Forrest family 1st in line at Kirkwood opening for 8th straight year
KIRKWOOD, Calif. — When Aaron Forrest and his family arrived Saturday morning at Kirkwood Mountain Resort it was dark, and raining.
There were only a couple of employees visible and the snowcat was still grooming the slopes. Forrest, his wife Rachelle, and two kids Kaylee, 16, and Adam, 9, left their Bay Area home at about 3 a.m. and at 6 a.m. were huddling under Chair 5, dodging raindrops.
But they were first in line. Again. For the eighth straight year, the Forrest family rode first chair when the resort started churning its lifts at 9 a.m., just as the sun broke through the clouds and pushed out the rain.
“It’s just kinda out routine now,” Aaron Forrest said. “There’s no pressure to get here first every year, but there is some anxiety when we get here to see if we are the first ones.”
They were first by about an hour. Longtime South Shore local Kevin Cooper strolled into line at about 7 a.m.
“You just know going in you’re not gonna beat them,” Cooper said.
Cooper worked for Kirkwood for about 15 years and then another 7 ½ after Vail Resorts purchased the resort. He now works for Lake Tahoe Television Outside TV and hasn’t missed an opening day at his favorite resort since 1993.
“It’s opening day at Kirkwood,” Cooper said when asked why he got there so early. “It’s always fun to be here.”
Kirkwood received 25 inches over two storms in three days. That was the highest total reported in the Tahoe Basin. Heavenly reported receiving 24 inches, including more than a foot, and Squaw Valley / Alpine Meadows and Sierra-at-Tahoe all received above 20 inches over the three days.
Unfortunately, some resorts like Sugar Bowl received significant rain at the tail end of the storm, which forced the resort to delay its opening Saturday.