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kirkwood, 12/26-12/28

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
on paper, this looks like a mistake. It had been snowing the entire week of christmas, and the first weekend after the holiday is typically a gaperfest. But we gave it a go anyway.

Kirkwood is a funny place- on one hand, it's a highly developed condo resort that feels homey and comfortable, lots of families. In contrast, there's not much else around and it's really tough to find a decent restaurant if you want something nicer than nachos and pizza. Only one g-store, and the resort is literally miles from anything else. Seems like most of the crowd are locals, or at least have a strong sense of loyalty to the K'wood. We had a condo directly across the street from the lodge and Bub's.

12/26, Friday. We made it through the multiple CHP chain checkpoints (from placerville on up) and got on the mountain before 11AM on friday. Weather was cold (<10F) and clear- very sunny and bright. Apparently we were lucky to make it- hwy 50 closed not long after we made it through due to a very severe accident.

incredibly, lines were very short. It was basically skiing directly onto the chair for #6 and #10. Almost everything was open except for the new surface lifts (some problems with coverage over there and they never opened while I was there).

#6 and the traverse out to sentinel was calling. The prior week's storms left 40-50 inches of pow, and I could see untracked snow off the sentinel ridge. It was still very cold, so the snow was wonderfully light - knee to waist-high shots for the rest of the day, with a few small cliff drops and elevator shafts in the trees around cave rock. unbelievable.

12/27, Saturday. The temperature was starting to come up, and it was in the 20's by breakfast. high fog shrouded the upper mountain but it looked like the sun was trying to come through- by afternoon it was partially sunny with only a few thin clouds around. I hit #6 some more in the morning, but it was clear the snow was getting heavier as the temperature was coming up. I was really enjoying the small drops in the trees, and the snow back there was still holding up nicely despite getting tracked out a bit more - man, my Mythic Riders eat this stuff up and have no issues with moderately deep tracked-out pow. The bumps were forming nicely off the main runs, so I spent most of the rest of the day looking for lines and dodging loafers. Again, the crowds were mostly non-existent on the chairs, although the patio and cafes were completely jammed- I had to eat lunch out on the snow, and the lodge stopped table service.

12/28 Sunday. Temps are really rising- by 9AM I'd ditched the shell and skiied the remainder of the day in a sweater. Partially cloudy, but the sun started poking through and it was sunny by the afternoon. It was definitely above freezing with little to no breeze, and even the chair lift rides weren't enough time to cool off after zippering the bumps. Speaking of bumps, they're starting to get nice off the steep side of #6 - not too big, but big enough to keep most of the gapers out. I hiked the ridge again, but found the snow getting too heavy and mushy. Still some nice lines to be had, but more effort to get through it. Didn't bother spending much time in the trees. Despite the recent dump, coverage in some areas was getting thin by the afternoon- a combination of scrapers and the rising temps leading to the occasional exposed rock. Nothing serious, but they'll definitely need more snow soon. Where are the crowds that I was expecting?

Unfortunately, I left my camera back at home- there were some incredible photo ops. I spent most of my time off #6, with a few runs elsewhere. The remaining time we spent skiing with our 6 year old, who's turning into quite a shredder.

Finished up the day and hit the lodge to celebrate an exceptional post-christmas trip with a few cocktails.

Happy New Year!
post #2 of 5
nice report.

This is my 7th straight season at Kirkwood and I was really amazed as well by the lack of crowds over this past holiday weekend. Complete turnaround from the past two years IMO.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
no kidding- kirkwood was a previous fave of mine from many years ago and I always associate it with some degree of crowd. I was completely surprised by the crowd, and it was amazing to be able to ski directly on to the chair- the most crowded lift was #7, where my son was skiing the ditch of doom and ditch of gloom! gotta get him up to the steeps to get away from the crowds!
post #4 of 5
Nice, makes me feel like I'm missing out on some fun because I've never been there.
post #5 of 5
Sweet. I hope this light holiday crowd thing continues. We'll be there either saturday or sunday of MLK weekend.
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