The South Shore’s mid-tier resort is Kirkwood (1501 Kirkwood Meadows Dr. off Hwy. 88, 209/258-6000, www.kirkwood.com, lifts daily 9 a.m.–4 p.m.) offers dozens of downhill runs, plus everything from pipes to a cross-country space. Both the easiest runs and the children’s ski school center are located around the Timber Creek Day Lodge.
The Kirkwood Mountain Lodge lifts lead up to more intermediate and advanced runs; the back of the mountain is devoted to double-black-diamond runs.
Kirkwood specializes in terrain parks for skiers and boarders, including a Cross Course, half-pipes, beginner terrain features, and areas with sound systems to complete the atmosphere. For a more sedate adventure, check out the snowshoe and cross-country park; you can rent equipment for both at the lodges.
You’ll find plenty of sustenance in and around Kirkwood. Both lodges include restaurants and bars that serve lunch, dinner, and, in some cases, drinks to starving skiers and boarders. If you prefer to stay where you ski, look into Kirkwood’s array of lodges and vacation rentals, most situated to make it easy to get to the slopes.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition