Same old gussied up Kirkwood

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Sam Bauman

Last Saturday at Kirkwood was a return to the old locals' resort now gussied up to near-destinaton level with all the condos and fancy new bars. All it needs is an airport.

But it's still the same old Kirkwood when it comes to the slopes. The West Wall is as daunting as ever, the Back Bowl spreading out so that you can ski down almost any line you want. The Cornice leads to the Cornice run and Sentinel Bowl, both fine steeps skiing.

Saturday was a happy snow day with powder just about anywhere you looked, particularly on the sides of trails where most fear to go. Lines were short, particularly if you tried the singles queue. While much of the trails off the Reut chair were given over to a snowboard race, the back way off the top of the Reut was lots of powder to the Caples Lake lift.

The Kirkwood Village there works well, plenty of seating and food prices are no worse than anywhere else in the Sierra. After hitting a surprise bump at high speed, the right knee said to slow down and I did for a day of fine mixed powder and packed skiing.

Same goes for Heavenly on Sunday, starting at the Stagecoach lift. Get there early (by 8:30 a.m. at the latest) and you can park less than 100 feet from the lodge and lift. The lodge has been upgraded and while it is still small, it's big enough for the modest Stagecoach crowd, mostly locals.

There's one fine run off to the right from the top, moderate bumps and fine snow, much powder. Then a couple of long runs and you're back to Stagecoach.

With the old Machete skis on their last edges (the delamination on the shovel area caused the edge to get ground down to paper thinness) the Heavenly demo booth at the base of Dipper beckoned. I tried the renamed Bandit 2 now B2 for several runs, using 176cm instead of the 187cm lengths I've been on. Truly a fine ski and at 176 effortless carving and short-swing turns. That's the next ski for me.

- Daron Rahlves of Sugar Bowl sent the crowd of nearly 100,000 at Austria's Hahnenkamm into screams of joy and horn-blaring. "I walked off into the sun, closed my eyes, took a moment with the sun beating down. It was like being home in Tahoe," said Daron who placed third in Thursday's downhill, first in Friday's Super G and second in Saturday's downhill. That's an incredible triumph of skill and nerveless dedication to the sport.

- Homewood Mountain Resort has returned Senior Moment Mondays. Seniors, ages 62 and over, can spend a special day skiing at Homewood.

Senior Moment Mondays will take place the first Monday of each month from January through April. The program will include an all day lift ticket, a two-hour ski lesson and lunch for $25. The next Senior Moment is Feb. 2nd at 9 a.m. with coffee and registration at Homewood's North Lodge, with the ski lesson from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., followed by lunch in the North Lodge. Call (530) 525-2992

- Visit your Northern California Jeep dealer and test drive a new vehicle. Your dealer will give you a coupon good for a one-day lift ticket at Sugar Bowl. But that's not all. Once you get to the mountain, you'll get a chance to win a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee. Redemption requires online registration and a valid California Driver's license. Ages 18 and up.

- The American Freeski Tour (Feb. 14-15), the NCAA National Championships (March 8-12) and the Red Bull Silver Belt (March 26-28) will bring world-class athletes to Sugar Bowl in 2004. These nationally televised racing events will showcase the hottest international skiers and boarders on the circuit.

Sugar Bowl is looking for some volunteers for its Mountain Safety program. Must be a great skier and able to assist guests. There is a lifting requirement for this position. Benefits include a full season pass. Call (530) 426-6759

- Sierra-at-Tahoe will again hold Snowsports Week from Feb. 9-12, an annual event that allows skiers and riders to support local nonprofit organizations while skiing and riding for almost half of the regular ticket price.

Full-day adult lift tickets are on sale for $25 at select Northern California and South Lake Tahoe locations. Call the Barton Hospital Foundation office at (530) 543-5614 or Sierra-at-Tahoe at (530) 659-7453.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor. Contact him at or 881-1236.


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