Kirkwood might seem a little out of the main action of Lake Tahoe, but there are some things we really like about it. First, the drive to Kirkwood isn't quite as congested as to the rest of Lake Tahoe. We like to drive via Lodi. It's a pretty drive through farmland...and you can pick up great oranges in Lodi.
Secondly, we love the size of Kirkwood. It's hard to get bored skiing and riding at Kirkwood. For the size of the resort, the price of lift tickets are a steal, especially if you purchase your tickets from Costco. This year, you could get two lift tickets for just $99. When you consider that Northstar's tickets are over a hundred this year, Kirkwood is amazing value for money.
With the high elevation of Kirkwood, it has some of the best snow in Tahoe. Even this year with the poor snow conditions, Kirkwood had 100% of it's lifts open. Another recent developement gives great promise to Tahoe - Vail Resorts what also owns Heavenly and Northstar, just purchased Kirkwood. That means that the Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood season pass to be offered next year is going ot be the hottest season pass in Lake Tahoe. In addition, I'm hoping that Vail will pour some investment to make some major improvements at Kirkwood.
I also love that there is so much accommodation at Kirkwood that is within easy access of the lifts. It is a little hard to figure out how to book lodging at kirkwood because there are so many vacation rental condos that are run separately. However, nnce you figure it out, it's great to park your car for the whole time you're staying at Kirkwood because the lifts are literally at your doorstep. A note to the wise though, there aren't any supermarkets in the village area, so you better bring all your groceries along with you if you're self-catering.
There are a few things that I'd love to see Kirkwood improve. First - dining option...especially on the mountain. With a mountain the size of Kirkwood, it sure would be nice to have a few lodges you can ski up to that serve good food. Hot dogs and burgers just don't cut it for everyone. In the village area, there are a few restaurants that serve good food, but it would be great to see a few more options and a grocery store since there are so many self catering units at Kirkwood.
The other thing that is hard for families is the lack of day care at Kirkwood. All the child care options listed on Kirkwood's website are run by private individuals who have their own home child care or who will babysit for you in your condo. It would be fantastic for parents to have an on mountain licensed day care. if you're hanging out with your young child for the day, there aren't too many places to hang out at Kirkwood. If you're not skiing, your recreational options are pretty limited.
So, while I think the skiing at Kirkwood is wonderful, as a mom of a young child, it was hard feeling a little left out of the fun because I was on childcare duty the whole time with few options for fun.
I've gotta say, the Costco passes make this place an easy choice! The instructors were also really great, too! I hadn't been skiing in years, and decided to take a beginner lesson while my 7 year old son was in the snowboarding school. Both of us were so pleased with our teachers, and really got some great runs in. I know he was SUPER happy to be going on the "big" lifts right away, and I was super happy to be staying on the "bunny" lifts for the most part ;0) The only downside was the lodge wasn't very big, but for the price that was more than tolerable!
A year-round destination at 7,800 feet in elevation, Kirkwood is headquarters for fly fishing, cross-country and downhill skiing, and high-altitude hiking and backpacking. On hundreds of acres of alpine meadows, Nordic skiing is perfection. Come summer, meadows turn to waves of wildflowers. Biking, hiking, and lake and stream fishing are popular here and at nearby Caples Lake.
You can stay in a lodge room, or rent a condo or a house. In a Tyrolean-style village atmosphere, laid-back Kirkwood is less commercial and more like ski mountains used to be. Recent developments are a beautiful outdoor ice skating rink, a fitness and swim complex, snazzy boutique shops, a freestyle terrain park and half-pipe, an expanded tubing hill with a lift, and Bub’s Sports Bar & Grill, with TVs and electronic
games for kids.
Among a wide variety of accommodations, Mountain Club is a deluxe condo hotel with one- and two-bedrooms units with lofts. The Mighty Mountain Ski Center offers child care, lessons, and a kids-only lift. Kamp Kirkwood entertains nonskiing kids, and there is an evening program for 6 to 12 year olds. A Children’s Center is located at the Timber Creek Lodge, near a terrain garden and a beginner and intermediate chair. Children have their own cross-country trail—Kiddie Kilometer—with life-size cutouts of forest animals. A new high-speed quad to the top of the beginner area; a new learn-to-ride snowboard center; women’s clinics; and newly expanded terrain parks for all skill and age levels helps make Kirkwood one of the top ten places in North America to learn to ski, according to USA Today.
I just finished a great weekend of spring skiing at Kirkwood. There are no crowds, great snow, warm weather and sunshine, and good deals. Families with children under 12 yrs. can park free at Timber Creek Lodge where all the children's programs are located. Also, there is a $99 Spring Pass available. With 4 more weeks of great skiing, it's a great deal. I may consider skiing only in the spring from now on.
There are a couple of great programs. Little Rippers for the 4 to 6 year olds, and Mountain Explorers for the 7 to 12 year olds. They also have snowboarding programs for kids 5 and older. There are programs for full day ($107) and half day ($87). Also, the kids have a rope tow and chairlift just for beginners. Absolutely one of the best bargains in the Tahoe area for families. Skiing for the adults is the best in the Tahoe area (if you're an expert skier).
Kirkwood is a great ski resort for the whole family. We brought Owen up here for a long weekend when he was a toddler. We took him sledding in a laundry basket on 30 inches of fresh powder! Kirkwood's got ski/snow school, an small ice skating rink, an area for tubing, cross country skiing, dog sled riding and more. We rented a house on the mountain and were able to get around easily with their shuttle service. As a mountain, Kirkwood's got a variety of trails. The don't have many high speed quads, but the terrain is quite fun. If you're family's beginner skiers, start off from the Timber Creek Lodge (lots of blues and greens). Most of the blacks and blues are off of the main Mountain Village area. We love the double blacks off the Wall.
This ski resort has something for the entire family. Whether you ski or not, you will enjoy the beautiful mountains here. Skiiers have their choice of runs, from easy to very difficult (with moguls). Beginners can take lessons for usually the cost of the ski rentals. The lessons are very good and definitely prepare the beginner to ski on their own. Those who do not wish to ski can still play in the snow or enjoy a nice hot chocolate at the lodge. This is one of the best resorts for a family ski trip.