Kirkwood, CA 11/27-12/2/2018

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Kirkwood, CA 11/27-12/2/2018

Postby tseeb » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:47 pm

I may not have time to fill in all the holes or properly edit this as I had a crown prep this morning and moved to a new laptop and still need to walk dogs, but it’s been nearly a week so I’m putting out what I can. I’ll lead with a picture of my son from Sun. at Kirkwood that may be the best ski picture I’ve taken. It was taken in the first quarter of what is probably the run of my son’s nearly 27 years, and comparable to what you get at Mustang, only without the 10 foot base. I want to share with everyone how good Kirkwood is again early season after two good storm cycles, this one with 45" new reported over the 5 days.
2069SeanCloud.JPG
Our 1st run of season down Eagle Bowl
Summary that I posted elsewhere when somebody asked how many rocks I hit:
New Snow Lifts Vertical (000s) Rocks Double- Core-
in last 24 hrs (from Avocet watch) Ejects Shots
Wed 3" 17 19.9 0 - -
Thu 11" 19 22.6 <10 - -
Fri 15" 21 20.8 30? 1 Maybe one, but it's only edge showing plus a deep gouge on other ski
Sat 2" 15 16.7 50? - -
Sun 14" 10 12.8 40? 1 1 (see last photo)

Wednesday 11/28
My drive to Kirkwood was under 3 hrs 30 min with chain control for about the last 30 miles. I got there about 9, but after changing and booting up it was 9:30 before I got on Cornice which started loading a few minutes late. It was hard work getting over to Sentinel as road was not groomed. While new snow was not as deep as my 1st day last season, the dense 3" new skied well. Another couple of wet (very at bottom, drier at top) inches fell during the day. 2nd lap I skied a lot of untracked down skiers right of Zachary. Then I repeated Sentinel. Getting across the flat to the top of the bowl was easier and entertaining as a large snowshoe hare that still had some speckled black in his coat crossed in front of me, but couldn't get through the snowfence on his first try. I gave him a lot of room as he went back and forth across the road and he eventually found a gap. So I skied chute to left of Sentinel and when untracked ran out, I cut left into the Rabbit Runs. Next lap I did Monte Wolf, skiers right of Zachary's, also good with a lot of untracked although I had to carefully pick a path through rocky areas near top of Solitude lift.

I moved to slow Reut chair where snow was good on Conestoga, but road to highest entrance was roped off (and remained roped off due to avalanche concerns according to patroller I asked). There were a lot of reeds sticking up towards bottom of steep part, but they were skiable and usually don't grow out of rocks. I went in at 11 to dry out and it seemed like snow was letting up. After a long break, I skied Buckboard, the usual easiest groomer off the Reut, but struggled a little as it was mostly skier-packed, not very smooth and somewhat re-frozen. I went up Cornice and found similar snow on a couple of runs there although Rabbit Runs were better. I finally tried little trees to right at top of Sentinel where I found untracked turns. I skied to the car and had half of the PBJ I brought with me and a beer and chips. I moved my car over a space as I was at the end of the row and didn't like the way people leaving were spinning their wheels and sliding as they left.

I took a couple of more laps on Sentinel, starting with little trees to right at top, but visibility was rapidly going away. I skied Monte Wolf, but visibility was so bad I nearly went into the Fingers before re-routing. I went into Red Cliffs lodge and found two marketing people who were setting up their office. I asked them about why nobody had sent out Wed. Tahoe (Vail SkiMail) snow report or replied to e-mail I sent to Vail a week ago. While the lady tried to be nice, the guy had a really don't-give-a-shit attitude. When I told them one of my questions was when will Kirkwood close in April, he said it was on their website under events, although it is not. It seems like they will close April 7, two weeks before Easter, which will probably push me towards a Sierra-Tahoe pass next year and make me try to minimize spending at their resorts the rest of this season.

