Kirkwood, CA 1/6/2016

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Kirkwood, CA 1/6/2016

Postby tseeb » Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:11 pm

For a while I wondered if going to KIrkwood on Wednesday was a mistake as it was only one beginner and two not very steep intermediate chairs 1, 5 and 7 at 10 AM due to wind, although I heard 6 and 11 had loaded earlier. Instead of driving the 35 miles S to Kirkwood where they claimed 10" new, I could have driven a little further N to Northstar where they claimed 12". But it takes a lot longer as a lot of it is 2-lane road with no passing and I could have gotten stuck behind someone with chains doing 20 mph as I did last month.

I had four low-angle run, with powder along edges and in trees on chair 5. There was a moderate line, but singles moved very quickly. At about 11 AM, they re-opened chair 11 which goes a little higher and serves some advanced runs. I went lookers left three times and found barely tracked, deep snow, but it somewhat wind affected near the top where it is exposed. I kept going farther skier's right to get more untracked then took a run looker's right into Waterfall where I had some lightly tracked snow. Then I went into trees to left past where anyone had been.

Kirkwood added chair 2 a little later, but I didn't want to go there as I would not be able to see if anything else opened from there. They started loading chairs 6 and 10, which go to the top of the mountain just before noon. I did four laps on the Wall before taking a break. It was not open the previous day so you were skiing more than the 10" new. The first run I had an untracked steep right side entrance to Notch Chute, but the choke had some avalanche debris so I cut left into untracked trees. My next three laps I took a little hike into Wagon Wheel where I didn't cross many tracks during the upper half on the run and also found some untracked in low-angle and steep trees before getting to the Drain.
The Sisters rocks above the short hike to get to untracked in Wagon Wheel Bowl - that is a skier on it. I turned off early my first run out this way as there was no need to go further.
A little slabby near the top, but it got better lower down and I was the first one down at 1 PM.
One track below me at 1:30 PM. Not sure of the name as this area is not well-signed. It's probably Corner Chute, but could be Cabin or Cliff Chute.

After a break from 1:30-2, I move to hi-speed chair 6 to take a warm-up run on Sentinel. At the top, I was letting the strong wind push me towards the road to the run when I hit a 3-4 wind drift that I did not see. I lost a ski and somersaulted into the soft snow and lost my momentum. I was going to ski the more or less groomed Sentinel run to warm up, but ended up in deeper than expected tracked snow on the side and lost a ski and went down about 20 feet below losing the other ski in the fall. Luckily, I saw the first ski moving through the deep snow until it finally flipped and stopped 100 below me.

I then took two nearly 100% gravity traverses into the near Palisades. After watching one of the guys I followed on the traverse fall on his first turn, I made some turns in deepest untracked of the day, getting my first face shot of the season on my first turn. I only found one rock and a lot more untracked skiing to the bottom of Hole-in-the-Wall chair. My fourth time up chair 6, the route to Sentinel was closed so I skied Monte Wolf where ridge was untracked, but windswept. I finished the day with one more lap on the Wall at 4 pm with 22.5K and found a lot of it had been filled by the snow that fell heavily most of the day.
Last 12 minute ride on the Wall and I could barely finish this. The text at top says "Inspired by adventure. Brewed from the heart" and at the bottom it says "The journey is the destination". Made with beechwood and cherry-smoked malts, thirteen grains and coconut palm nectar - 7.5%.

While I could have gotten away with one more day at Kirkwood (and they reported 6" more overnight), I could tell my wife wanted me home. Since I had already closed up the cabin in the morning in case I did not return and had two good powder days, I drove home. It snowed heavily until I got to about 3800' where it no longer was sticking to the road., but there was still some snow mixed in down to about 3000'.
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