Kirkwood has many new programs |

Kirkwood has many new programs

Sam Bauman

Snow on the mountains – at least for a day or so. That’s what the cold snap offered and it was refeshing after all the 80- and 90-degree weather.

The first snow of the season also fell at Kirkwood Mountain Resort over last weekend. Kirkwood is ready with a mountain of new programs and improvements. Enhanced facilities, new learning programs for beginners and experts and partnerships with top-name equipment manufacturers ensure that skiers and snowboarders will be able to experience a new level of winter fun this year at Kirkwood.

Expedition Kirkwood, a unique program designed to introduce skiers and riders to the backcountry, will move into its new headquarters right on the Village Plaza. The Salomon Test Center will also be headquartered on the Plaza, making it handy for guests to demo the latest equipment, including telemark and Randonee gear. Guests can try out the full range of Salomon skis in a single day by purchasing the Salomon Test Package.

Special deals are available for those who choose to purchase Powder Cat Tours on Red Cliffs, which is the thought to be the only cat skiing on the South Shore and is available on weekends and holidays. Groups of five can reserve a Powder Cat Tour any day of the season 24 hours in advance.

Courses in backcountry awareness will be offered monthly to help educate advanced skiers and riders about proper procedures and safety skills when outside of avalanche controlled areas.

In partnership with Backcountry Access (BCA), Kirkwood offers Beacon Basin, the only avalanche beacon training facility of its kind in California.

For those seeking experience in Kirkwood’s cornices, chutes and steeps, there are programs ranging from two-hour to two-day clinics. Quests are two-hour mountain tours that explore the off-piste hidden gems of Wagon Wheel Bowl, the area nestled between Chairs 6 and 10 usually explored only by locals. Quests are open to advanced intermediate to expert level skiers and riders only and are available on weekends and holidays.

The Stomping Grounds Terrain Park has tripled in size with new features, a bumpin’ sound system and a longer superpipe.

— The deadline to purchase Lake Tahoe’s original dual mountain season pass is through Sept. 30. Skiers and riders can purchase their 2004/05 season pass for prices beginning at $289.

For those who haven’t heard of the Double Whammy, it is the passport to ski/ride terrain spread over 4,480 acres, 116 runs, 27 lifts, 11 freestyle terrain parks, 50 kilometers of cross country trails and snowshoeing terrain at both Sierra-at-Tahoe and Northstar-at-Tahoe.

The $289 Value Season Pass, the most popular Double Whammy product, allows purchasers to ski/ride any day, excluding blackout dates, at Sierra-at-Tahoe and Sunday through Friday, excluding blackout dates, at Northstar-at-Tahoe.

Other pass products include an unlimited season pass valid any day, with no restrictions at both resorts, priced at $649 for adults. A limited season pass valid any day at Sierra and any day excluding blackout dates at Northstar, costs $449 for adults.

A limited pass, now priced at $79, allows children to ski/ride any day at Sierra and any day excluding blackout dates at Northstar. The child’s unlimited season pass valid any day of the season at both resorts is now priced at just $109.

Another favorite, the Sierra-at-Tahoe only pass is back, for prices beginning as low as $199.

Those seeking to purchase their 2003/04 Double Whammy Pass should log onto or call Sierra-at-Tahoe’s season pass office at (530) 659-7453, ext. 208, and Northstar-at-Tahoe’s season pass office at (800) GO-NORTH.

— Saturday, 8:30 ato 2 is a hands-on forest and stream restoration event. Volunteers will work on a variety of projects to control erosion, reduce fire danger, and create a healthier forest. Barbecue lunch will be provided. It takes place at Tahoe Paradise Park (in Meyers). Registration is required for all volunteers. Contact Catherine Parsons at (530) 541-5388 or at to sign up.

— This year’s Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day site, Tahoe Paradise Park, offers a variety of restoration opportunities. Projects will include removing hazardous fuels from a forested area, thinning a dense stand of trees, spreading mulch on an eroding bike path, installing erosion control features on a trail, and stabilizing a stream bank of the Upper Truckee River by planting willow waddles. Volunteers will be divided into groups and will have the opportunity to participate in a number of these restoration projects.

In addition, volunteers will learn about a variety of topics related to the Tahoe environment from local experts. The League will host a free barbecue and drawing at the end of the day. All ages are welcome and no experience is necessary.

— Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2-3, join the Tahoe RimTrail folks for the Mountain Bike overnight trail weekend on the Rim Trail in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. Flume Trail Bikes needs your muscle to finish a long reallignment and switchback that was started this summer, and design and add alternate line rock free ride sections. Main meals and beer provided.

A great time will be had by all thanks to a generous donation from X Terra. There’s a 25-person limit! No charge to participate. Call (775) 749-5349 for questions or to reserve a place! Or contact Erin Casey at for questions.

Sam Bauman is a Nevada Appeal Staff Writer. Contact him at or 881-1236.