May 10, 2006
KIRKWOOD, CA - (News Release) - Kirkwood Mountain Resort set two records this season, breaking its all-time skier visits at over 400,000 and having North America's deepest snow with 850 inches.
Long renowned among serious enthusiasts for deep snow, light powder and uncrowded conditions, the resort expanded its popularity and attracted more than 400,000 visitors for the first time in its 34-year history. Kirkwood joins only 50 other resorts in the country and six in California that reached that figure.
"In the ski business, 400,000 is a major milestone," said Tim Cohee, resort president and a 32-year industry veteran who has spent the past 13 years at Kirkwood's helm. "We've been working for a decade to reach this point. Our ownership group, management team and staff are proud to bring the resort to new heights and offer our visitors the type of product they can only receive here."
Cohee credited the resort's evolving appeal to the surge in popularity. "Visitors from the Bay Area and destination skiers have known about the quality and amount of snow here for years. Combine that with easily accessible terrain and no trail mountain crowding even on peak days, and it sets Kirkwood apart.
The increase in winter guests backs Kirkwood's claim for the quality, on-mountain experience as skiers and riders traveled the few extra miles from South Lake Tahoe. The addition of the new Timber Creek Express also resonated with enthusiasts.
"When you see a resort's parking lots completely full, you pretty much expect long lines on the mountain," said Tod Francis, a long time Kirkwood homeowner who spends virtually every weekend and holiday at the resort. "I've been skiing the Tahoe region for more than 20 years and have lots of friends who ski other resorts around the lake on peak days. When I tell them I didn't stand in line on a bluebird Saturday after several feet of fresh snow, they can't believe it. Then they visit Kirkwood and see it first-hand."
Among California resorts, Mammoth and Heavenly lead the way in annual skier visits - Squaw Valley, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Snow Summit, and Mountain High all have over 500,000 annual visits. Kirkwood is the first of the next tier of resorts to break the 400,000 barrier.
In the Western Region, less than 30 resorts report over 400,000 visits, led by Colorado with 10, then California with seven and Utah with six. Vermont leads the way in the East with six of the 10 resorts.
Kirkwood's growing popularity should continue as the resort has major plans for the next several years. The Master Plan is in final stages with U.S. Forest Service approval expected within six months, possibly allowing summer 2007 activity.
Various additions are underway: Thunder Mountain Lodge and Sentinels West at Timber Creek, The Villas Townhomes, as well as The Palisades ski in/ski out home sites Phase IV release. The resort's first Private Residence Club, Expedition Lodge, will feature 22 spacious, luxury residences in the heart of the Kirkwood Mountain Village, with reservations available in May.
"We have reached a critical juncture in our 34 year history," said Cohee. "It's a great time to be part of the Kirkwood story."