Kirkwood, CA 4/4-5/2018

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Kirkwood, CA 4/4-5/2018

Postby tseeb » Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:59 pm

I was planning to go to North Tahoe to help friend who had use of house near Tahoe City and was turning 60 celebrate his birthday and use some of my Mountain Collective days at Squaw. But big wet storm was forecast to hit Fri/Sat and another friend whose family built about the 20th cabin at Kirkwood (in 1974) was going to be there so I drove up early on Wed. 4/4 to get some skiing in before the r--n.

We were on the hill about 9:30. We skied Zachary's the main groomer on Cornice chair and thought it was already soft enough that we should move to the Backside. We took three runs there beginning with Cold Shoulder that we thought was groomed and then tracked, but it turned out it was yesterday's tracks we saw and they were still somewhat frozen. We took a couple of laps on (really) groomed (and flatter) Elevator Shaft before exiting the Backside via chair 3, the last of the original Kirkwood doubles as we thought steeper N-facing Thunder Saddle chutes would still be too firm. We rode the Reut and skied excellent groomed Shotgun, then took three laps on Cornice including Lookout Janek, usually a bump run that was groomed about 5 cats wide at top and bottom and 2 cats wide in steeper middle.
Lookout Janek at center top
My friend drove me back to his cabin for lunch where he made some soup for us and I shared my sandwich with him. We returned to Kirkwood about 1:15 and skied 6 quick laps on chair 6/Cornice including 3 on exellent Sentinel, one more on Janek and a couple poking around in the chutes in between Olympic and Sentinel. Then we moved to the Wall, which we skied three times. I'm not sure that my friend had skied it this season. He enjoyed the top, but we found the middle needed more settling as soft snow on surface was too deep (2-4") to be corn. We did find good snow on steeper part of bottom half above and below top of Reut although flat getting back to chair got a little slow before we quit at close to 4 with 23.4K. We went to 7800 for a beer and I got to stay at friend's cabin for my first night in Kirkwood for a few years. While he calls it a cabin, it is actually 4 bedrooms and rented as a ski lease to people who are very accommodating, Some of them were there, but there was an empty bedroom for me and they shared their dinner with me. They are just getting back into the cabin as a water pipe burst in mid-Dec when it was not turned off due to some miscommunication. There was a lot of damage to sheetrock and some insulation that has been repaired although a lot of finish work remains.
Even though this looks like a lot of snow (and is quite a way up windows on first floor), people at cabin said snow was four times this deep last winter.

On Thursday, there was little overnight freeze and we were not in a big hurry so it was about 10 before we got on Cornice. Snow was very good with groomers on Backside and Cornice skied like corn. There was a deep firm base with an inch or so of soft, but not sticky snow on top that skied well. We started with a run on Zachary and it was better than earlier on previous day. We moved to Backside and found Cold Shoulder had been groomed and both it and Elevator Shaft before returning to the Reut by riding chair 3 and skiing a groomed Whisky Run. After a couple of more lift, my friend returned to his cabin for lunch and a nap. I went up the Wall and skied a steep apron I had spotted earlier that had excellent snow, but Notch and All the Way chutes (I sampled some of both) below it were very challenging. I finished my 16K day with three quick laps on Cornice, skiing still very good Sentinel twice and Janek once.

My other friend pushed back his arrival to Tahoe City and birthday dinner by a day which gave me an excuse to semi-graciously bail. I was on the road at 1 and got home about 4:30 before traffic into San Jose got too bad and beat my wife (who works out after work) home. Since I'm heading to Whistler next week, I'm done using my Epic Local pass at Tahoe with 16 days at Kirkwood, 11 days at Heavenly (including 3 days that I skied both Heavenly and Kirkwood). This is my first year in a long time without any days at Northstar (scheduled to close on 4/15) or any North Tahoe areas although I still could get to Alpine or Squaw in late April or May.

Even though I warned him about warm storm this weekend (started on Friday), my son drove up Fri. night to South Tahoe. He did not ski today as Heavenly did not open any lifts and Kirkwood (who close tomorrow) only ran slow, intermediate chair 5. Some ugly pictures were posted online of muddy water flooding base of chair 1.
I'd like to think this is karma for closing Kirkwood, the Vail resort in the West with the most snow, on April 8, the earliest of any of their resorts in the West.
Base of Cornice chair on Saturday when it did not open.
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Re: Kirkwood, CA 4/4-5/2018

Postby EMSC » Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:15 pm

Glad you had some decent conditions prior to the storms, because those pics look horrid...

While there was some rain at most colo resorts for a bit last night, except the very highest places, most of the storm(s) have fortunately been snow although very dense sierra style. Lots of 2'+ reports so far.
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Re: Kirkwood, CA 4/4-5/2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:32 am

Utah had rain to over 10K. Alta Collins 9,600 had 0.93 inches water but just a trace of snow.

The weather geeks have been all over this outlier event with multiple reports.
http://wasatchweatherweenies.blogspot.f ... -been.html ... river.html
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Re: Kirkwood, CA 4/4-5/2018

Postby EMSC » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:07 am

Well all that R@!# added some significant SWE for drought purposes to much of the West.

Colo is lucky in cases like this for the altitude. Realistically, many of the snowfall totals are only applicable to mid-mountain and above, but many instances of 2 feet up to 3.5+ Feet of snowfall reported over 72 hours and it was still snowing up there this morning. However, even with skinny race boards on your feet you would only sink in so far to this snow that is so dense. For keeping the season going and reducing drought we will take every inch/drop though.
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