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Kirkwood Mountain Resort Guide

Updated on July 9, 2014

Kirkwood Mountain Resort at Lake Tahoe, California


irkwood Resort at Lake Tahoe is located at a base elevation of 7800 feet, higher than the other Tahoe ski areas, which is one reason for its generous annual snowfall, also it's geographical location catches the storms that miss other local resorts. This combined effect results in phenomenal snowfall and is dubbed by locals as "The K-Factor". In fact during the 2004/2005 winter season Kirkwood Mountain Resort received more than 65 feet of snow, more than any other Tahoe resort. The last three-year mid-mountain average for snow, is an amazing 725”.

What's so great about Kirkwood? Here's an excerpt from Flowski's Accuweather Photo Gallery winter 2006:

"Kirkwood received 635 inches of snow as of 3/26/06 and just one month later, on 4/26/06 with just 3 days left until the close of the 2005/2006 winter season we have had exactly 850 inches of snow, that's over 70 feet of snow! Yepp, it's true we got 215 of fresh powder in 1 month. Can you Imagine? It was amazing. The settled snow base depth on top of Kirkwood Mountain on closing day was 350" (29 feet). One of the deepest snow bases in America! I know what your thinking, WOW the 2005/2006 was an epic year at Kirkwood Resort, the powder skiing was terrific, but how often do you get that much snow in a season? Actually Kirkwood averages 500" a year!

Ranked by SKI Magazine in the top 10 ski resorts across the Nation in three categories: Snow, Terrain Variety and Challenge, Kirkwood offers an unmatched experience. The resort ranked No. 13 in Value and continues to offer high caliber programs at affordable prices. Skiing Magazine recently named Kirkwood as one of the Top 15 resorts and one of the Top 5 for snow quality while Freeskier Magazine picked Kirkwood as a "Must Ski Resort" (Feb, 2005). Unparalleled expert terrain, yet on the other hand Kirkwood is a USA Today nationally recognized beginner area, and talk about no crowds, it's wonderful! It's just 177 miles from San Francisco via Highway 88 and about a 40 min. drive from South Lake Tahoe. Kirkwood is the ultimate winter destination.

Here's a link to some great Lake Tahoe photography, including scenic shots, action and portrait pictures from Kirkwood. Visit our Kirkwood gallery for a look at our cool ski photos from the mountain.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort Photo

Kirkwood Mountain Resort Photo
Kirkwood Mountain Resort Photo

Kirkwood Mountain Resort Statistics

The facts and nothing but the facts...

FACILITIES & RESORT SERVICES Two Day Lodges, Seven Bars and Restaurants, Two Cafeterias, Three Ski Shops, Children's Ski and Board School, Day Care Center, Three Rental Shops, Performance Center/Repair Shop, Slide Mountain Tube Park, Ice Rink, Recreation Center/Swim Complex, Dog Sled Rides, Post Office, General Store, Massage Services, Yoga Classes, In-Valley and South Lake Tahoe Ski Shuttle, Service Center, Medical Clinic, Conference Rooms and more.

  • Average Snowfall (10 year, mid-mountain average) 500 inches/1,270 centimeters

    2004/05 Snowfall (mid-mountain) 722 inches/1,834 centimeters
    2005/06 Snowfall 850" inches on top of the mountain.

  • Average Percentage Sunny Days 70%
  • Average Length of Season November through April
  • Skiable Acres/Hectares 2,300/930
  • Trails 65+
  • Vertical Rise 2,000 feet/610 meters
  • Base Elevation 7,800 feet/2,377 meters
  • Top Elevation 9,800 feet/2,987 meters
  • Lifts 2 high speed quad chairs, 1 quad, 6 triples, 1 double, 2 surface lifts
  • Uphill Capacity 17,905 skiers per hour
  • Longest Run 2.5 miles/4 kilometers
  • Terrain 15% beginner, 50% intermediate, 20% advanced, 15% expert
  • Snowmaking Top to bottom coverage on four runs
  • Hours Lifts Daily 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Lodge Daily 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

    General Information (209) 258-6000
    Group Sales (209) 258-SNOW
    Lodging Reservations (800) 967-7500
    Ski and Snowboard School (209) 258-7245
    Kirkwood Real Estate (888) KWD-PROP
    Toll Free Ski Report Hotline (877) KIRKWOOD
    Kirkwood Fax Number (209) 258-8899

    Internet Web Site

  • E-mail Address

Interesting Kirkwood Mountain Resort Links - Click on a link below for more information.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort and other valuable links.

