Am heading up to Tahoe this weekend for an MLK girls ski/snowboarding trip. I can’t believe it will be my first time ever boarding at Kirkwood but am VERY excited since I hear it is the ideal place for boarders. The last 3.5 years of boarding up north have been spent primarily at Squaw with the occasional day at Northstar.
Although I enjoy the mountain’s tree routes, quick drops down KT-22, and especially hiking up Granite Peak when the weather allows, it is after all a skiier’s mountain. I come from southern California – home of sunshine, beaches, and during the winter – trips to big mountain boarding at Mammoth. There are a lot of opinions on what makes the “perfect mountain.” I do not pretend to be an expert but for some reason, Squaw just does not do it for me as much as a Mammoth run down the face right off Chair 23. Or even a bumpy tree-run down the back of Chair 22 (mind your head and duck when exiting the chairlift or you may get whacked).
Maybe it’s the fact that Mammoth sits a whopping 2000 feet higher than Squaw (11,000 vs 9,000). Or that my friends have a story of boarding/skiing through a mountain cave at Mammoth that drops you off the backside. Or maybe because I’ve never been stuck at the top of a 40 foot cliff at Mammoth like I was when (lamely) boarding into a poorly-marked area off the back of Silverado at Squaw.
Either way, I’ve been looking for the Northern California equivalent of Mammoth and hope to find it in Kirkwood this weekend. Kirkwood touts having the highest elevation in all of Tahoe (10,000 feet), deepest snowbase in all of North America, and apparently great parks to test out your freestyle skills. Aside from the mountain itself, Kirkwood sits in South Lake – home to the glitz and glam of casinos. I’m interested to see how the nightlife lives up to North Lake apres-ski and Pao-sipping.
We have a mixed group of skiiers and boarders in my group so hopefully we can finally put this question to rest. I’ll follow up next week after my two-days on Kirkwood for a final report.
Till then, happy MLK everyone!