Sunday, November 25, 2007

Opening Day for the 2007/2008 Season

Sunday, November 25 and it's opening day at Kirkwood! Ok, so only one run was open on chair 5, and it's all artificial snow. But kudos to the snowmaking team at Kirkwood for getting a run open with no help from Mother Nature.

The forecast calls for some snow showers later this week. Let's hope for a big season this year.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

September Snow

Thursday morning, September 20: 34 degrees and two inches of snow on the ground with a bit more to come throughout the day.

After hearing the weather forecast yesterday I did what I thought would be my last mountain bike climb up to the top of chair 2 and found a great new singletrack for the descent.

Opening day is scheduled for Nov. 24 - let's hope for a big 2007/2008 season!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The 2007 Season Ends With a Bang

It's Sunday morning at 11:15 and the Carson Spur is closed due to heavy snow. That's a great way to end a low snow year. Kirkwood has received close to three feet of new snow in the last week. Unfortunately I've been stuck in my study hacking together a prototype for a new startup idea. Hmmm... - PHP coding or skiing in fresh powder.

The last two summer seasons had trouble getting going on the traditional Kirkwood "start of summer" July 4th date, but there should be no problem this year. There's still some great backcountry skiing at the higher elevations and hopefully I'll make it up there once more in the next couple of weeks to give a first hand report.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Craig Garbiel Wins the Extremes!

Local Kirkwood skier Craig Garbiel won the Subaru North American Freeskiing Finals on the Cirque at Kirkwood yesterday. I went out to the Backside in the morning and watched some of the woman drop down into the Cirque from the ridge above Thunder Saddle. I then dropped down the Saddle into the Devil's Corral to watch the all day competition. You can see more photos of the event on

A low snow year meant that skiers had to stay on the Looker's Left part of the Cirque, so many of the normal cliffs and chutes were not skiable this year. That didn't stop the competitors from pulling off some incredible runs. My favorite of the day was seeing Drew Tabkes (aka "The Flyin Hawaiian") pull off a flawless 50 foot backflip.

Another local Kirkwood skier, Josh Daiek, crashed and didn't make into the Men's final 12 run. Josh was sixth on the tour coming into the Kirkwood leg.

Last year I made a DVD of several years of Extremes video footage I had shot. Nate, a Kirkwood ski patroller I know was doing some remodeling of the house next door to mine, so I gave him a copy of the DVD. He mentioned that he knew the guy who won the Kirkwood event, Craig Garbiel, so I gave him a another copy of the DVD to give to Craig. Nate then mentioned that Craig was getting married in a few weeks, and he didn't know what to get him for a wedding present, so the DVD was going to do the trick.

Congratulations Craig Garbiel and go Kirkwood!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Extremes Finals at Kirkwood this Saturday

The finals of the North American Freeskiing Championships are happening at Kirkwood this weekend. Drop down from Thunder Saddle into the meadow and Devil's Corral and check them out. Check out this promotional video of the event.

Also check out this amazing run from local Kirkwood big mountain skier Josh Daiek at last year's Extremes.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Spring Backcountry Skiing

It's a low snow year and we've had lots of warm sunny weather lately - perfect conditions for backcountry skiing up in Kirkwood! My old friend DB and I drove out to Red Lake this morning, put on our Alpine Touring gear, and climbed up Forestdale Bowl. We decided to turn around at the 9000 feet level - that was 1200 vertical feet of climbing! I just uploaded some photos from the trip onto the Altamont Studios Web site.

Five hours and 5 miles later we made it back to the Jeep. Conditions were fabulous! The drop down from 9000 feet to the Forestdale meadow was incredible. I'm still on an ancient pair of Volkl G2 skis with Diamir Fritchie AT bindings. DB was on a brand new pair of Karhu BC's with Dynafit bindings - a real state-of-the-art setup. Clearly it's time for me to do an upgrade here...

Monday, March 5, 2007

Kirkwood's White Robe Ski Team

Kirkwood has a new elite ski/boarding team - the Men in White Robes! After receiving over 15 feet of new snow in the past couple of weeks BH and I hosted three skiers and one boarder for the weekend. Conditions were incredible, with plenty of fresh powder to be found across the entire mountain.

After a full day of doing much of the mountain we decided to ski back to the cabin. While the cabin doesn't offer ski-out, it is ski-in - as long as you're willing to do a 15 minute hike from the Palisades. Since we had a boarder with us I decided to guide the group up the climb behind Glove Rock that starts at Sentinel Bowl so we could have a high elevation start. We dropped in off of the ridge to the east of Martin Point and the journey began. Dropping into the trees we had incredible fresh powder conditions - the best skiing of the entire day.

JM, our lone boarder, couldn't keep as high a traverse as us skiers, so we gave him one of the two-way radios and he dropped down early. Now with four remaining skiers I was excited about a fast traverse through light powder back to the cabin. I saw RE fall a ridge behind me, and then he dropped out of sight. We started yelling for him and had no response, so I turned around and went back looking for him. It was past 5pm and getting dark, we're in the middle of the trees in an out of bounds area, and no sign of RE. At this point I was thinking about how fast could I get back to the house and call Kirkwood's Search & Rescue team. I've never lost a guest in the woods on the final run back to the cabin, but there's a first time for everything.

When I was sure RE was lying unconscious somewhere in the forest after going head first into a tree or falling off of a volcanic rock cliff I heard from JM that he hooked up with RE. I later drove up to the end of Danberg to pick them up. JM reports that when he found RE his face was completely white, and he looked severely disoriented. Next time we'll be sure to give RE the other radio on any journeys through out of bounds forests. :)