by: Carlos photo: Wendy Simard
This spring my wife and I got together with some good friends and went out to Kirkwood Resort in South Lake Tahoe after a 100+” dump the week prior. We weren’t sure what to expect but knew this would be a trip to remember. Bluebird skies, temperatures averaging in the 50s, and absolutely no lift lines made for epic days of heavy shredding, lots of firsts, and plenty of smiles. Conditions were very unique with fly-paper sticky groomers—so much so that hitting anything flatter than a Blue trail meant unstrapping and walking. So we decided to get steep, very steep.
DAY ONE, Saturday was all about exploration and we knew there was potential for rain but never expected to get pounded with hail. (Start of the lift: Hey, look at that dark cloud back there, wonder when it’ll arrive here? End of the lift: I’m getting pelted!) Needless to say we decided to call it and wait for the next day, which promised better conditions.
DAY TWO, Sunday was textbook spring skiing, 60 and sunny. We had the mountain practically to ourselves so we rode all over starting at Wagon Wheel Bowl. We hit a zone called “The Wall,” that true to its name delivered a serious vertical drop. We connected with “Dick’s Drop off,” a chute-like area that allowed little room for mistakes (it was wicked narrow). With no shortage of stoke we dropped into a ravine called the “The Drain” which allowed for more jibability.
Adrenaline was high and the fun factor was through the roof so we decided to head to another zone on the backside of the mountain. With a trail name like “Happiness is” you can’t go wrong. This Bowl offered endless possibilities and we spotted a fire road with lots of jumps that we boosted off.
DAY THREE, Monday was about taking things to another level and we dropped into “Chamoix” and later into “Cliff Chute.” No shortage of speed on these steep faces and at this point we were super comfortable with the terrain and ended up in a medium park that dumped you in a minipipe. So much fun! To finish up the day we hit the Banff film festival, which happened to be in town (hosted by a dude named “Squirrel”—it’s Tahoe!), and got psyched on all kinds of action sports flicks including local Jeremy Jones’ movie Deeper. After watching kayaks drop huge waterfalls and rock climbers conquer Mount Asgard only to base jump off the rock in wingsuits we were ready to call it a night.
DAY FOUR, Tuesday we were still stoked on the movies so we hit up “The Wave,” a massive wind lip that forms off the backside peak. It’s hard to explain how big and steep the drop is but as we were going up the lift we saw a skier drop it and it was pretty epic. We needed to check it out and we were not disappointed. When I go surfing and I’m not familiar with the wave I position myself away from the peak and pick up the ends of the wave. I feel out the speed and steepness of the takeoff and progressively get closer to it. This approach proved relevant on “The Wave” and it was hands down the steepest, fastest drop I’ve ever stepped up to.
Kirkwood’s tag line is Rare Earth and it lived up to it. Shredding so many open bowls and endless line possibilities helps you make the most out of every run. The feel of a small mountain with terrain for days and the absence of crowds makes for a great time. After this shredathon we went to San Francisco to check out the city and I was super impressed. It makes my top list of cities to visit in the US. But don’t take my word for it… check out our Flickr album with photos from my trip and many others!