|Originally posted by Gill:
...but I think the shorter lift lines at Kirkwood is the deal maker (wife hates lift lines even more than me)...
Well...it's not quite
that simple. Not to rain on everyone's Kirkwood picnic, but Kirkwood has a quad lift, installed a couple of seasons ago. The rest of the lifts are slow. There is no comparison with Heavenly here. Some are more frequently victimized by wind, like the Sunrise chair which services great corniced terrain and the very fine descents into the Cirque. If enough chairs are on wind hold, you'll use the new Cornice Quad, as will everyone else. In that situation, the singles line to that chair can stretch up the slope.
Also, skiing the Cornice as access to the great terrain over in Sentinal and Palisades puts you down into the Timber Creek beginner area. The only chair back is the Hole n' Wall double (you miss terrain if you cut over early from Sentinal to the Cornice chair). "Shorter lift lines at Kirkwood" does not apply in this case. You are on this lift with the ski school and the beginners.
If you hate lift lines, this will be a big problem. Another lift is planned for this area.
Of course skiing during the week offers fewer skiers, but again, keep in mind, Heavenly has a lot of fast lifts, and Kirkwood has poor lifts and awkward connectivity. Both places are great to ski, I like them both
. But it's not like Heavenly blows and Kirkwood has no problems.
I should say about Kirkwood, it is 50% expert and 50% very easy intermediate. There is only one intermediate run that goes up to the ridge, over at Sunrise. Thus, if you want to ski the ridge, you are a pretty good skier. But you do best
at Kirkwood if you like to explore. Take the Cornice lift, then traverse skier's left into Sentinal Bowl and beyond into Palisades Bowl. You'll see a couple of caves over there (provided they aren't covered...could happen, but probably not yet in late January). The runs ("runs" is a bad term. It's where you
want to go) are wonderful, truly some of the finest skiing you will do. Follow tracks up the ridge for even more terrain you might otherwise miss.
On the other end of the resort, off of the top of Chair 2, there is a good climb into really nice slopes. I like the cornice area over at Sunrise and the drops into the Cirque area. They do the extreme skiing competion on Thimble above it all.
Stay away from the Wall. Everyone
skis it, all the boarders are on it, and it gets skied down quickly. It's steep, but there is a lot of other steep terrain people don't ski and the snow is really good. If the snow looks nice and not scraped down, it'll be fun.
I've told you the places I like at Heavenly. The lifts there are good, and again, on a weekday you'll do fine anywhere, so I'm not sure what is meant by "shorter" lines at Kirkwood, because on the weekend Kirkwood gets crowded too, with inferior lifts. I've skied both places at least 15 times each. And if you can ski Mott and Killebrew at Heavenly, you won't see a line. Cheer up the lonely lift attendant.