Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rare Earth

"in order to write about life, you must first live it"

Rare Earth, there is a reason why Kirkwood is just that.  26 feet total this season thus far and another 2 feet expected this next week just before New Years.  With a small hurdle to jump last week with some major avalanche warnings and high winds moving people around like rag dolls, Kirkwood is producing what it promises each season.  Epic conditions.

For New Years Kirkwood will be holding a torch light parade run, where the top expert skiers will ride down the mountain with flares during first night fall.  Now that is going to produce an epic photo!  On another note, mountain living has become quite the adjustment...awesome none the less.  Pushing yourself out of your own comfort zone is something I would recommend to everyone.  With a diet consisting of what's available, soup has become my new favorite food.  Living 45 minutes from any grocery store, preparation is key because when the roads close, they close and you're stuck until the snow decides to let up.  Working long hours combined with boarding and the high altitude, demands on ones body become quickly apparent.  Let's not forget after about 10 hours of working, you start to become loopy at work!

Avalanche training classes are coming up and I pretty amped to get out on the mountain and learn the ropes.  

All in all, expectations have been exceeded thus far.

Friday, December 17, 2010


10 days straight of snow... just in time for the holiday season!  It's a bit ridiculous how much snow has fallen and keeps falling.  But then again it's Kirkwood.  With changing weather also comes sickness and I have already had my share of the "kirkwood crud" as they like to call it, where the flu once it hits spreads like wildfire.  Fortunately with one day full day of sleep to recover, it won't keep me from work nor boarding the fresh powder that accumulates everyday!

Jumping on the bandwagon with ZipTahoe, I'll be lucky enough to join the crew on my off days to take photos and get fully trained in zip lining at Kirkwood.

Our new website was launched today as well as the announcement of the backside and full mountain access opening up!  The season has officially taken off.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

a little K-Factor education...

K-Factor Avalanche lesson:

Kirkwood mountain is made up of nearly 2 miles of ridge line where cornice forms.  After any snowfall or where windy conditions develop, Kirkwood can become at high risk for an avalanche hazard.  Classified in the CLASS A category, Kirkwood is of the most dangerous of about 12 avalanche areas.  Not to be turned away just yet, our avalanche control team takes extra pre-caution to ensure the safety of all those that step foot on the mountain...even to the point where they will upset guests by opening a bit past schedule in order to make sure all 25 zones have been dynamited and secured.  FYI don't be that guest that complains about the chairs moving slightly after schedule on heavy weather days, it's for your own good.  We will kindly tell you you should have gone to another mountain if chairs turning on schedule is what you are looking for...under our breath, asking you if massive amounts of perfect snow over stellar terrain is what you came here looking for, learn some patience and go have a beer :). Give them some credit...they work in groups of two, strapped with dynamite, in harsh conditions and have a stretch of time to secure some of the most dangerous areas from the time the sun rises to scheduled opening times!  Another FYI, sometimes the mountain opens before all zones have been secured, so when you see a rope and a sign saying STAY OUT AVALANCHE ZONE, it's to tell you stay out you not only are you in danger of an avalanche but we may still be setting off dynamite in this zone.  In other words don't be a 'poacher'.

A cool addition to Kirkwood this year... Zipline Tours!  Eight ziplines have been installed from the top of chair 7.  Ziping down the mountain from tree top to tree top, tours last about 2 hours.  Normally a summer activity, they stepped it up a notch and will have quads taking groups up all winter...  Something I will definitely be taking advantage of :).  

For the next week or so, weather shows mostly snow with a few sunny days here and there!
Crossing our fingers for another large dump just in time for the holidays!