The conditions at Kirkwood and beyond are great as long as you aren’t afraid to look for the fresh snow. A mix of wind-affected snow, packed powder, ice, crud, and powder made for variable conditions that are a lot of fun. Hopefully, temperatures do not rise so the conditions last until the next storm.

Snow Numbers:

Image: Kirkwood

Forecast:

NOAA Predicts:

  • No precipitation and relatively high temperatures for the next few days
  • An approaching storm system and colder temperatures on Wednesday night and beyond

 

NOAA Forecast

Photos:

The Cornice Lift in the Wind, Image: Adrian Dolatschko
Kirkwood Side-Country, Image: Adrian Dolatschko
Finding Soft Landings – Skier: Adrian Dolatschko,  Image: Krishtof Korda
Windblown Ridges, Image: Adrian Dolatschko

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