Fresh snow reignites ski season | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Fresh snow reignites ski season

Susan Wood, Tribune staff writer

Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily TribuneUnder the direction of Lift Operations Manager Emma Davies, sitting in a chairlift with her dog Mack, Kirkwood marketing members, from left, Tracy Miller, Allan Elliot, Amy Allen and Holly Collins get ready for Memorial weekend skiing.

In the age of global warming, South Shore skiing and boarding on Memorial Day weekend may seem as remote as the quiet nature of Kirkwood Mountain Resort on the back side.

But Kirkwood wants to offer this temporary opportunity on chairlifts 5 and 6 — Solitude and Cornice Express — on May 24 and 25, one month after it closed.

The resort split between Alpine and Amador counties had received much late-season snowfall, leaving many zealous season-pass holders hungry for more days to carve fresh tracks.

Just last week, Kirkwood picked up another 2 feet of snow. Its last day presented the same conditions.

“In 25 years, I’ve never seen anything like that where we’ve had fresh powder on the last day of operation. We were caught off guard,” Kirkwood President Tim Cohee said, recalling conditions comparable to its 1975 closing.

The wet conditions in April and May dramatically lifted a poor season for snowpack levels, which recovered for the year at 99 percent of normal.

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Even with enough snow to ride on, Kirkwood — like other resorts — found it economically unfeasible to stay open. The majority of skiers who do fill out the season to the end encompass pass holders so the resort is no longer making money off them.

Kirkwood will reopen from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 24-25 with a pass promotion party that features a Hawaiian barbecue, music and a snow sculpture contest.

“It’s our way of saying thanks,” Kirkwood spokeswoman Tracy Miller said.

Tickets cost $25 for adults, $20 for juniors and $10 for seniors and children. Those who buy next season’s pass will have their lift ticket refunded.

All three South Shore ski resorts have closed for the 2002-03 season. On the North Shore, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows plan to close May 26.

— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com

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