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09/10 season pass input: Squaw, Kirkwood, or Heavenly?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone.  I'm about to pull the early trigger for a season pass, but I need some help.


I started off my first Tahoe season this year at Northstar/Sierra.  It was nice, but I can't say it was completely exciting.  As with any day on the mountain, I had a good time and counted my blessings each day that I was able to do it.


In the midst of milking every drop of value from my Double Whammy pass, I never got the chance to try out other Tahoe resorts.


I checked out Squaw Valley last weekend, and it seemed like the variety of challenges was exactly what I was looking for.  It also didn't seem like the drive would be much worse than Northstar in a storm.  (Don't have a Subie. )


Three complicating factors:


1.  Squaw is ~40% more expensive than Kirkwood or Heavenly.  Although this is a minimal issue, it is something I want to keep in mind.


2.  I'm a prodigal-son mountain biker.  I laid off riding last year, but I'm getting back into it again this year.  It'd be nice to have some lift-served light FR as a lazy option.  Kirkwood offers an add-on summer pass, but it seems to be located relatively in the middle of nowhere.  Is there good AM/light-FR riding (not necessarily lift-served) near Kirkwood?


3.  Sidecountry.  I want to venture into it.  Been slowly collecting the necessary stuff (equipment, safety equipment) and skills, and figure will be ready by the end of next season.  (Backcountry might be another year or two away).  But Squaw has that closed-boundary policy.


Which would you pull the trigger on?


Great thanks for any help and/or insight that is offered.

post #2 of 5

Kirkwood could be a bi*ch to drive to during storms due to avalanch closures. But if you managed to get there it will be a blast! Something to keep in mind.

post #3 of 5

When I lived in Davis, I picked Heavenly because I met some others with that pass and lodging was easy. 


I like Kirkwood a lot and it usually gets more snow than Heavenly BUT if you are staying overnight, lodging tends to be more expensive (unless you get into a decent ski lease) and there is not much going on there (when I last visited about 4 years ago).  Road there closes much more often.  OTOH, the Sugarwood pass offers nice North/South terrain options if they are still doing it and might be cheaper than the Squaw only pass.


I've never hit Squaw on a powder day, so it is not as high on my list as it is on some peoples, but it does have some nice steep shoots & open face skiing (but not much in the way of glades/tree IIRC).   


Heavenly is close to the casinos and I have had some excellent powder days there, but outside of Mott/Kilabrew and the front side moguls, it is more of an intermediate & advanced moutain than hardcore expert terrain.  Bigger than Kirkwood and more trees than Squaw (IIRC)





post #4 of 5

Squaw lifts were on wind hold just yesterday. Kirkwood has done a good job keeping the lifts open in bad weather. The key is that you need to be inside before the road closes.  I don’t think you will be disappointed with either choice. I personally will only buy pass to the resort that I have visited.

post #5 of 5

I think you've missed the deadlines for many of the early bird season passes.


Chose somewhere you won't get bored. Imo that means Squaw but I like steeps, fast blues and friendly locals, the Masters Program crew, ski patrollers who'll be down under soon,  and most people I met there. (Where are the rumoured pretentious snobs?).


I grabbed one for Heavenly too as that's where the wife and daughter like blues (and Heavenly let us ski on the 09/10 pass in 08/09's spring: I can't resist free skiing) . We're staying on the lake at Ski Run Blvd and on the Nevada side for extra variety.


If you missed out on season passes, what about a skilaketahoe.com 6 pak for an average $43 a day (at 08/09 rates). Get 7 resorts to chose from for 6 days. That's say 3 weekends at around half price.

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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › 09/10 season pass input: Squaw, Kirkwood, or Heavenly?