25 Top Spots: #14 Kirkwood, CA

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A vast clamshell of jagged volcanic rock, Kirkwood's front side has steeps, cliffs, and cirques all within an easy traverse off the Cornice Express quad. Even so, the mountain has an M.C. Escher complexity with glades, undulating ridge lines, and rock bands. On the back side, ride the Wave, a gigantic rolling cornice.

The Vitals

Top Elevation: 9,800 feet
Vertical Drop: 2,000 feet
Snowfall: 466 inches (8,526')
Skiable Acres: 2,300
Phone: 877-547-5966
Web: kirkwood.com

From the Cornice chair, cut below the traverse line, over the top of Olympic to the narrow entrance of Chamoix, a 33-degree hourglass slot with a rock in the middle.

Kirkwood is higher and farther west than most Tahoe resorts, so it snags the stuffing out of storms. They call it the K factor.

The closest thing to disco at Kirkwood is the video dancing machine at Bub's sports bar.