Kirkwood, CA 4/15-16/2017

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Kirkwood, CA 4/15-16/2017

Postby tseeb » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:20 pm

4/15 My son arrived a couple of minutes after me and we both parked on road across from Chair 7. He drove 3 1/2 hrs. from San Jose. My drive was about a hour including stop at Safeway for gas and slowing after getting warning from both driver going other way and my radar detector of where on CA-88 CHP was watching for speeders. We immediately headed for the backside/Chair 4 as we heard it had only been open a short time on Friday after receiving 21" new in preceding days. I took the groomer at the top while my son went off The Wave into a debris field. I went over towards him lower down, but stayed on groomer. Next time up, we both poled across the top of The Wave, then I dropped off it
so I could get a picture of him dropping it in a tank top.
There was some wind-affected powder past the Wave and some better lightly tracked snow lower down although it was like skiing on railroad tracks near the bottom where sun had hit it hard on Friday and it had re-frozen. Next run I went further out below Covered Wagon and found a little more lightly tracked two day old snow for some powder turns.
Covered Wagon is peak at center named for 9600' pass where pioneers wagons left marks on granite, the highest Sierra wagon crossing. Some powder was found below peak. The Wave is at right and covers the pass used by pioneers.
We exited the Backside via Hells Delight where very steep right side was firm while center held an edge better. My son continued into the main Thunder Saddle exit while I found good snow including some well protected untracked on the left edge of first chute to skiers right that is probably usually not skiable.

We took two laps on The Wall, first doing a big drop-in and skiing through Pencil Chute, then next lap we down-hiked into the Notch chute, which I skied to softening The Drain while my son traversed across Wagon Wheel bowl to avoid it. We skied a lap on Monte Wolf under Cornice chair, then went up it again and skied the Palisades where there was some untracked that was somewhat sun-affected, but still was untracked and skied well on the top and off N side of ridges and knolls. We took a lunch break behind our cars using plastic table and chairs I had brought from cabin. Note height of snow piled in parking lot in 2nd picture.
After break we took two laps on Cornice, first skiing still very good groomed Sentinel, then Olympic which was not groomed but was soft skier packed that was also nice. We went to the Wall for three laps. First we did an even bigger entrance further down The Wall, then I skied over to slope between chair and Eagle Bowl and found a small W-facing cornice with a steep smooth landing. We both went out that way twice more with me skiing along ropeline protecting skiers from low chair at the top, then skiing some of Headwaters, then along top of ridge above Eagle Bowl to the cornice jump by Norms Nose.
After skiing Sentinel, we finished our day about 3:30 with 22K. We left my son's car in neighborhood where snowpack is about 12 feet and friend's family have a cabin. My son skied in a tank top all day, even though early morning temp was 23 and it was not much above freezing when we started, plus there was a breeze all day, then some overcast in PM. It was also the first day skiing together that he was usually waiting for me at the bottom, maybe because he was fresh and I was skiing my 12th day in a row with two ~600 mile drive in between a couple of them. Other excuses include my son being 36 years younger and skiing 74 mm waist skis that are easier to turn than the 96 mm ones I'm one that give better float, but threw me around a lot in chopped up snow. I did get a second wind and get ahead of him late in the afternoon when I found smoother snow on The Wall.

4/16 After re-packing car, cleaning and closing cabin and getting my son's car on the way into Kirkwood where snow in neighborhood is still deep,
it was 10 AM before we got on Cornice chair. I was moving a little slow after missing step exiting lake-front hot tub Sat. night. I thought I'd only scraped my elbow, but woke up in the middle of night with a couple of sore ribs that made left turns and traverses a little painful unless very smooth.

We skied Cornice twice, first smoothly groomed E-facing Monte Wolfs under the chair, then I still showed my son the way down Jim's this year (usually a 15-20 drop) that I had seen and skied on Saturday. I tried the chute below, but snow was not smooth enough for me so I moved back to groomer. We skied The Wall twice, then rode chair 2 and hiked up to and rode Vista T-bar, the only time this season for my son. We were going to try the W-facing side back to chair 2, but wind was so strong that we had to go left to sunny Backside to make any progress. The same wind had closed chair 4 so we returned using chair 3. We quit a little after 12:30 after a couple of fast laps on chair 2,
using High Whiskey to return to Kirkwood's base and one lap on the Reut/chair 11 - 12K.
We joined party in parking lot held annually by friend of a friend, whose family are long-time long time Kirkwood homeowners. Lunch included sandwiches on a french roll made from 15 lb smoked half baron of beef and drippings. Sides were jalapeno chili and barbecued asparagus and Brussels sprouts and there were very gooey brownies for desserts.

I am probably done for season with my $529 Tahoe Local Pass season after:
13 days Heavenly (*skied Northstar AM/Heavenly PM one day)
12 days Kirkwood
7 days Northstar (*skied Northstar AM/Heavenly PM one day)
2 days Park City
Total =33 days = $16/day plus I used 4 Buddy ticket discounts for my wife and friend
Still a lot of snow on Carson Spur, CA-88 just W of Kirkwood
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