Kirkwood Ski Resort is a popular ski destination located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, near the town of Kirkwood. The resort is located approximately 1 hour from the city of South Lake Tahoe and about 3 hours from Sacramento, making it easily accessible for any Lake Tahoe visitors or those wanting to drive from Sacramento, CA or Reno, NV.
Kirkwood is known for its high annual snowfall, averaging over 500 inches per season, and the snow at the resort is typically dry and powdery, making for great skiing and snowboarding conditions. The ski season at Kirkwood typically runs from mid-November to mid-April, and the resort offers over 2,300 acres of skiable terrain for all levels of skiers and snowboarders to enjoy.
We recently ranked all of California's ski resorts, so you can see where Kirkwood stacks up against all its nearby ski hills!
Kirkwood is a part of the Epic Ski Pass network. This allows you to buy one season pass, and ski at most of the Vail owned and operated slopes with it throughout the year. There are a handful of types of Epic lift ticket passes available, ranging from 3-7 days, to season-long.
There are numerous options to stay at Kirkwood around the resort. Check out the available options with the form below.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort Terrain Overview
Kirkwood has a total of 86 ski trails, which are serviced by 15 ski lifts, gondolas and/or trams. The amount of skiable area in this park is huge, with a maximum of 2,300 acres available to skiers. This area is equivalent to 931 hectares, 3.6 square miles, or 9.3 square kilometers.
Kirkwood's slopes see on average 374 inches (9.5 meters) of snowfall a year. That is almost 31 feet every year!
Kirkwood Ski Resort Elevation
Kirkwood Ski Resort has a summit elevation of 9,800 feet, or 2,987 meters. However, not all of that elevation is able to be skied. The base of the ski slope sits at 7,800 feet above sea level, creating a ski hill that is 2,000 feet (610 meters) high. This is referred to as the slope's vertical drop - or a measure of how high the skiable hill is.
The summit of 9,800 feet makes this ski resort one of the highest in the country. The average ski slope summit is around 4,000 feet, so this is extremely high compared to its peers.
Kirkwood Ski Resort Difficulty Level
68.1out of 100
DID YOU KNOW?
At Parks & Trips, we've created a proprietary Difficulty Score that attempts to show how difficult a particular ski slope is. We get to this number by combining a number of metrics for each resort and comparing them to its peers. Most of the score is based off the amount of easy-intermediate-expert slopes by acreage and the maximum vertical drop of the overall resort, but also includes a few lesser-used metrics as well.
Our algorithm compares each resort’s metrics with all others in North America, then assigns each a Difficulty Score, which we use to rank them accordingly. Resorts with a lower score are easier to ski than those with a higher one. However, a high score does not mean that the resort does not have any easy slopes, or vice versa. This is just an overall score given to the resort based on all its metrics grouped together.
Skiable Terrain by Difficulty Level
Kirkwood has 2,300 total skiable acres, which can be broken down into the three main groups of difficulty: Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert.Kirkwood's difficulty level is higher than average, which is because 30% of its ski trails are rated as intermediate, and another 58% as expert.
Beginner trails (identified by a green circle) are the easiest trails on the hill with a gradual 25% or less gradient, and are usually wide to accommodate beginner skiers.
Intermediate trails (identified by a blue square) are usually the most popular and crowded runs, which have a slope of anywhere between 25-40%.
Expert trails (identified by a black diamond... or two) are the hardest slopes on the mountain, and have very steep gradients over 40%.
Is Kirkwood Ski Resort good for beginners?
Kirkwood is above average in its difficulty level, so... probably not? It will depend on which trails you take since only 42% of its trails rated for either beginner or intermediate skill levels.
Kirkwood Ski Resort Location
Kirkwood Ski Resort is located in the state of California, USA. This ski area is nearest the town of Kirkwood, CA.
Kirkwood, CA 95646 USA
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Getting to Kirkwood Mountain Resort
By Car: If you are driving, you would set your GPS to either the ski resort's name (Kirkwood Ski Resort), its coordinates of 38.68400, -120.06800 (latitude, longitude), or simply drive towards the town of Kirkwood, CA to get close.
By Air: If you are coming in from across the country, then you may need to board an airplane to get here.
A large airport has scheduled major airline service with millions of passengers per year. This type of airport always accepts international flights. Here are the closest large airport(s) to Kirkwood Ski Resort.
|Reno–Tahoe International Airport||RNO||Reno, NV||59 mi|
|Sacramento International Airport||SMF||Sacramento, CA||82 mi|
|Oakland International Airport||OAK||Oakland, CA||134 mi|
A medium-sized airport has scheduled regional airline service. This type of airport may or may not accept international flights. Here are the closest medium-sized airport(s) to Kirkwood.
|Sacramento Mather Airport||MHR||Sacramento, CA||67 mi|
|Fresno Yosemite International Airport||FAT||Fresno, CA||133 mi|
|Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport||STS||Santa Rosa, CA||149 mi|
There may also be much smaller regional airports next to Kirkwood Ski Resort, but we didn't list them here due to the fact that no major airlines go through them.
Other Nearby Ski Resorts
Skiers will - especially if coming from far away - try and visit a couple different slopes all in the same trip. Here are the closest other ski slopes within 100 miles of Kirkwood Ski Resort.
|Sierra-at-Tahoe||South Lake Tahoe, CA||8,852 ft||53%||9 mi|
|Heavenly||South Lake Tahoe, CA||10,067 ft||73%||19 mi|
|Homewood||Homewood, CA||7,880 ft||58%||28 mi|
|Granlibakken Tahoe||Tahoe City, CA||6,350 ft||15%||33 mi|
|Palisades Tahoe - Alpine Meadows||Alpine Meadows, CA||8,637 ft||53%||35 mi|
|Dodge Ridge||Pinecrest, CA||8,200 ft||54%||35 mi|
|Palisades Tahoe - Palisades Mountain||Olympic Valley, CA||9,050 ft||62%||36 mi|
|Palisades Tahoe||Olympic Valley, CA||9,050 ft||63%||36 mi|
|Northstar||Truckee, CA||8,610 ft||58%||41 mi|
|Sugar Bowl||Truckee, CA||8,383 ft||53%||42 mi|
|Donner Ski Ranch||Norden, CA||7,781 ft||38%||46 mi|
|Mount Rose||Reno, NV||9,700 ft||60%||46 mi|
|Boreal||Soda Springs, CA||7,700 ft||30%||47 mi|
|Soda Springs||Soda Springs, CA||7,300 ft||31%||47 mi|
|Tahoe Donner||Truckee, CA||7,350 ft||26%||47 mi|
|June Mountain||June Lake, CA||10,090 ft||68%||83 mi|
|Mammoth Mountain||Mammoth Lakes, CA||11,053 ft||70%||91 mi|
Kirkwood Ski Resort Mountain Stats
|Summit Elevation||9,800 ft|
|Base Elevation||7,800 ft|
|Vertical Drop||2,000 ft|
(12% Beginner, 30% Intermediate, 58% Expert)
|Avg. Annual Snowfall||374 inches|