Kirkwood Ski Resort: Too much snow?

Here's an easy quiz for readers: Who said this weekend: "We have too much snow."

a) A representative of the Nevada Department of Transportation

b) A spokesman for the Nevada Highway Patrol

c) An executive at the Kirkwood Ski Resort

d) A 12-year-old boy shoveling snow from the sidewalk in front of his house.

Hard to believe, but it was Kirkwood Ski Resort. And how could a ski area representative say there was too much snow?

Because in the wake of a 101-inch snow dump earlier in December the construction crew couldn't get through the snow to complete the final floor for the new ice-skating rink due to open before Christmas.

But that was about the only negative one could hear at Kirkwood -- or at any other Tahoe ski/snowboard resort as conditions were excellent for snowsporting everywhere.

Kirkwood, for example, on Saturday opened the entire resort to sporting, including Chair 4 in the back bowl. Untracked until Saturday, the bowl offered literally miles of pure, pristine snow. Only a small track off the main runs was groomed so snowsporters were able to get all the powder skiing they could want.

Said visiting retired journalist Gene Kramer of Washington, D.C., "I'm tempted to cancel my trip next month to Italy and stay here."

Nobody was sure if it was a record or not, but Kirkwood logged 4,023 paid snowsporters on Saturday. Parking was a problem for those arriving after 9:30 a.m.

But no one seemed to complain as the snow was in all respects excellent. And there was plenty of it.

On Saturday Kirkwood also moved into the relatively new sport of tubing -- that is, being hauled up by a surface lift riding in an oversized inner tube, then rocketing down the slope on a prepared trail with bumps, curves and surprises. Tubing has proved to be popular with visitors who don't wish to become involved in the relatively expensive sports of skiing and snowboarding. Prices for the tube lift were $10 for two hours, $20 for all day.

Mount Rose ski area also counted Saturday as very good, although figures were not available. The resort hosted a slopeside snowboard event with "a good turnout, great weather, great snow," said Murray Blaney of the marketing department.

Heavenly could boast of having two black/double black diamond areas open, Killebrew and Mott Canyon. Both are for the advanced skier or snowboarder.

And in case you were thinking of starting from the Boulder base off Kingsbury Grade, give it up. With the new gondola in full operation and snowmaking costing dearly at Boulder, Heavenly management is weighing the opening of Boulder with perhaps opening it if more snow falls.


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