Kirkwood still is a favorite resort of locals |

Kirkwood still is a favorite resort of locals

Sam Bauman
For the Nevada Appeal
Sam Bauman/For the Nevada Appeal

Finally made it to Kirkwood,- a solid 50 miles from Car– son City via 395 to Minden and right on Highway 88. Hope Valley viewed from 88 is a beautiful expanse of largely untouched snow, enough to make one want to get out the cross-country skis.

But the Kirk beckoned so we parked there on a bright and sunny Monday and hit the slopes starting at 7,800 feet and topping at Thimble Peak, 9,876 feet.

Mondays are slow days at most resorts so the Reut lift had no line. This fixed three-seat lift serves a couple of nice blue runs with a shortcut over to the Caples Lake lift by the Caples Crest Traverse. It’s a bit steep at first but eases up along the way.

This takes one past the Snowkirk three-seater beginner lift, an easy way to get to the base of Caples Crest lift, which serves several nice blue runs ” usually well-groomed runners. From the top of Caples Crest the Deadwood Spur takes you to the four-seater Sunrise lift. That tops out at Thimble Peak, a nice hike in the summer from Highway 88.

It’s all pleasantly downhill blacks and blues here, although the blacks tend to be on the blue side. Still, plenty of beautiful ski and riding country. Hell’s Delight, off to the left from the top, takes you through a bumped Eagle Bowl back to the Caples lift.

There are two new lifts here, both T-bars that start at the top of the Caples lift. No. 14 takes you over to Upper Devil’s Draw; No. 15 to Covered Wagon Peak. This used to be hiking territory but now is accessible to those of us not up to climbing.

Back at the base area, the Wall lift, strictly black diamonds, is a fast pull up to a couple of serious challenges. A little much for the new knee so I stayed on the less demanding blacks and blues.

Snow was excellent on all runs, although there are plenty of rocks showing off the trails. The Lo Whiskey trail at the top of Caples lift is a fun excursion, not terribly challenging but fast and slick. It takes you back to the base area, where the Cornice chair offers access to the Sentinel Bowl, rated black but probably an advanced blue. As there is no real national standard for blacks and blues, each resort classifies runs to its own standards.

The Sentinel leads you to the Timber Creek day lodge for food and kids’ ski and board classes. You can catch the TC Express to ski or ride back to the Red Cliffs lodge.

Staffers at Kirkwood say the big building program is about over. That was what made Kirkwood a destination resort, with all the condos and mansions tucked about. Parking can be tight on weekends, so if you go, try to get there well before 9 a.m.

There are four terrain parks here, ranging from beginner to expert levels. Expedition Kirkwood offers Snow Cat tours of back country; call 209-258-7360 for dates and fees.

Adult lift tickets start at $72 and go down to $16 for super seniors, with all price ranges available. There’s a private club at the Red Cliffs lodge, taking up a good section of the place. Was closed on Monday so I didn’t get to sample it.

In summary, Kirkwood remains one of the best mountain resorts in the Tahoe region, fine runs for all levels of snowsporters. It’s easy to see why Kirkwood for so many years was the local folks’ favorite. Built up as it is with all the condos and homes, it is still a place where we locals love to sport.


It’s all legal now, the Silver Saddle Ranch and the Carson River Charrette.

Here’s the latest on this switch of land between Carson City and the Bureau of Land Management. Involved were the Prison Hill rec area and the Silver Saddle Ranch on the flood plain on the east side of Prison Hill.

After two years, the planning team (Nancy Santos, Friends of Silver Saddle Ranch; Juan Guzman, Carson City; Dan Jacquet, Bureau of Land Management; and, Anne Dove, National Park Service: River, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program) announced the completion of the planning process and availability of the charrette summary report.

The complete document with the report, appendices, and full-size maps is too large for e-mail download. However, a CD containing all files can be obtained from the Friends of Silver Saddle Ranch at 884-1570 or A donation of $5 for the CD would defray costs and help support the Friends of Silver Saddle Ranch in their continued efforts to preserve Silver Saddle Ranch-Prison Hill, the Carson River and all public lands adjacent to the river within Carson City. A CD can be mailed, or made available for pick up at the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department, Bureau of Land Management or some other location.

This is a real advance for outdoor recreation in Carson City and if you care about such matters it would be wise to get this CD. There have been some items floating about that warn about the possible misuse of this new land and we all need to know exactly what’s in store for us.


Here’s a new twist on action around Tahoe: art on the snow.

A new cultural outing at Sierra-at-Tahoe mountain resort on Highway 50 East Sierra Mountain Arts & Culture will launch Saturday with artwork by South Shore locals E. Peter Darvis and Barbara Wesson, beer tasting by Jack Russell Brewery, and live music by The Tritones. Festivities begin around 3 p.m. in the Sierra Pub at the ski resort. 

The program continues throughout the winter season in the Sierra Pub with performances by Deep Fried Mojo, Lavish Green and J.R. and Family, all local South Shore groups. Additional art displays by local painters, sculptures and photographers will rotate through the Sierra Pub throughout the winter season. will also showcase the art and music O line. 

The paintings of South Shore artist Darvis depict familiar scenes from around Lake Tahoe in a distinctive impressionistic style. The earth-inspired pottery of Wesson is functional for both home and garden.  

Featured in Sierra Resort’s retail shop Sierra Mountain Sports, Rise Designs clothing is designed and made in South Lake Tahoe by Sierra employees Mike Miller and Marley Reel. All Rise Designs clothing is created by hand.

Local Sierra foothill wineries will host complimentary wine tasting in the Sierra Pub during the winter season. Boeger Winery will offer tasting every Wednesday in February while Madrona Vineyards will offer tasting every Wednesday in March. Jack Russell Brewing Company will host a second beer tasting on Feb. 21. All tastings begin around 3 p.m. in the Sierra Pub.


Sierra-at-Tahoe rider Jamie Anderson has been named Women’s Rider of the Year at the 10th annual Transworld Snowboarding Riders Poll Awards. Currently Jamie is sitting pretty with a first-place ranking in the TTR World Snowboard Tour and a second-place overall ranking for the Winter Dew Tour. Check her out Feb.19-22 when the Dew Tour makes its final stop at Northstar-at-Tahoe.

Best of luck to local Special Olympics World Winter Games contestants heading to Boise, Idaho.

Carson’s Michael LeBreque and Colleen Stainbrook will be joined by Shawn Stainbrook of Carson and Erin Loveless of Reno to take part in the cross-country SKI events.

And if you’re a snowshoer, the Tahoe Rim Trail is hosting an outing Saturday at Martis Peak off Highway 267. Call 298-0012 or see


I’ve written about waxing skis yourself rather than letting the experts do it. It’ll save you money. One tip: melt the wax onto the ski at whatever temperature makes it dribble easily. But when you smooth out the wax, set your heating iron to low.

And keep the iron moving; otherwise you can cause problems with the p-tex base.

Also, when smoothing out burrs and digs in the steel edges, be careful not to change the angle of the vertical edge. The manufacturer has put the exact bias best for the skis and if you change that angle you’ll alter the performance of the ski.


With the Baby Boomers coming out to the slopes in large numbers (comparatively so), senior ski classes are booming.

I just found out about the senior programs at Heavenly, where there is a cohort of Professional Ski Instructors of America certified instructors of seniors. More on this next week.


– Contact Sam Bauman at 775-841-7819 or at


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