Written by Emma Chiao
Hidden among mountains and a 40-minute drive south of South Lake Tahoe lies Kirkwood Mountain Resort. Although much smaller and lesser known than resorts such as Squaw Valley or Heavenly, it has its own charm.
With over 15 lifts and 86 trails, Kirkwood has a diverse range of terrain. 12 percent of its trails are beginner, 30 percent intermediate, 38 percent advanced and 20 percent expert. Kirkwood offers a wide variety of activities for all ages. For beginners, there are basic ski and snowboard school programs. Experienced adults can join Expedition Kirkwood, and experienced children can join the Jets Program.
While Kirkwood may not appeal to many due to its small size, it has a unique, small-town ski resort vibe. At the base of the lifts is a cluster of shops and restaurants that provide anything from burgers and fries to an emergency hygiene kit. Skiers and snowboarders are also able to enjoy late-night bonfires with other vacation-goers.
Kirkwood is recommended for those who wish to get away from longer lines and crowds while still maintaining a high- quality snow experience.