Kirkwood kicks off ski season

Griffin Rogers
A snowboarder goes through the line to chairlift 5 Monday during the opening day of ski season at Kirkwood Mountain Resort.
Griffin Rogers / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

Ask a snowboarder or skier about opening day at Kirkwood on Monday, and you might hear the words “awesome,” “beautiful,” “warm” or “sick.”

As far as first days go, many riders seemed to enjoy the snow conditions and weather — sunny, 50-degree temperatures with 15 mph winds that seemed almost nonexistent at Chair 5.

A mix of man-made and natural snow covered pretty much all of the two runs open to the public, which were Outlaw and Lower Zachary.

Josh Daiek, a Christmas Valley resident and veteran skier, said he was excited to see good skiing conditions this early in the season.

“It’s awesome, man,” he said. “For not really having any snow yet this year, it’s fun.”

Daiek is a professional big-mountain freeskier who won the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour at Kirkwood last year. He’s known in the ski world for jumping off cliffs. On Monday, he was simply getting some turns in at one of his favorite resorts, he said.

“Just being at the mountain again and seeing all those familiar faces and friends,” Daiek said, “It’s a good spot to be at.”

South Lake Tahoe resident Tim Roberts was also on the mountain Monday. He’s been going to Kirkwood for opening day every year for the past 15 years, he said.

“Kirkwood never gets crowded on opening day,” Roberts said. “It’s good to get the legs underneath you and get some turns in.”

Roberts, a big-mountain snowboarder, rides almost exclusively at Kirkwood, he said. At the beginning of the season he suggests sticking to the trails, as the ungroomed portions can be “a bit punchy and sketchy” during the first week.

But with more snowfall anticipated soon, Roberts said he’s looking forward to snowboarding the rest of the mountain.

“There really is no part of the mountain that isn’t fun to ski,” he said. “And when it starts to open up, everyone takes different trails and you don’t even see anyone on the mountain.”

Kirkwood is “working with Mother Nature” to get more runs open to the public as soon as possible, spokesperson Kevin Cooper said, including some terrain for beginners.

Heavenly also has similar plans, spokesperson Sally Gunter said in an email Saturday.

“The resort plans to open additional terrain this next week, conditions permitting,” she said.

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