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Top five things I love about Kirkwood

Winter has begun, and one of my favorite resorts – Kirkwood Mountain Resort -- is open!  As you make your resort plans, here are the top five things I love about Kirkwood:

1. Snow – Of the 23 downhill and Cross Country Ski Resorts in the Lake Tahoe area, Kirkwood Resort gets the most snow hands down with an average of 600 inches per year.  That’s pretty darn impressive!

2. Terrain - The resort is located southwest of Lake Tahoe, however, there’s no question it’s well worth the drive.  Kirkwood has over 2,300 skiable acres and a top elevation of 9,800 feet above sea level.  With over 81 trails and 15 lifts, I would say it's probably more on the advanced end, but there are definitely places to find beginner and intermediate runs, too. When the snow is deep and conditions are good, one of my favorite runs at Kirkwood is The Wall.  The Wall is viewable from the village in Kirkwood -- when you step into the village plaza, look up to the mountain and it’s the first thing you will see.  It’s steep, rocky and fun.

3. The Swatch Freeride World Tour – This big mountain signature series competition takes place on The Cirque which has more cliff drops and gullies in a 100-yard area than most mountains , and is permanently closed to the general public. Judges score athletes on line selection, air and style, fluidity, control and technique.

Kirkwood Resort Race Map
The Cirque! Photo Credit

4. Snow Safety Training - As more people venture into the backcountry, avalanche certification classes are becoming more popular and important. Kirkwood has become one of the West Coast’s largest avalanche education providers, offering AIARE Level 1 and Level 2 Courses throughout the winter. For more information, visit Kirkwood’s website.

5. Passes - Vail Resorts bought Kirkwood in February of 2012 giving skiers and riders the opportunity to enjoy three amazing mountains under one pass:  Heavenly Mountain Resort, Kirkwood Mountain Resort and Northstar California.  Passes for the current season are no longer available, but if you have an EPIC pass, make sure you give Kirkwood a try!

I really enjoy skiing Kirkwood and am looking forward to making more turns there this season. Have you been to Kirkwood?  Do you plan to ski or ride there this winter?  If so, make a comment below!   

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Stephen Berei

Stephen founded  Granite Rocx LLC with Sophia Berman in February 2013, and their super-cool backpack can carry a folding chair along with a cooler – perfect for Tahoe! He lives in Zephyr Cove, NV and hikes and skis as often as he can. Follow Stephen on Twitter and his personal blog.

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