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Kirkwood Mgt. Anti Skier/Boarder

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Just got back from a trip to Lake Tahoe and after my expierience at

Kirkwood one can only conclude that owners/management there could care

less about the needs of core skiers. After a windy storm with initial rain

then snow (12"-18", small by K-Wood standards) the resort didn't open any

real lifts till 10:30 on tuesday, chair 10 (The Wall) did not open, nor did the

backside (chair 4) all day. We came back wednesday assuming the

incredible terrain there would finally open.....Wrong. The only chair serving

good terrain to open at 9am was the "Cornice" chair, naturally there was a

mob of hundreds of riders waiting to shred. After "Cornice" was tracked out

in 45 minutes the mob, which was growing, moves to chair 10. Another 30+

minute wait in line, its a bluebird day and the snow is literally is getting

baked minute by minute as the throngs wait. Finally chair 10 opens and

"The Wall" gets tracked out in 30-45 minutes. Now the masses move to the

top of Caples

Crest chair waiting for the opening of the backside terrain. The backside

finally opens at 12:30, by then the sun has turned some of the pow into

pow/mash, its still a blast, but not ideal.

..........Basically, the reason K-Woods incredible snow & terrain baked in

the sun for hours, and skiers idled literally for hours, was that Kirkwood

management is too cheap to hire 3 or 4 more patrollers and a few more lift

op/ technicians. I have never heard so many local skiers blast the practices

of their home resort. One local was planning to print up some T-Shits that

said: "Kirkwood- "The Best Snow You Can't Get To".

Bottom line:
Kirkwood's combination of terrain and snow potentially put

it in the top 4-5 resorts in North America. Kirkwoods management priorities

will make me think twice about going there again... What a shame.
post #2 of 4
It's not so much that Kirkwood is anti anyone nor a lack of patrollers.

Rather it is more that with the advent of specialized services such as their Expedition program and their sno-cat tours - they have begun "saving" the steeper and more pow filled runs for the high-end clients that pay for the speciality programs.

I suggest you learn to poach the good stuff - some locals have taken to doing that as a way of thumbing their noses at the management.

The old Kirkwood was built and run by avid skiers who believed that the snow came first. Since the mid 90's - the management team lead by Tim Cohee has focused entirely on real estate development and catering to the high-dollar crowd. Saving the snow for these luxury clients has taken front seat to all other concerns.

My only hope is for a massive downturn in the value of second homes and timeshares.
post #3 of 4
The way KW opens lifts on post storm days has changed little over the years. Parvo's angry imagination is misplaced having nothing to do with the chair openings, haha. If they hired more patrol their overhead would increase putting more pressure on raising lift ticket rates. On big storm days the Backside, Sisters, and Pallisades are closed due to avy dangers so nothing new there. I and others don't mind the staged opening of lifts on post powder days usually because I'm savvy enough to move around the mountain wisely as lifts open and hike out to fresh goods. I like the Chinese downhill too! As for 12:30pm opening on the backside, they never used to open on big fresh days before about 10:30am thus 12:30pm with KWs increased terrain today is not surprising. But yeah I'd rather see it open 11am too. Some slopes will get a bit sun warmed but there is lots that is usually just fine. In any case fresh powder midweek 2006 after any storm lasts far far less than even Saturdays in the early 80s. Just too many boarders these days.

post #4 of 4

A few more patrollers won't matter

My wife and I skiied Kirkwood Saturday (10-15 minute lift lines during the late morning on Saturday) and heard plenty from local skiiers and a very candid patroller about the current management of Kirkwood. Most was quite negative in nature. We also noted that getting there is NOT easy even on rt88 as advertised. Before we visited, we witnessed a real hard sell local campaign for skiing Kirkwood in a varierty of media. What we heard at Kirkwood in summary: it's all about real estate development. Now for many places real estate development hasn't materially affected the skiers on snow experiece (Snowmass, Beaver creek, etc) but the sentiment we gathered (like an avalanche from about a dozen people over the weekend) was that skiiing is not really the interest of Kirkwood's management, rather it's moving some high end property and making Kirkwood a much more exclusive place to ski. To that end the area ski operations are not the focus at Kirkwood and I think objective evaluations do bear that out. Could they open more earlier on great snow days and does the management want to save prime terrain for "expedition Kirkwood"? Well, I think it can be a reasonable evaluation.
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