Kirkwood Powder Skiing Tips- Now, let's say you called the ski report and it snowed 20" last night, here's what to do. - Rise and shine, eat a good breakfast an

Ka-Boooooom, We woke up early this morning, to huge explosions going off all around us. It sounds like a war zone, so I get up to see what's going on outside. I can't see 50 feet, it's snowing so hard. This can mean only one thing. IT'S GONNA BE POWDER-DAY! Kirkwood is known for it's legendary steep and deep. The steeper it is and the deeper it gets, the more likely it is to slide, so the Ski Patrol uses a 75mm Howitzer Cannon to shoot explosive shells at avalanche prone areas of the mountain! Then, for slopes out of range with the Howitzer, they actually ski, hike and climb around the mountain throwing 2 pound sticks of dynamite around breaking off massive cornices.

  • Getting First Chair- The powder hounds get up, pretty early in the morning to shred Kirkwood's legendary powder. How early? The lifts are scheduled to open at 9am, you should be in the lift line at chair #6, Cornice Express, ready to go no later than 8:30am for a good chair. Goods not good enough? Wanna be on the first chair ride up? Try 7:30-7:45am on EPIC powder days!
  • Run Selection- If your one of the first chairs up and don't feel like hucking your body off of a cliff, float self-indulgently from the top to bottom in fluffy Sierra powder on Look Out Janek or Olympic Runs. If you would rather fly (you can't get hurt in the air), Chamoix is an excellent choice.
  • Your second Run (or if your late)- Check to see if Palisades is open yet. It is? Make tracks as fast as you can, freshies await!
  • Now what?- Keep skiing and keep your eyes peeled to see if Chair #10, The Wall is opening yet. It takes ski patrol a while to perform their avalanche control work there. But when it opens it's powder bliss. You're going to do a few of these.
  • Now Head to the Backside!- The snow is always deeper on the other side of the fence, I mean mountain. This is the stuff dreams are made of. My favorite way of getting to The Backbowl's at Kirkwood is via Eagle bowl to the bottom of Chair #2 Caples Crest. Now you may have to wait for ski patrol to open the pearly gates to powder heaven. Theres no telling when or if they'll open it. It's a huge area and lots of avalanche control work must be performed before it's safe for the public, but when it opens, it's a crazy race to see who can get to #4 Sunrise first, cause the first one down is, the first one up is, the first one down and that's a good thing!
  • Sloppy Seconds- Now think to yourself, where was the best snow I've skied today? Probably Palisades, so take Thunder Saddle back to the front of the mountain and back over for some more hot skiing action!

Great Ski Bargains on Amazon - Buy some cheap yet excellent Salomon skis online...

Kirkwood 2007 Extreme Skiing Video - Featuring the 2007 Freeride Championships.

11-05-08 I just got some great news I'd like to pass on. Kirkwood has been chosen as the host of the 2009 world Freeride Championships! That's right, after a stint up in Alaska, the Subaru Extreme ski and snowboard Championships are back at Kirkwoody and we are stoked!

Check-out this Kirkwood video, skiers and snowboards challenge The Cirque on Kirkwood Mountain at the Subaru World Freeride Championships.

Getting to Kirkwood

Getting there is half the fun!

Here are driving directions from a variety of different starting points to Kirkwood Mountain Resort.

From Reno/Tahoe International Airport:

U.S. 395 South to State Route 88 West

Exit the Airport on E. Plumb Ln (go 0.2 mi) to US Hwy 395 South (go 7.5 mi) Take exit 57B to remain on US 395 (go 35.2 mi) Turn right onto Hwy 88 (go 34 mi) about 90 min.

From South Lake Tahoe:

US 50 West to Hwy 89 South to Hwy 88 West.

Take US 50 West to where US 50 meets Hwy 89. Turn left at the Y onto Emerald Bay Rd. (go 4.9 mi) to Meyers. Turn left on Hwy 89 South (go 11.1 mi) Turn Right on Hwy 88 West (go 14.3 mi) about 35 min.

From North Lake Tahoe (east shore route):

Route 28 E to Hwy 50 W to Route 89 South to 88 West Take NV Route 28 East/South (go 13 mi). Turn Right onto US 50 West (go 17.4 mi) to Hwy 89. Turn left at the Y onto Hwy 89 (Emerald Bay Rd.) (go 4.9 mi) to Meyers. Turn left continuing on Hwy 89 South (go 11.1 mi.) Turn Right on Hwy 88 West, (go 14.3 mi) about 60 min.

