Early opening stokes smiles at Kirkwood Mountain Resort
KIRKWOOD — Sunny skies and short lift lines greeted skiers and snowboarders at Kirkwood Mountain Resort Saturday, Nov. 14. on its opening day.
Following November storms, the resort was able to open a week earlier than initially scheduled, much to the delight of the skiers and snowboarders who made it out for the start of the ski season.
“It’s great that we have snow opening day, and we can open early,” said Christian Laurence, sporting a full giraffe costume for Saturday’s occasion.
“Much better than last year,” added Stockton, California, resident and Kirkwood passholder Amber Regan about opening-day conditions.
Early season conditions existed on some runs Saturday, with unmarked obstacles present under Chair 6. The wide-open groomed runs under Chair 5 attracted the most attention from skiers and snowboarders.
Some areas of skier-packed powder were getting a little choppy by Saturday afternoon, and firmer areas on the groomed runs were softening up as the day went on, Laurence added.
Kirkwood, located about 30 miles south of Lake Tahoe along State Route 88, reported another 14 inches of snow at the summit and 12 inches at the base area Sunday, Nov. 15, bringing the mountain’s snowfall total to 54 inches this season.
Guest were treated to bluebird skies Monday, Nov. 16, and the snow was deep enough to make skiing in the trees possible.
“We haven’t seen a season start like this since 2010-2011,” resort spokesman Kevin Cooper said. “Just below the ridgeline and the summit it’s great powder skiing.”
“With this new snow we’ll probably go out and groom some more runs,” Cooper added.
Plenty of skiers and snowboarders continue to home the storm door to the Lake Tahoe area remains open.
“Yeah, I’m super stoked,” said Meyers resident Eban Kenney after a run Saturday. “It’s shaping up to be a good one.”
As of Tuesday morning, Kirkwood reported 137 acres, or 6 percent of its terrain, is available with a 22-inch base.
Mostly intermediate and advanced terrain is open, with one trail, Hay Flat, available to beginners, according to a Tuesday terrain report. Twenty-two of the resort’s 86 runs are open. The resort planned to operate chairs 1, 5, 6 and 11 Tuesday, according to the report.
Temperatures are expected to be in the 50s at lake level through this weekend. No significant storms are forecast for the region as of Tuesday morning.
Tahoe Daily Tribune reporter Sebastian Foltz contributed to this report.
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