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Kirkwood, California

Written by Greg and Heather Burke

Kirkwood is located south of Heavenly and offers Lake Tahoe’s most challenging skiing arguably. Kirkwood has the highest base elevation and boasts the deepest, driest snow on its double black diamond terrain. Experts crave Kirkwood's serious steep and deep including the legendary “Wall.” But Kirkwood has lower mountain terrain to satisfy families on their 2,300-acres. A modest base lodge and friendly local crowd are different than more ski resort-esque Heavenly, Squaw and Alpine and Northstar around Lake Tahoe. Kirkwood is now a sister resort to Vail and part of the Vail's Epic Pass, so you can combine a Lake Tahoe trip with other Vail Resorts, Heavenly and Northstar. There is no slopeside lodging at Kirkwood, so make it a day trip while staying in South Shore Lake Tahoe and ski the 2,300-acre ski area.

Elevation

Base
7800 feet
Base
Summit
9800 feet
Summit
Vertical Drop
2000 feet
Vertical Drop

Lifts

High Speed Quads
2
High Speed Quads
Quad Chair
1
Quad Chair
Triple Chairs
6
Triple Chairs
Double Chair
1
Double Chair
Surface Lifts
5
Surface Lifts

Terrain

Beginner Runs
12 %
Beginner Runs
Intermediate Runs
30 %
Intermediate Runs
Advanced Runs
38 %
Advanced Runs
Expert Runs
20 %
Expert Runs
Total Runs
86
Total Runs
Terrain Parks
2
Terrain Parks
Longest Run
2 miles
Longest Run
Skiable Terrain
2300 acres
Skiable Terrain
Snowmaking Area
200 acres
Snowmaking Area

Opening and closing dates

Season Open Date Close Date
2017/2018 11/22/2017 04/18/2018 (estimated)
2016/2017 11/25/2016 04/16/2017
2015/2016 11/14/2015 04/17/2016
2014/2015 12/06/2014 04/19/2015

Lift ticket and season pass prices

Category Age restrictions Price (USD unless otherwise stated)
Adult 19 - 64 $94
Child 5 - 12 $69
Child 13 - 18 $85
Senior 65 & over $85
Season Pass
(Kirkwood Pass)
$639

Overall Rating

4.4 / 5 Fabulous

based on 31 reviews

How accessible and convenient it is to get to this resort from a major destination

Accessibility

Availability, quality and pricing of lodging

Lodging

How well the resort caters for beginner skiers / boarders

Beginners

How well the resort caters for intermediate skiers / boarders?

Intermediates

How well the resort caters for advanced skiers / boarders

Advanced

Quality of the off-piste terrain

Side/Backcountry

Overall value for money of the resort

Value for money

Quality of lifts, lift speed and lift layout in the resort

Lifts

Quantity and quality of the snow

Snow

How uncrowded is the resort

Uncrowded

Après ski and dining options

Town

Services and facilities e.g. child care, tubing, health care, equipment hire

Facilities

How family friendly is this resort?

Family Friendliness

Latest reviews

Score: 4.5 / 5Dec 02, 2017
One of my favorite resorts in Tahoe. The snow is always awesome compared to many other resorts in the area. The terrain is for more advanced riders and the atmosphere is awesome. Lots of tree runs, and many great powder ... More
Craig S. advanced snowboarder
Score: 3.6 / 5Dec 01, 2017
Only ridden kirkwood one but had loads of fun. Lots of wide open terrain great for lots of style riders. I found quite a few good runs for begginners all the way to runs i didnt get off the lift for lol. Definately an all around ... More
Stephen H. beginner snowboarder
Score: 3.4 / 5Nov 28, 2017
The place to go for challenging steeps, deep snow, laid-back atmosphere, and cold apres-ski beer. Enough out of the way to keep the posers at bay. Short on crowds, big on hidden treasures. ... More
Kevin N. expert skier
Score: 4.8 / 5Nov 24, 2017
This resort is a very fun place to ski/ snowboard for riders of every level, it is one of my favorite resorts. This is the place my friends and I always choose to go to and will continue to go ... More
Cole F. advanced snowboarder
Score: 3.6 / 5Nov 24, 2017
Kirkwood used to be the bastion for killer riding and the ability to avoid crowds, then Vail bought it. Not gonna start a rant, at least the mountain didn't die. A lot of money has been pumped into it since, which is nice, and since it is a bit of a haul from South Lake it is ... More
Daniel J. expert snowboarder
Score: 4.4 / 5Nov 20, 2017
The hidden gem of Tahoe. The most snow on average of all the resorts and enough of a drive to keep the lift lines shorter than most other places. Head for the wall to get your steep ... More
Richard I. advanced snowboarder
Score: 4.9 / 5Nov 19, 2017
Riding the wood is not an experience you will br regretting, even if the excitement of the heaven like snow encourages past your capabilities and am injury ends your day. Not saying that happened to ... More
Jacob S. advanced skier
Score: 2.7 / 5Nov 17, 2017
Niceplace I would consider going back again. , last time I was there the transmission went out of my car. Has been over 40 years since I skied there. drive by it all the time it's still ... More
Robert P. beginner skier
Score: 4.9 / 5Nov 17, 2017
Mid week is the best time to ride...No crowd. Getting to Kirkwood could be a pain if it dumps.but then again worth the drive. The finger chutes are worthy of any powder day checking ... More
Manny S. expert snowboarder
Score: 3.7 / 5Nov 12, 2017
Kirkwood is my jam it's kind of far out there but well worth the drive. The train is diverse and gnarly. Not for the faint of heart. Wax on Daniel son ... More
Tojz S. expert snowboarder