Posted by: Joan Pilar | 12/04/2020

Communication from Matt Jones, Vice President & General Manager Kirkwood Mountain Resort

Kirkwood Community,

With Opening Day tomorrow, I wanted to share the latest operational plans specific for Kirkwood this winter. I would have preferred to communicate more in advance, but in true 2020 fashion after waiting for some time we received California Ski Area Guidance on Tuesday evening. We needed to ensure our plans and the guidance matched up as we prepare for opening. The good news is the vast majority of our plans met or exceed the state guidelines requiring only minor adjustments.

This email is intended to provide you with an overview of the guest experience at Kirkwood this winter. Please know this is not meant to be all encompassing and our goal is to provide the most impactful guest information. You can access more information at

  • As a reminder, face coverings will be required to access the mountain, in all indoor spaces, in any line, on chairlifts, and whenever you are unable to maintain physical distance.
  • Reservations are required for mountain access. Please do not come to the resort without securing a reservation.
  • While we have limited terrain, certain days may show reservations are full. Guests are encouraged to check regularly for cancellations and will be able to book online day-of if cancellations are made.
  • We will monitor no show and cancellations as we get into the season to ensure there is not abuse.
  • For your safety, all transactions will be cashless. This includes at our hotels, restaurants, General Store, Ski and Ride School, and all other points of sale.

Kirkwood Guest Experience 2020-2021

Mountain Operations: 

  • Opening day is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 4 and our closing day is set for Sunday, April 4
  • Week-of-Reservations will opened for pass holders on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. PST
  • Kirkwood will open with more than 187 acres of beginner, intermediate and expert terrain via:
    • Solitude (Chair 5)
      •  Providing access to: Lower Zachary, Mokelumne, Lower Monte Wolfe, Outlaw and Lower Olympic
    • TC Express (Chair 7)
      • Providing access to: Free ‘N’ Easy, Hole ‘N’ Wall, Home Run, Janes Jaunt, Up ‘N’ Over, and Squirrel Ridge
    • Bunny (Chair 9)
      • Providing access to: Funny Bunny, Graduation and School Run
    • Wonder Carpet
      • For ski and ride school guests only
  • Chairlifts will open at 9 a.m. and guests will be able to enjoy the mountain until 4 p.m.
  • We will follow our historical practice to open as many lifts and as much terrain as soon as possible to allow for the amazing mountain experience our guests have come to expect – we are looking forward to skiing all 2300 acres!

Parking and Transportation 

Community members will notice many changes to our operation that are all done to create as safe an experience as possible for both our community and employees alike.  Below is a brief overview of what steps we’ve implemented per federal, state and local guidance, to maintain a safe experience while still providing a high level of service to our valued community members:

  • Face mask must be worn properly at all times, and are required to board, and while riding courtesy shuttle & jitney trailer.
  • Passenger must, to the maximum extent feasible, maintain social distancing from everyone that is not within their household.  Riders are encouraged to seat the vehicle from rear to front.
  • Hand Sanitizer will be made available for passengers.
  • Absolutely no food or drink to be consumed while on board a vehicle.
  • Vehicles will go out of service after every route(one full loop around the valley) for cleaning and sanitization.  This will result in extended pick-up times; planning ahead is highly encouraged.
  • Door-front homeowner pick-up will be provided as able, however extended pick-up times are to be expected, due to reduced occupancy. Planning ahead is advised.
  • Vehicle windows will be left open at all times when safely able, to provide maximum fresh air flow and circulation
  • Additional staff is continuing to be hired and trained in order to assist guests at shuttle stops, and also assist with vehicle cleaning.

Base Area Operations 

  • Access to lockers will be limited this winter, guests are encouraged to utilize their homes, lodging or personal vehicles to put on gear and store non-valuable items

Food and Beverage 

  • Food options in quick-service restaurants will be limited this season, with a handful of ready-to-go options and no ability for custom or special orders
  • We will not operate any full-service bars, on or off the mountain; Packaged beer and wine will be sold
  • Mountain dining options this season will include:
    • Timber Creek
      • 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., 7 days a week
      • Grab-n-go 
    • Monte Wolfes
      • 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., 7 days a week
      • Grab-n-go 
    • General Store
      • 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., 7 days a week beginning on 12/3
      • Grab-n-go
    • Sunrise Grill (terrain dependent)
    • Cornice Pizza, Wall Bar and Outback Grill will be closed to start the season until we are able to hire and train staff and/or the terrain allows us to open.
    • Please note that the Kirkwood Inn & Saloon and K-Bar will not operate this season
  • We will monitor capacity in our facilities to ensure we are in compliance with public health orders.
  • Guests will not be allowed to camp out for the day in any of our facilities (Red Cliffs, Timber Creek, Monte Wolfes, etc.). Priority will be given to dining guests and limited to 45 mins.
  • Dining operations in both Alpine and Amador will follow Red Tier guidance with 25% occupancy or 100 people, whichever is fewer, indoors

Ticket Office 

  • There will be no day-of lift ticket purchases available at any Kirkwood ticket window/office; guests must pre-purchase online or via phone

Ski and Ride Programs 

  • Private ski and ride school lessons only will be available to start and must be reserved in advance
  • JETS reservations are now closed



  • Kirkwood Mountain Sports Retail and both Village and Timber Creek Rentals will be operating with reduced capacity
  • The Kirkwood Demo Center will not be operating. However, demo equipment will be available inside Village Rentals.

I appreciate all the work that are team has done over the last several months to prioritize guest and employee safety and preparing to have a great ski season. Please help us by adhering to the new requirements during this unique season so we have the best chance to have a safe and full season! 

I look forward to seeing you on the hill,




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