Kirkwood Cross Country www.kirkwood.com
Above All The Rest!
The following article has been provided by Kirkwood Cross Country for exclusive use by xcskiworld.com. All rights reserved.
Above all the rest, with a base elevation of 7,800 feet and 80 kilometers of machine groom trails, Kirkwood Cross Country offers the most spectacular scenery and the most exciting terrain in the west. Surrounded by wilderness, trails lead skiers to the top of the Sierra Crest. The natural alpine setting allows skiers to explore trails, which wind downhill, meander through meadows and gently traverse open bowls. The terrain and variety of skiing is unlimited. Covering more than 4,200 acres, 60% of the trails are rated intermediate, allowing enthusiasts to ski the upper reaches of the trail system.
Kirkwood Cross Country is a full service resort, offering alpine skiing as well as cross country skiing. The Kirkwood Village Plaza has great dining options; ski shops and a variety of family fun including ice skating, tubing, swimming and more! Trackside accommodations offer easy access to the Village, Nordic trails and ski lifts. The cross country center is located one mile from the Village or two kilometers via the ski track. The cross country day lodge houses a retail and rental shop, the ski school, snacks and a friendly, helpful atmosphere. During breaks from skiing, guests can sip hot drinks by a wood burning stove in the cozy day lodge or warm-up in one of the many trailside warming huts.
THE TRIAL SYSTEM
Kirkwood Cross Countryís trail system is divided into three different systems. The Meadow System, which is located across the highway from the center, connects the cross country center to the Kirkwood Village. The Caples Creek system is directly adjacent to the center. The Schneider Trail System is located at a higher elevation, climbing to over 9,000, feet affording phenomenal views of the surrounding wilderness areas (including the Carson spur) and Caples Lake. These trails are accessed by car for those who wish to avoid the steep terrain of ď Agony and Ecstasy".
The Meadow system provides the regionís best novice skiing. The meadow itself is over two miles long is one of the last undeveloped high altitude meadows of its size in the Sierra. The meadow has two five kilometer loops. One loop is the popular dog friendly, (or whatever else one cares to travel on) loop. Another pristine loop is for skiers only. The meadow is the perfect spot for children, elders and those that just want an easy cruise. Few Sierra cross country centers offer such expansive skiing on such gentle terrain. The Meadow system is accessed at the north end at the cross country center or the south end, near Kirkwood Village, where most to the lodging is located. When heading south on the trail, one encounters panoramic views of the downhill ski slopes and lava sentinels along the spine of the Carson Spur.
The Caples Creek Trail System provides the most diversity of the three systems. The System begins with a long rolling decent to Caples Meadow. This sheltered meadow (several hundred feet below the cross country center) offers a tranquil experience as one ski along the winding creek. Caples Creek is dotted with beaver ponds, birds of prey; ducks, heron and all the small fur bearing critters that stay active in the winter. Several side loops twist through forested areas, up and down granite domes making for exciting skiing. Further along the trail, one comes upon a spectacular view of Round Top looming over the area at 10,381 feet. An added feature to Caples Creek is that it has nature signs along the trail that point out information abuts the surrounding area and wildlife.
The Schneider Trail system is an elaborate system of interwoven trails in the high country of Kirkwood. Climbing to the crest of the Sierra these trails afford views of the Desolation Wilderness, the Coastal Range and a panoramic view of the Sierra Crest. The trails all lead up toward the famed Schneider Cow Camp. A wonderful old barn remains in the meadow, a great spot for basking in the sun (we provide the lounge chairs). Beyond the camp one climbs Sierra Vista and on to Coyote Pass. Coyote Pass sits high above the Kirkwood valley and Caples Lake. A this is a perfect place to sit and ponder. The return ski is exciting and mostly downhill. While descending the high ridge and crossing open bowls the views are so incredible that one must stop often to take it all in.
This season a NEW grooming machine has been added to the Kirkwood fleet. This means more that one trail system can be groomed at one time. During lean snowfall years it's been impossible to groom the Schneider Trail system, as the connecting trail requires five feet of snow. Now, one snow cat will be located at the Schneider trailhead, allowing this system to be groomed, as soon as there is a foot of snow on the ground. Trails all the way to the top of Coyote Pass will be groomed. All trail systems will be groomed for skiing in the early season, which means the first of December, often Thanksgiving.
Kirkwood combines outdoor adventure with environmental awareness and education. Many trails feature interpretive signs providing for a more enlightening and meaningful visit. Kirkwood's Cross Country Center has designed a special trail, the Kiddy Kilometer, sure to keep any child's attention. The one kilometer loop sits in a small meadow adjacent to the day lodge and is lined with life size animal cut outs and flip up signs had feature tracks and the matching animal.
The five kilometer outside loop around the Kirkwood Meadow has officially been declared dog-friendly and will become the main thoroughfare for people, pets, and all other muscle-powered means of travel. A second more challenging trail, the High Trail, is a five-kilometer loop that is dog friendly as well.
RENTAL AND DEMO CENTER
The center features Rossignol ski, boots and poles for rental and retail. The standard waxless packages are the new innovative Evo ski. The short, Evo ski makes skiing fun, easy and it reduces the learning curve. Evo skis are available in the traditional and ski skate models. Top of the line skate skis and boots are also offered in the rental and retail department. NEW this season is a full size range of Rossignol light weigh backcountry skis and boots. This equipment features state of the art metal edge skis and NNN boots for ski touring off or on track.
Kirkwood's Cross Country Director and seven-time World Masters Champion, Debbi Waldear, oversees the Cross Country Ski School. The school offers instruction in diagonal stride, skating, touring skills as well as snowshoes instruction. The expansive Kirkwood Meadow offers some of the best learning terrain in the Sierra. Miles of trails wind through the meadow with flat to rolling terrain for beginners of all ages.
The Cross Country Center has expanded its lesson program to include a skilled staff of instructors with expertise in a variety of cross country skiing disciplines including the traditional kick and glide, skating, and turning! This season a NEW lesson is offered, called the SKI SKILLS AND TOUR. In this lesson you will learn a variety of techniques while skiing the trails with an instructor. Skate lessons and clinics are scheduled on a regular basis.
Snowshoeing is a great alternative to cross country skiing. Those who can walk can snowshoe, without the learning process necessary on skis. One can climb steep hillsides without the worry of sliding backwards and travel down hills for a relaxing on-snow adventure. Several models of high-tech snowshoes are available for rent at the Cross Country Center. A NEW daily SNOWSHOE SKILLS AND GUIDED TOUR is scheduled for noon. This introduction class covers equipment use, technique and trekking on the trails with a guide.
Kirkwood Cross Country has a full array of experiences to offer. Kirkwood Resort is a full service destination resort. Located on Route 88, near Carson Pass. Kirkwood is a 3.25 hour drive from the San Francisco Bay Area. Itís ninety minutes from Reno/Tahoe International Airport. For lodging services call 1-800-967-7500
For more information: Cross country...209-258-7248 or www.kirkwood.com.
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