Day 20 Sat Feb 11. Kirkwood 2000m vertical

Maybe I’m just worn out …

Was up early enjoying the novelty of a clear cool morning but somehow still managed to not get away all that early.  Looks like I’m 0 for 3 re my rule about lift skiing on Saturdays – but with an enforced day off and an ordinary day yesterday I’m not passing up fresh snow this close to the end of the trip.  Both Heavenly and Kirkwood reporting another foot on top of the two foot they got yesterday. Pretty quick trip up with the just the last section of SR-88 under snow – couldn’t believe how different it was compared to when I was last through here a couple of years back – SO much snow. Was only just after 9 when I made it to the entrance at Kirkwood – but it was at least 15 minutes later before I was getting kitted up after an agonisingly slow trip through the whole of the village to a parking lot that needed 4WD more than any trip I’d done in the last fortnight.

Queues were actually quite manageable for a sunny fresh Saturday, particularly using the singles lines, but I struggled to really get into it all day.  It’s a fairly intimidating (though spectacular) hill – the main lifts go right up to the ridgeline with no easy way down, many of the intermediate runs near the base are closer to green, and the one area that has a more consistent intermediate pitch was still closed with avalanche control.  The groomers were quite pleasant, but off track was – while way better than yesterday – still a bit cement like.

As I skied past the base of chair 2 – which services the approach to the more appealing intermediate area – saw that they seemed to be gearing up for opening.  On the next lap they were removing the closed signs as I approached so figured even if it takes a while it would be worth the wait.  Ended up taking a LONG while but it was sort of worth the wait – ended up on 7th chair and had pretty much clean tracks down the first run.  Was a little slabby and had to keep well balanced but slowly started to feel like I could actually still ski and didn’t have 2 left feet.  Did another lap and still no sign of opening the backside – don’t think it’s going to happen today – then on the 3rd run headed back down to base via a lovely open hillside and grabbed 2nd lunch.

Tried to get back for another run but it was closing just as I approached.  Wasn’t inclined to try other areas so called it quits.  However I might as well have gone and sat in a bar for an hour.  Took 45 mins to get out of the place – not helped by the fact the 88 westbound was closed for avalanche control with no expected opening time, but I don’t think it was just that.  Back to Carson and start planning the possible options for tomorrow that can see me get a couple of hours skiing in and NOT get delayed by rockslides, mudslides, avalanches or diversions – tricky.

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