Expedition Kirkwood, a unique program designed to introduce skiers and riders to the backcountry, will move into its brand new headquarters right on the Village Plaza. The Salomon Test Center will also be headquartered on the Plaza, making it super convenient for guests to demo the latest equipment including Telemark and Randonee gear. Guests can try out the full range of Salomon skis in a single day by purchasing the Salomon Test Package (STP). Special deals are available for those who choose to purchase the Salomon equipment.
Expedition Kirkwood programs enable advanced skiers and riders to become familiar with the backcountry in a safe environment. Powder Cat Tours on Red Cliffs is the only cat skiing on the South Shore and is available on weekends and holidays. Groups of five can reserve a Powder Cat Tour any day of the season twenty-four hours in advance. Courses in backcountry awareness will be offered monthly to help educate advanced skiers and riders about proper procedures and safety skills when outside of avalanche controlled areas.
“Now that my kids are a little older, they’re taking off on their own more to explore the off-piste areas of Kirkwood, said Alan Plaugher, Ski Patrol Director and parent. “I can’t be with them all the time. By enrolling them in Kirkwood’s backcountry awareness programs, at least I know they have the knowledge not to do something really stupid when they get into the backcountry.
In partnership with Backcountry Access (BCA), Kirkwood offers Beacon Basin, the only avalanche beacon training facility of its kind in California. Beacon Basin allows avalanche educators to efficiently teach beacon users of all levels how to properly use an avalanche beacon to find a buried skier or rider. Multiple avalanche transmitters are permanently buried in a safe, non-threatening snowfield enabling beacon users to comfortably practice complex multiple and deep burials, as well as individual burials. Beacon Basin training will be offered as a part of the backcountry awareness courses, and will be open daily free of charge for all Kirkwood guests.
For those seeking experience in Kirkwood’s legendary cornices, chutes and steeps, there are programs ranging from two-hour to two-day clinics. Quests are two-hour mountain tours that explore the off-piste hidden gems of Wagon Wheel Bowl, the area nestled between Chairs 6 and 10 usually explored only by locals. Quests are open to advanced intermediate to expert level skiers and riders only and are available on weekends and holidays. Daily clinics that address current mountain conditions, such as powder and bumps, as well as in-depth two-day clinics that concentrate on the skills needed to ski and ride big mountain steep terrain will be offered throughout the season.
The new Learn to Ski program is guaranteed to improve the first timers’ experience at Kirkwood. USA Today ranked Timber Creek, Kirkwood’s beginner area, as one of the top ten places to learn to ski. Timber Creek features a variety of fall line runs that create a natural progression on which to learn. The area is separated from the main mountain area to allow beginners the comfort of their own terrain without the worry of expert skiers and riders whizzing by. If first timers don’t improve dramatically with a two-hour lesson, the next lesson is free.
For advanced skiers and riders looking to improve, Kirkwood’s New School is introducing a training approach for high level lessons and specialty clinics that focus on correcting bad habits and refining technique. The idea is less talk, more action. The New School enables skiers and riders to make that last step from advanced to expert whether it’s in the trees, on the steeps or in the park.
Corduroy lovers will be ecstatic with Kirkwood’s expanded high angle grooming program. Already the leader of groomed black and double black diamond runs on the South Shore, Kirkwood will increase its regularly groomed high anglee terrain to include runs that were previously only groomed sporadically during the season. Boasting an incredible variety of vertical terrain, Kirkwood is the favorite among discerning locals who like it fast and steep.
The Stomping Grounds Terrain Park has tripled in size offering three times the fun with new features, a bumpàn sound system and a longer superpipe. Visible from the Village Plaza, the newly expanded Stomping Grounds provides live entertainment for everyone having a beer or hot cocoa in the sun on the Plaza.
Located at a base elevation of 7800 feet, Kirkwood receives an average of 42+ feet of snow every winter — more than any other South Shore resort. Unparalleled expert terrain, a top rated beginner area, no crowds and just 177 miles from San Francisco via Highway 88, Kirkwood is the ultimate winter adventure destination for your family. Log onto www.kirkwood.com or call 209.258.6000 for more information.