We hit some gullies and were the first on the lift in the a.m. (sweet corduroy) at Kirkwood. Here's how we zigzagged around the mountain: http://skitripper.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/easy-riders/
Kirkwood is often considered a mountain for serious skiers and boarders due its abundance of difficult terrain (i.e. The Wall and Thunder Saddle). But beginners listen up! Yesterday, we traveled to Kirkwood with two friends–a relative newbie to boarding and an intermediate boarder who had never rode Kirkwood. We spent the day on greens and blues, and experienced no shortage of runs. Beginner and intermediate trails comprise 65 percent of the terrain.
We arrived on the Bay Area Ski Bus at 7:40 a.m.–more than an hour before the lifts opened at 9 a.m. First, I thought, “Darn, I could’ve spent an extra half-hour underneath my warm covers,” but then I raced to get my gear together and up to the Timber Creek Express, where we were on the first chair of the day. Yippee! The first run, Hole ‘n’ Wall, was pure, untouched corduroy bliss, and I could feel people watching me glide down the mountain from the chairlift. Although it hadn’t snowed in a few days at Kirkwood, the snow was still in great shape (but it did become soft in the afternoon heat).
We then headed to the Solitude lift, where I dipped into a wide gully running along the side of Lower Zachary. Kirkwood is full of curvy natural halfpipes and gullies (check out the one by Buckboard, too). I am starting to enjoy the gullies (see my post on the Hot Wheels gully at Alpine), but I am still hesitant to ski in the trees. After riding the blues off Solitude, we decided go to my favorite blue on the mountain, Buckboard. It’s wide and snowy with trees on both sides. Next, wanting to take it easy, we rode the Snowkirk lift to Snowkirk and Hay Flat (greens). I practiced making turns on the gentle slope, before skiing to the backside of the mountain via the Caples Crest lift and Easy Rider (a blue). From there, we guessed it was time to start making our way back to the front of the mountain and boarded Iron Horse. Our friends didn’t believe the old-time, two person lift could hold two adults, but it can.
When we arrived back at the Timber Creek Day Lodge, everyone in our party was beaming, saying that the last run, on Home Run, was the best of the day. Who would’ve guessed?
Back at the bus, we celebrated with beers (compliments of a local brewery) and snacks, while plotting our next trip on the Bay Area Ski Bus.