We went to Kirkwood for couple of days during the MLK weekend. I go to Tahoe for snowboarding at least twice or thrice a year since last 3-4 years. I have been to Squaw Valley, Northstar, Alpine Meadows, Rose Bowl and Sierra-at-tahoe, but Kirkwood is better than most. I remember Northstar and Squaw and I remember waiting in lines for a lift for at least 5-10 mins. Not at Kirkwood. The lines were very short and the slopes were not crowded at all. The reason is clear though. It is very inconvenient to get there as it is 33 miles from South Lake Tahoe and the places to stay around Kirkwood are very over-priced.
We reached Tahoe on Saturday evening through the tail end of the storm. We had to put the chains on as it was snowing heavily, but I enjoyed the drive. After getting a good night's sleep, we started for Kirkwood at 9:30 AM on Sunday morning thinking that it would only take about an hour. Little did we realize that due to chains we would be travelling at only 25-30 mph. All the AWDs or 4x4s were zooming by us. Then as we got closer to the resort, we were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for at least an hour and a half before we reached the gates at noon. Well, half a day on the slopes wouldn't be bad I thought, but I would have to work a little extra to get that as I would find. The friendly Kirkwood staff said that there was no more space for parking and were turning everyone around. We were so pissed as we had stayed in south lake. Everybody was heading back, but we didn't want to give-up just yet. We parked in a near-by gas station and decided to walk all the way in as all our friends were inside. To our surprise, there was no line at the rentals and since we had the lift tickets, we just took the equipment and hit the slopes. Kirkwood had excellent snow conditions and plenty of space on the slopes, just that their parking lot was smaller compared to others. We got a good 3.5 hours of snowboarding done on that day. Towards the end of the day the temp. was around 18 deg. fah. even though it was sunny all day. Yes, that is -8 deg celcius.
The next day was a lot better. The temp. was in higher twenties and no traffic. There was lot of parking when we got there at 10:30 AM. The conditions were great and we did get a whole day of snowboarding done. The trip back was very fast as Kirkwood is just 150 miles from the bay area. We are certainly going back.
(Picture taken by Priyank. Thanks Priyank!)