From San Francisco Bay: Via Hwy 88 - If the Carson Spur on Hwy 88 is Open:

Interstate 580 East to Interstate 205 to Interstate 5 North to Route 4 East to Route 99 North to Route 88 East

Connect with Interstate 580 East from your area to Interstate 205 East (go 13.5 mi.) to Interstate 5 North (go 13.3 mi.) exit Downtown Stockton Hwy 4 East (go 3.4 mi.) to Hwy 99 North (go 1.8 mi) Exit CA Hwy 88 toward Jackson (go 97.4 mi) about 3.25 hrs.

Via Hwy 50 - If the Carson Spur on Hwy 88 is Closed:

Interstate 80 East to Hwy 50 East to Hwy 89 South to Hwy 88 East

Take Interstate 80 from your area to Sacramento where I-80 becomes US 50 East (go 93 mi. on US 50) Turn Right on CA Hwy 89 South (go 11.1 mi) Turn Right on Hwy 88 West (go 14.3 mi) about 3.5 hrs. from the Bay Bridge

From Sacramento Area:

Via Hwy 88 - CA Route 16 East to Hwy 49 South to Hwy 88 East Then take State Route 16 East (about 30 mi.) Turn Right onto CA Hwy 49 South (go 10.6 mi.) Turn Left onto CA Hwy 88 East through Jackson (go 55.4 mi) about 2 hrs.

Via Hwy 50 - US Hwy 50 East to Hwy 89 South to Hwy 88 West

From your area in Sacramento where I-80 becomes US 50 East Take US 50 East (go 93 mi.) Turn Right on CA Hwy 89 South (go 11.1 mi.) Turn Right on Hwy 88 West (go 14.3 mi) Turn Left onto Kirkwood Meadows Drive. about 2.25 hrs.

From Monterey Bay Area:

Hwy 156 East to 152 East to Interstate 5 North to Hwy 4 East to Route 99 North Hwy 88 East

Take Hwy 156 East to 152 East to Interstate 5 North, exit Downtown Stockton Hwy 4 East (go 3.4 mi.) to Hwy 99 North (go 1.8 mi) Exit CA Hwy 88 to

Kirkwood Mountain Resort Squidoo Poll - Quick Poll!

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© 2005-2014 Flowski Pix. All rights Reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Commercial reproduction of this Kirkwood Resort Squidoo Lens in part, or in whole without written permission is prohibited by law.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      You've done a really great job with this lens!! Every aspect of this resort is covered for the traveller, and you've made it very interesting with great photography. I wanted to recommend this lens for Squidoo's front page, but unfortunately, Squidoo's front page lenses have to have intro photos that are a minimum of 250 x 250 pixels, and I think the width of your photo is only 238 pixels -- although it is a REALLY fantastic intro photo.

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 6 years ago

      This looks like a great place to ski! Nice lens.

    • profile image

      AnnaleeBlysse 7 years ago

      Nice photos. I added this one as featured lens on my new Spring Break IQ Quiz lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      you should try Mt buller in melbourne an d i think that is the best place in australia to go for skieing

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      wow.. i like your lense.. very informative..

      You can also check out, when you want to have a ski vacation. They can help you prepare everything from your desired destinations down to ski resorts.

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 8 years ago

      Great snaps but I'm no skier

    • avocado47 profile image

      avocado47 9 years ago

      Awesome lens and great photos! I LOVE skiing. I live in New England, but would love to hit the slopes out west at some point.


    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 9 years ago

      I am so a snowbunny and do my best in the lodge with a warm hot drinkie :) Beautiful lens...especially your photography!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      kirkwood 08/09 unlimited (ie. no black out days) season passes for only $399. If you buy direct from kirkwood, the same pass currently costs $529. The pass pays off in 6 visits to kirkwood. If you're interested, it's super easy.

      just grab your plastic and go to:


      and enter:

      login = epa

      password = kirkwood

      do it by:

      $399 is good until September 15th (11:59pm)

      $429 from September 16th until October 15th (11:59pm)

      $459 from October 16th until November 15th (11:59pm)

      $499 from November 16th until sale ends at 11:59pm on December 15th

    • GlobalOpps profile image

      Steve & Carol 10 years ago from San Marcos, CA

      Great lens! Welcome to theBest Places to Visit in California group. Be sure to drop by ourSan Diego Coastal Homestays lens as well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      Congratulations on a great lens. Visit my lens, Does Timeshare Work? If you want to visit ski resorts all year round and pay less than the annual timeshare maintenance fee, you just have to read this.