I walked over to 7800, the independent bar/restaurant next door and had a $3 Coors. I took a couple of more laps on Reut following a traverse somebody put in below closed road to the left at the top that got me to basically the same spot. I skied Shotgun where there was still a lot of untracked and it was good enough that I repeated it before skiing decent Wagon Trail to my SUV for my last run. I quit at 4 PM with just under 20K and made it through the day without hitting any rocks or losing the P-tex I'd put in on Tues. in a place next to the edge where at least a couple of base welds have not held. My drive to South Tahoe where there was almost no snow was 45 min. Predictions are feet of snow coming, but it looked like only an inch by 6:30 AM Thurs. In the street at 7:45, it was 2-3" and Kirkwood claimed 11" new, all overnight.

Thursday 11/29 was the best day with easily found powder and low crowds although parking before chair 6 was back far enough a little before 9 that I went past the Lodge and after attendant had me wait for plow to hit a couple of more spaces I parked close to stairs to plaza in what is paid parking when busier. Kirkwood claimed 11 or 12" new and another 11" fell during the day. It's mostly a blur what I skied and I only remember getting two faceshots, both on Shotgun. Notes in my spreadsheet say "9:10-3:55 with two breaks. 11xCornice, 7xReut and 1xSolitude (which I rode when Cornice appeared to have stopped. Cornice seemed to have a lot of stops followed by 2-4 min stoppage before re-starting. Not sure if it is due to problems or rookie employees and/or long re-start procedure). Best untracked around Sentinel, Monte Wolf, Conestoga, Shotgun." By mid-afternoon tracks from the morning were nearly filled in with dry new snow. I planned to quit a little earlier, but took an extra powder run on the Reut when liftee at top of Cornice about 3:30 said Carson Pass (my way back to South Tahoe) was closed and Carson Spur would close at 4 for avalanche control. My watched counted 22.6K which seems a little high compared to EpicMix.

After breaking trail from between chairs 1 and 11 to my SUV, I changed into Levis and drove to parking lot by 7800 where I had two IPAs and dinner while waiting for Pass to re-open. Caltrans website said it was closed due to spinouts and on lift ride next day with a couple of guys who said they where in last vehicle to get through that a semi had jack-knifed. I got on the road about 5:50 and my hour-long drive to South Tahoe was uneventful even though it was dark and road was very slick, especially going down back of 8600' pass. My morning drive to Kirkwood was more exciting as I had a bear at a full gallop cross a couple hundred feet in front of me on Pioneer Trail about a mile W of Ski Run Blvd. I also saw a semi nearing the top of Carson Pass who looked and sounded like he did not have on any chains and a small front-wheel drive hatchback miss the downhill turn into Kirkwood coming from the W on CA-88. He was not in very deep, but if he did not have require chains or 4WD and did not get out before CHP or Sheriff came by, could have gotten an expensive ticket.

Friday 11/30 Many more people. I parked at Timber Creek and go first public chair of the season on chair 7 at 9:25. But most easily accessible new snow was skied out fast. I did not find much untracked until I started skiing Waterfall/Dicks Drop from the Reut. Then Palisades opened and I took 5 laps using chairs 6 and 7. I found a rock hard after a few turns in a large powder field on my first lap, the only time I used the gravity traverse. You did not have to go far to find a lot of untracked. Long drive back to SLT as long line of vehicles going 15-20 down E side of Carson Pass. It was slick, but … I got over my day in lakefront hot tub.

Saturday 12/1 Still more people. The Kirkwood Meadow Surprise claimed another victim this AM.
image1.JPG

Picture taken about 830. We left SLT a little after 730 and had two whiteouts due to blowing snow on way.

We parked at Timber Creek as my son had to make sure last years Pass would work as we both downgraded and I had been sent new version and he had not. Chair 7 loaded about 9:15 and we were on 1st chair. We rode it and Cornice 3x before Kirkwood stopped loading all lifts. They said it was an operational issue. I thought something slid and they pulled all patrol to check it out.

While having an early $3 Coors in 7800 we heard chair 5 was still loading, but were in no hurry to see how long line was and talked about shuttling to chair 7. Their website said "UPDATE: Ch#1,11,6 on HOLD due to increasing avalanche hazards and ramp work at the top." Chair 6 started loading again before noon so we went out hoping to catch the lunch lull. Still no 1, 10 and 11 due to avalanche concerns. I timed our chair 6 lines between 12 and 1 at 15, then 19 mins which drove us to low-angle hi-speed chair 7 where there was no to almost no line. We took 3 laps with some powder before skiing to car for a break. Then we saw online that Reut reopened which knocked down Cornice line so we shuttled to there with employee who said earlier closures were due to patroller getting buried above chair 11.

