Cross-country kicks: Kirkwood center opens, more snow needed for other South Shore spots |

Cross-country kicks: Kirkwood center opens, more snow needed for other South Shore spots

by Adam Jensen
A cross-country skier pushes through Kirkwood's meadow during a previous season.
Courtesy Kirkwood Mountain Resort |

Cross-country ski enthusiasts at Lake Tahoe’s South Shore can already make the drive to Kirkwood Mountain Resort to get their kicks, but may want to continue doing snow dances to encourage more terrain openings.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort opened its Cross Country and Snowshoe Center on Thanksgiving day. The center is operating 18 km of cross-country trails in Kirkwood’s meadow until additional winter storms hit the Sierra Nevada.

“It’s beautiful,” said resort spokesman Kevin “Coop” Cooper of the Meadow Loop, which circles mostly flat terrain near the entrance to the resort, beneath Kirkwood’s downhill runs. Colder temperatures have kept the snow in good shape for skiing, Cooper added.

A fast-moving storm also dropped 5 inches of snow Thursday night, Dec. 3, at Kirkwood, according to a Friday morning snow report. On Wednesday, Cooper estimated it would take another 3 to 4 feet of snow to open the Cross Country and Snowshoe Center’s network of trails on the north side of State Route 88, which includes classic trails like Agony and Ecstasy. Scattered snow showers are expected through the weekend, with a more significant storm possible Thursday, according to the National Weather Service in Reno.

Kirkwood’s Cross Country Center is open for business with retail, rentals and lessons available. Day tickets are $27 for adults, $23 for juniors, $14 for children, $23 for seniors and $5 for dogs.

Other cross-country options at the South Shore, including Camp Richardson’s Mountain Sports Center and Hope Valley Outdoors, are still waiting on more snow before opening up and have not announced opening days.

A 3.5-mile loop for cross-country skiing near Lake Tahoe Community College is also set to open when conditions allow. Recent low-snow years have hindered efforts to get the community cross-country ski trail open for recreation.

“It’s going to be a cool course once we get it up and going,” said Tyler Cannon, the South Shore resident behind the trail. “When there’s enough snow it will be groomed to skate ski.”

More information on skiing near Lake Tahoe Community College will be available through the college’s Connect Community Education program.

At the North Shore, Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area, the Tahoe City Winter Sports Park, Royal Gorge and Auburn Ski Club Training Center have opened to cross-country skiers for the season.

“Skiing at ASC remains pretty dang good, though we’re looking forward to the next storm just as much as anyone,” officials said on Auburn Ski Club Training Center’s Facebook page Wednesday.