Kirkwood Mountain Resort

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Kirkwood Mountain Resort
TimberCreekExpressLift KirkwoodMountainResort Feb2012.jpg
Location Thimble Peak
Covered Wagon Peak
The Sisters
Glove Rock
Nearest city Kirkwood, California
Coordinates 38°41′02″N 120°04′05″W / 38.684°N 120.068°W / 38.684; -120.068Coordinates: 38°41′02″N 120°04′05″W / 38.684°N 120.068°W / 38.684; -120.068
Vertical 2,000 ft (610 m)
Top elevation 9,800 ft (3,000 m)
Base elevation 7,800 ft (2,400 m)
Skiable area 2,300 acres (930 ha)
Runs 65+ total
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg 15% beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg 50% intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg 35% advanced
Longest run 2.5 mi (4.0 km)
Lift system 15 lifts (2 high speed quads, 1 fixed-grip quad, 6 triple chairs, 1 double chair, 2 surface lifts, 2 magic carpets, 1 tubing lift)
Lift capacity passengers/hr
Terrain parks Burton Adventure Land
Burton Progression Park
K2 Stomping Grounds
Border X Course
Snowfall ~500 in (1,300 cm)
Night skiing None
Website www.kirkwood.com

Kirkwood Mountain Resort is a year-round resort in Kirkwood, California south of Lake Tahoe that focuses on skiing and snowboarding in winter and hiking and mountain-biking in summer. Kirkwood is one of the region's larger resorts, and is well known for having one of the highest average snowfalls and a broad selection of advanced skiing terrain. The mountain is unique in that it has 2 mi (3.2 km) ridgeline at the top. This makes Kirkwood popular for cliff drops and cornices. Kirkwood is approximately 33 mi (53 km) south of South Lake Tahoe, California on State Route 88 and is contained within the Eldorado National Forest. Most of the region's resorts are at the northern end of the lake, near Truckee, California. Kirkwood, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Heavenly are located on the southern side of the lake.

Skiing and snowboarding[edit]

Two new surface tows opened in the 2008-2009 season to provide access to formerly "hike-to" terrain along Vista Ridge and Fawn Ridge. The best time to catch them running is the second or later days after a storm cycle.

The Kirkwood Ski Education Foundation (KSEF) ski team trains before the lifts are open to the public. KSEF offers numerous training programs for any age or ability. The development team free-skis on weekends and also works on fundamental skills, while the race team focuses on racing skills.

In 2009 and 2010, Kirkwood hosted a leg of the North American Freeskiing Championships in the permanently closed "Cirque" area.

Tiber Creek area of Kirkwood Mountain Resort with beginner trails, lessons, tubing and snowmobile course.
Timber Creek area of Kirkwood Mountain Resort with beginner trails, lessons, tubing and snowmobile course.

Summer activities[edit]

In the summer months, Kirkwood is a destination for mountain biking and hiking. Well-known mountain biking trails such as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride are nearby. From approximately the first weekend in July to the first weekend in September chairs #1 and #2 are open for mountain biking along most front-side trails. A trials course sits near the base of chair #1. Bike rentals are available. 2 to 3 day advance reservations before renting are recommended, as a large group can rent all available bikes before the lifts open. They offer lighter weight downhill and a heavy duty downhill bikes, currently supplied by Kona. As of the end of 2008 summer season there were plans to expand the summer lift program to include lift #7. Hikers frequent downhill trails during the morning hours. Lift tickets can be purchased, but there is no fee for riding a bike up.

Other summer activities include a well-equipped gym with a pool and spa with membership or room rental, climbing wall and ropes course and a free disk golf course.

Facilities[edit]

In the 21st century, condominium and time-share projects have been completed which provide substantial accommodations right at the resort. Rooms are typically over $150/night (2007). Cheaper accommodations ($29/night and up) can be found in South Lake Tahoe, about 45 minutes away. A Guest Shuttle offers $5 trips to and from South Lake Tahoe.

Reliable electrical service was a serious concern for the resort and surrounding community from before the resort opened in 1972 until the area connected to the electrical grid in 2014.[1] The resort relied on its own power plant for decades despite original plans to connect it to the electric grid. The local community was also dependent on the resort's plant. A New Year's Day fire in 2010 destroyed the resort's 1970s diesel plant. Temporary generators served the resort until construction was completed on a replacement plant.[2][3] On November 1, 2014, the area was connected to the power grid, significantly improving the safety and reliability of electrical service.

Kirkwood Meadows Public Utility District (KMPUD) is a California public agency that provides utility services to the Kirkwood resort and community including electricity, propane, water, and wastewater. On November 1, 2014, KMPUD completed construction and commenced operation of a 10 megawatt, 28 mile electricity transmission line connecting the Kirkwood area to the western electric grid thus retiring diesel generation to standby only for backup purposes. KMPUD began construction of this project during the summer of 2013, after acquiring the predecessor electric utility in 2011, and studying, permitting and designing this project starting in 2006.

Ownership[edit]

Vail Resorts, Inc. acquired Kirkwood Mountain Resort in April, 2012 as announced on February 22, 2012.[4] Vail Resorts acquired two other Tahoe region resorts in the prior decade, Heavenly Mountain Resort and Northstar California, both of which subsequently experienced significant facility upgrades. As of the announcement, no immediate improvements to the Kirkwood Mountain Resort had been planned by Vail Resorts.

References[edit]

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