If you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to say that your idea of the ultimate guy’s trip revolves around powder-filled slopes. You and your crew want to escape to the mountains and fill your day with adrenaline-charged turns and fresh air—maybe followed by a plate of wings and a couple cold brews.
And Kirkwood Mountain Resort is the ideal place for exactly this. Here are a few reasons why.
Skiing is the Main Activity
Perched amid powder-filled peaks about a 45-minute drive from South Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood can’t exactly be classified as “no-frills,” but there’s no question that the mountain itself is the icing on the cake. With more than 600 inches of snowfall last year, there are ample opportunities to catch a POW day at Kirkwood. While the Mountain Village might feel small compared to larger Tahoe resorts, Kirkwood focuses its broad boundaries on a singular purpose: world-class skiing.
Ripping turns is the No. 1 priority here and its form follows its function. The form involves a vast 2,300 acres of skiable terrain, with 86 runs and 15 lifts. Everything else is situated conveniently around access to the terrain. Parking and lodging are within easy walking distance of the lifts, as are restaurants and bars.
The Wood is well-known for its extreme terrain. Nearly the entire summit of the ski area is situated on a sharp ridgeline with a bounty of steep chutes, cornices, rock faces, and cliffs to launch off of. Some of the steepest terrain, such as The Wall, can serve as the focal point for an entire afternoon of laps (in which case, be sure to collect your Creature of Habit badge), but it would be a shame for you and your buddies to miss the fresh line potential in the glades of Sentinel Bowl or Palisades Bowl. Comparing the cornices at the top of both The Wall and Cornice Express lifts is morning habit for many locals, landing all scouts an easy Dawn Patrol badge. Exploring the backsides of Kirkwood will also earn you the Backsider Epic badge. There is no better way to bond with your bros than atop Lookout Vista before hurtling into Devil’s Corral via One Man Chute or Two Man Chute.
If someone in your group isn’t quite at the same level, keep in mind that Kirkwood is not all steeps. Most of the lower portion of the mountain is filled with smooth blues and even a few greens as well as a dedicated beginner area at Timber Creek. A great compromise for a crew of mixed abilities is spending the morning on the aptly named Sunrise chair. Besides soaking up rays and sharing stories on the lift, you can part ways at the top, hard-chargers heading to launch the cornice of The Wave while cruisers swoop down the wide open corduroy of Happiness before joining forces again for the lift ride back up.
Classic Bars and Restaurants for Après
The main gathering spot at the end of the day is Cornice Grill, home to nine brews on tap and the famous Buffalo bloody Mary. With meals like the bacon-filled tombstone burger or pork quesadilla, this place is all about decadent reward foods. There’s also a foosball table and plenty of big screens to ensure you don’t miss your game, plus regular specials including the popular pizza & pint.
The Wall Bar and Grill opens to soaring views of Thimble Peak, The Sisters, Glove Rock, and Martin Point and offers a more upscale experience with small plates like salads, flatbreads, and pork belly sliders, plus a huge bar offering everything from local brews to boozy hot chocolate.
The most iconic dinner spot in the area is Kirkwood Inn & Saloon, taking you back to the Wild West (the place actually dates back to 1864) over a perfectly crafted dirty martini and scrumptious plate of fish tacos.
Given its relatively remote location away from shopping and larger resort amenities, Kirkwood lies off of the frequented travel grid for destination skiers and families. This means little to no wait in lift lines even on a weekend and often your choice of table for après. Above all, it means plenty of room to spread out on the slopes and soft, fresh tracks, even several days after a storm.
The Wood is the secret ski paradise for young powder hounds and the ultimate getaway for guys who love to ski.
Featured image provided by Jose Luis Hidalgo R.