We did one run on Cornice before moving to the Wall which opened about 2. We did 2 laps. No entrance road so main entrance being used on lookers left at top quickly showed rocks so on 2nd lap we followed guy we rode lift we who said he knew a good steep entrance. He left out rocky. I did a tumble turn and survived without hitting any rocks. For our Wall laps, we skied Notch Chute which had a long narrow choke, then on 2nd lap we found a clean way down between Notch and Once is Enough. Some great deep snow. Our drive back to Stateline was 1 hr 10 min.

Sunday 12/2 My son is a weekend warrior (and has an hour longer drive than me to his home to Salinas where he had to be on company plane to Yuma at 6 AM on Mon) and I'd already had four powder days so I fed him breakfast, gave him lunch and he left SLT for Kirkwood before 8. He still parked on the entrance road well before Timber Creek. I had to change and re-key front door lock (it would not release my key when I arrived Wed. night until I took it apart), then clean and close-up cabin so I was not on road until 9:25. Even after taking shortcut off slow Pioneer Trail which totally avoids US-50, it took over an hour to get past Caples Lake Resort, barely over a mile from Kirkwood Meadows Drive. Then traffic stopped as Kirkwood's parking was full. After about 45 minutes of stop-and-go, I got to the entrance and told parking attendant turning everyone around that I was going to my friend's cabin where I parked and booted up. I skied 140 vertical feet according to my watch down the edge of road to the main road. Shuttles were full so I walked about 1/2 mile to Timber Creek and was on the chair about 11:30.

I skied over to the Wall and spotted my son skiing near the top of the Reut. Since we were so out of sync, he rode the Reut and I got through very rocky top and found a little deep new snow and was waiting for him when he got to the top of the Reut. The road was only halfway there at the top and roped off and main entrance to looker's left at top was busy and rocky, we decided to go along the top of the Wall and come in Notch Chute or go further around the back. Then liftee at the top said Eagle Bowl had just opened. We continued along the top of the Wall, but saw place where we had dropped in on Sat. looked possible so I led to way down. It was a very steep traverse that included a spot between rocks only wide enough for one ski and a rock band that had to be launched. Eagle Bowl was worth it.
2068SeanBlueSky.JPG
2070SeanDeep.JPG


We repeated it using main entrance, but went further out to get untracked turns in the sun, but snow was not as deep and I found a few rocks including one near the bottom that caused a double-eject, core shot the size of a silver dollar and a lost ski (that was found in a minute or two by helpful snowboarder). We went up the Wall one more time and made it into the Notch Chute without removing skis and found a lot of deep snow in the steeps between the Notch and the Corner. My son's friend's finally arrived from Livermore after being slowed by having wrong chains so after a couple of laps on Timber Creek, we rode and skied Cornice twice. I left them on last run and went all the way to the ropeline past the Palisades where there was still some untracked. My son gave me a ride to my car, got ahead of me while I changed and had a burger waiting for me at Webster's in Clements. Even with that stop and one for gas at Costco in Tracy I was home in about 3 hrs 45 min.
6944TonyDown.jpg
Last edited by tseeb on Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kirkwood, CA 11/27-12/2/2018

Postby EMSC » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:08 pm

tseeb wrote:I may not have time to fill in all the holes or properly edit this...


Sure about that :lol:

I'm arguing there is even more detail in this TR :-P

Good to see Tahoe region finally getting some snow.
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Re: Kirkwood, CA 11/27-12/2/2018

Postby flyover » Mon Dec 10, 2018 6:22 pm

Helluva first outing. Kudos on posting the pics to prove it!
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Re: Kirkwood, CA 11/27-12/2/2018

Postby tseeb » Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:38 am

I did a little more editing of OP and moved picture of car that missed turned into Kirkwood to better place. There is still a typo or two that I couldn't find again. Adding pictures my son took of me on our 2nd lap into Eagle Bowl and one he took of me in the Palisades.
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