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Powder Day: From Chair 6, hit the rocky, 40-degree chute called Chamoix to skier’s left. Once through the crux, bite hard right through a keyhole into Oops and Poops, a steep, 10-foot-wide, and often overlooked corridor.
Three Days Later: The last run to get skied out along Kirkwood’s six-mile ridgeline is Palisades, a far traverse skier’s left of Chair 6. It also gets hammered by the sun, so ski cold north-facing areas in midwinter or south-facing corn in spring.
Park and Pipe: The park isn’t the reason you come to Kirkwood, but you’ll still see kids hucking 40-foot tables and greasing rainbow rails and boxes under Chair 5.
Backcountry access: Bring avy gear. Head out the gate near Glove Rock for wide-open, powdery terrain. Hike 10 minutes or hitchhike back to the resort. Stop by the Expedition Kirkwood office in the village for conditions or a guided backcountry tour (from $85 per hour).
Weather: They call it the K-Factor. Storm totals average two to four feet, coming in consistently December through March. Even mild seasons, like 2006 to 2007, yield over 300 inches.
Après: Your best option is Bub’s Pub, which offers California microbrews, bar fare, big screens, and live bands on the weekends. Try the 9.9-percent-alcohol Brown Sugar Scottish Ale and the jerk-spice fries.
Fuel: In the morning, grab coffee and a breakfast burrito at Monte Wolfe’s in the village plaza. For lunch, visit the Off the Wall Bar in the main lodge and indulge in a Wall Sandwich—ahi tuna with Old Bay seasoning and portobello-mushroom relish on ciabatta bread.
Up All Night: If “all night” means until 9 p.m., hit the historic Kirkwood Inn (built in 1864, hardly updated since), a roadside saloon that shuts down early. If you really want to party, stay a night or two in South Lake Tahoe before flying home.
Digs: Find polished hotel rooms and three-bedroom condos at the Lodge at Kirkwood or Snowcrest, both walking distance from the lift (from $230). If lady luck took a bite out of your wallet at the casinos across the state line, try the Sun Meadows condos, where doubles start at $160 per night (kirkwood.com).
Elevation: 9,800 feet
Vertical Drop: 2,000 feet
Snowfall: 473 inches