This article is sponsored by Kirkwood Mountain Resort, home to 2,300 uncrowded acres and Tahoe's deepest snow conditions. To learn more visit Kirkwood.com.
There's no ski area that captures the laid-back California vibe better than Kirkwood Mountain Resort. Located just 45 minutes from South Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood offers skiers and snowboarders a chance to get off the grid and enjoy one of the region's most pristine and scenic mountain settings.
Not to mention some of the best conditions and terrain. Thanks to its high elevation and location atop the Sierra Crest, Kirkwood receives the deepest, driest and lightest snow in the entire Tahoe region. Each winter (and well into the spring), 600 inches blanket the resort's 2,300 skiable acres, making Kirkwood a veritable playground for skiers and boarders of all abilities.
Kirkwood is renowned for its advanced terrain -- from cliffs and cornice-lipped chutes to tree skiing and hair raising terrain parks, there's enough challenging features for extreme skier and snowboarder buffs to go wild for weeks. However, 50 percent of the mountain is devoted to intermediate trails (with another 15 percent reserved for beginners), while "high angle" grooming ensures you can cruise carefree all day.
Classes and Rentals
Luckily, the team at Kirkwood wants you to master all types of terrain, whether you're a seasoned vet or a family of first-timers.
Kirkwood goes big for your kids. From beginner classes (starting children as young as two) in the kids-only magic carpet learning center to the Burton Learn To Ride Center for snowboarders, first timers have fun while building a solid foundation to become lifelong rippers. For the more advanced, there's programs like Mountain Explorers and Junior Expedition "All Stars," a three hour clinic developed for young athletes capable of riding the entire mountain. Safety, however, comes first, with all children required to wear helmets.
Adults can enjoy similar instruction, either in group lessons or privates for every level. But for the more advanced, nothing tops Expedition: Kirkwood. Designed to encourage adventure and responsible backcountry skiing, the program takes you beyond Kirkwood's boundary to tackle some of the resort's most famous and infamous terrain, some of which you'll recognize from iconic extreme skiing videos. To book an Avalanche Certification Course, a Cat Tour, woman's clinic or even a spot on the Junior Expedition Team (JETS) for your little ripper, click here.
If you're pushing yourself, you'll want the best equipment. Ski Butlers provides the latest skis, boards, bindings and boots, and deliver them straight to your accommodations. The process couldn't be easier or personal: Simply book online, wait for one of their experienced "Butlers" to arrive for an in-room fitting and, voila, you're ready to shred. Need an adjustment made? Simply call their office and they'll meet you anywhere on the mountain to fix the problem. And when your ski vacation ends, they'll be right there to pick up your rentals, too. For more information, visit Skibutlers.com.
Of course, all the powder skiing and boarding might have you feeling a bit tuckered out by end of day. Reserve a slope-side condo here, or, for a completely unique vacation experience, head just down to Harrah's and Harveys Lake Tahoe, where you can enjoy the best of Las Vegas in the heart of the pristine mountains. With two hotels and casinos, not to mention spas, nightclubs, comedy showcases and an array of fine dining, all in a waterfront location, you might completely forget about the following day's ski lesson.
To learn more about Kirkwood Mountain Resort and to plan your next ski vacation, visit Kirkwood.com.