Kirkwood Kicks Off Its 40th Season Five Days Ahead Of Schedule

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South Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev. – November 16, 2012 – Kirkwood Mountain Resort opened its 40th Anniversary Season when the lifts started turning at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, November 16, 2012, five days earlier than its originally-scheduled opening day. According to a press release sent out today, Kirkwood will open with one chairlift and five trails, accessing 40 total acres.

“The last two storms that have rolled through the Sierra have dropped a combined four feet of snow at Kirkwood, allowing us to open early for all our passionate skiers and riders,” said Casey Blann, general manager of Kirkwood. “This will be a great start to the 40th anniversary season at Kirkwood, and the first with Vail Resorts.”

Kirkwood will open Chair 5 (Solitude) accessing about 40 acres of terrain including Race Course, Mokelumne, Lower Monte Wolfe, Lower Zachary and lower Olympic.

For dining, Monte Wolfe’s Mountain Kitchen will be open daily in the Kirkwood Village from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and The Wall Bar will be open for après only from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Kirkwood General Store inside the Red Cliffs Lodge will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the Kirkwood Inn on Highway 88 will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. through Wednesday, November 21, and 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. thereafter.

Kirkwood Ski & Ride School will offer all levels of adult lessons and limited kids’ lessons through Expedition:Kirkwood by appointment only. The Expedition:Kirkwood retail and rental shop will be open, as will Kirkwood Mountain Sports, Village Rental and The Edge Repair Shop.

Tickets and Info

Lift tickets will be available at early-season pricing and can be applied the same day toward the purchase of a season pass. The Tahoe Local Pass remains unmatched in value, price and experience with access to more than 263 trails, 14 terrain parks and 10,270 acres of some of the best terrain in the world at Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California and Nevada. For just $459, the Tahoe Local Pass pays for itself after just four days and then passholders are skiing or riding for free the rest of the season.

What’s New

Since 1972, the 2,300 acres of Kirkwood have provided some of North America’s fiercest inbounds terrain that challenges expert skiers from first chair to last. The solitary horseshoe canyon in which Kirkwood resides is one of the purest, most authentic, big-mountain ski experiences in America.

“We’re so confident in the return of big Kirkwood winter,” said Blann, “that we actually invested more resources in snow removal equipment than anything else this offseason.”

With an average annual snowfall of more than 600 inches, Kirkwood invested heavily in new snow control and snow removal equipment prior to this season, including a new Howitzer cannon intended to secure the resort’s infamous steeps and get them open on time, and a new Zaugg snow blower that will help keep the parking lots open and accessible. The snow blower is the latest technology used by the California Department of Transportation.

The entire dining operation at Kirkwood has been re-imagined, improving the overall condition of all facilities and overhauling the menus to provide higher quality and greater variety. Snowshoe Thompson’s at Timber Creek will introduce the Ripperoo kid’s meal, as well as healthier lunch options. The interior and exterior of the historic Kirkwood Inn have been freshened up, while preserving all of the charm the Inn is known for. The Inn will continue to feature the legendary Prime Rib dinner every Saturday night and the Taco Happy Hour from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday. Monte Wolfe’s also received some cosmetic work with the addition of carpet to the dining room. Monte Wolfe’s will continue to be the go-to place for lunch, along with the Thunder Saddle bar, which will offer specialty cocktails all day long. Guests can sit outside on the deck with full cocktail service for après ski at The Wall Bar. Red Cliffs will open this winter on weekends, featuring the signature Philly Cheese Steak. The Outback Mountain Grill, situated near the base of Chair 4 (Sunrise), will be the ultimate venue for refueling with a hot meal fresh off the grill between bottomless powder runs.

Comfort bars have been installed on every lift at Kirkwood, making it the only resort in the state of California, along with Heavenly Mountain Resort and Northstar California Resort, to take this precaution for guests’ peace of mind.

For the adventurous, thrill-seeker types, Expedition:Kirkwood provides a level of education and training that goes beyond the classroom and into Class A avalanche terrain. Expedition:Kirkwood provides avalanche certification courses, women’s specific programs, beacon training, powder cat tours, private guides, specialty ski and board clinics, and progression sessions in some of the most extreme in-bounds terrain in North America. No other resort offers this level of training within the resort boundaries. The program also offers the Junior Expedition Team (JETS), which nurtures young adventure seekers and teaches them the proper mountain safety techniques.

Kirkwood will play host to the lone U.S. stop for the new Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face, which combines the Freeride World Tour, the Freeskiing World Tour and The North Face Masters of Snowboarding to create one unified global championship series. The new six-stop world tour will hit The Cirque at Kirkwood on February 27 – March 3, 2013.

Being integrated into the Vail Resorts family, Kirkwood will experience the addition of EpicMix technology, so those days of racking up vertical at Kirkwood and bragging about it to disbelieving friends will now be backed up by cold, hard stats. A revolutionary technological advancement for the ski industry, EpicMix automatically captures and uploads all mountain activity to your dashboard. Because of Radio Frequency scanners at the base of every lift and RF technology built into every Vail Resorts season pass and PEAKS card, skiers and riders can follow their days on the mountain, track vertical feet, see where they rode, earn EpicMix pins for achievements and collect points.