Kirkwood Mountain Resort

Kirkwood Mountain Resort is a year-round resort in Kirkwood, California south of Lake Tahoe that focuses on skiing and snowboarding in winter and hiking and mountain-biking in summer. Kirkwood is one of the region's larger resorts, and is well known for having one of the highest average snowfalls and a broad selection of advanced skiing terrain. The mountain is unique in that it has 2 mi (3.2 km) ridgeline at the top. This makes Kirkwood popular for cliff drops and cornices. Kirkwood received 804 in (2,040 cm) of snow during the 2005-2006 ski season. Average seasonal snow fall is 472 in (1,200 cm) second only to Sugar Bowl Ski Resort in the Sierra Nevada.[1] Kirkwood is approximately 33 mi (53 km) south of South Lake Tahoe, California on State Route 88 and is contained within the Eldorado National Forest. Most of the region's resorts are at the northern end of the lake, near Truckee, California. Kirkwood, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Heavenly are located on the southern side of the lake.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort
TimberCreekExpressLift KirkwoodMountainResort Feb2012.jpg
Kirkwood Mountain Resort is located in California
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Location in California
Kirkwood Mountain Resort is located in the United States
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Kirkwood Mountain Resort
Kirkwood Mountain Resort (the United States)
LocationThimble Peak
Covered Wagon Peak
Alpine County, CA
Amador County, CA
Nearest major cityKirkwood, California
Coordinates38°41′02″N 120°04′05″W / 38.684°N 120.068°W / 38.684; -120.068Coordinates: 38°41′02″N 120°04′05″W / 38.684°N 120.068°W / 38.684; -120.068
Vertical2,000 ft (610 m)
Top elevation9,800 ft (3,000 m)
Base elevation7,800 ft (2,400 m)
Skiable area2,300 acres (930 ha)
Runs65+ total
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg 12% beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg 30% intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg 58% advanced/expert
Longest run2.5 mi (4.0 km)
Lift system15 lifts (2 high speed quads, 1 fixed-grip quad, 6 triple chairs, 1 double chair, 1 surface lifts, 2 magic carpets)
Lift capacitypassengers/hr
Terrain parksBandit Park
Outlaw Park
Snowfall~500 in (1,300 cm)
Snowmakinglimited acreage
Night skiingNone

Skiing and snowboardingEdit

Two new surface tows opened in the 2008-2009 season to provide access to formerly "hike-to" terrain along Vista Ridge and Fawn Ridge. The best time to catch them running is the second or later days after a storm cycle.

The Kirkwood Ski Education Foundation (KSEF) ski team trains before the lifts are open to the public. KSEF offers numerous training programs for any age or ability. The development team free-skis on weekends and also works on fundamental skills, while the race team focuses on racing skills.

In 2009 and 2010, Kirkwood hosted a leg of the North American Freeskiing Championships in the permanently closed "Cirque" area.

Timber Creek area of Kirkwood Mountain Resort with beginner trails, and lessons.

Summer activitiesEdit

In the summer months, Kirkwood is a destination for mountain biking and hiking. Well-known mountain biking trails such as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride are nearby. From approximately the first weekend in July to the first weekend in September chairs #1 and #2 are open for mountain biking along most front-side trails. A trials course sits near the base of chair #1. Bike rentals are available. 2 to 3 day advance reservations before renting are recommended, as a large group can rent all available bikes before the lifts open. They offer lighter weight downhill and a heavy duty downhill bikes, currently supplied by Kona. As of the end of 2008 summer season there were plans to expand the summer lift program to include lift #7. Hikers frequent downhill trails during the morning hours. Lift tickets can be purchased, but there is no fee for riding a bike up.

Other summer activities include a well-equipped gym with a pool and spa with membership or room rental, climbing wall and ropes course and a free disk golf course.


In the 21st century, condominium and time-share projects have been completed which provide substantial accommodations right at the resort.


Kirkwood is one of the more recent ski resorts to open in the Lake Tahoe region primarily because of accessibility through mountain passes, distance from South Lake Tahoe which is over 30 miles, and an all-weather highway to the resort from the populated western regions of California. Highway 88 (CA 88) was opened with all year round Caltrans snow plowing service in 1971. Kirkwood opened for business 1972.[2]


Vail Resorts, Inc. acquired Kirkwood Mountain Resort in April 2012.[3] Vail Resorts acquired two other Tahoe region resorts in the prior decade, Heavenly Mountain Resort and Northstar California, both of which subsequently experienced significant facility upgrades. As of the announcement, no immediate improvements to the Kirkwood Mountain Resort had been planned by Vail Resorts.


  1. ^ Tony Crocker "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-02-12. Retrieved 2009-11-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Kirkwood: A story of raw adventure and perseverance". Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  3. ^ "Vail Resorts To Acquire Kirkwood Mountain Resort". Retrieved February 22, 2012.

External linksEdit