Developing California Ski Town Promises Spaciousness

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Developing California Ski Town Promises Spaciousness

Post by ERIC » Mon Mar 27, 2006 11:08 pm

Developing California Ski Town Promises Spaciousness

by Phoebe Chongchua
Published: March 27, 2006

Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, Kirkwood Mountain Resort is making its mark as a destination ski resort and real estate investment site.

"It is by California standards remote … It's on a major highway that is the only scenic highway open year-round in the trans-Sierra route that never has traffic," says Tim Cohee President of Kirkwood Mountain Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Realty.

The ski town also boasts a relaxing, spacious environment.

"The resort does not have [long] lift lines and has a world class reputation for terrain and snow. The densities are low. There will never ever be any form of crowding of any type," adds Cohee.

If this all sounds too good to be true, Cohee has an explanation, "From a visual perspective Kirkwood is an island." He says Kirkwood is basically self-sufficient, producing its own propane, operating its own sewer and water systems, and there is no privately-owned land available for development for approximately 25 miles surrounding the area.

That's why the town itself is considered one of the prime developing ski resorts in the Tahoe region. Three new real estate projects: Thunder Mountain Lodge condos are the first phase of the new Timber Creek Village, a ski-in and ski-out village; Sentinels West town homes; and The Palisades, homes located between two high-speed quad chairlifts -- the new Timber Creek Express and the Cornice Express -- already have waiting lists for purchasing.

Thunder Mountain Lodge is priced between the low $700,000s to $1.5 million. Sentinels West, which has only released four units of nearly 20, is priced between $1.3-$1.5 million, and The Palisades are priced at $650,000 to $1 million.

Other developing ski resort towns such as Squaw Valley, North Star and Sugar Bowl sell for higher price per square foot than Kirkwood currently does, according to Cohee. With booming real estate needs, Kirkwood is careful to stick to its master plan so that the area doesn't become overcrowded and lose its charm.

"Along with strict build-out guidelines in place, future terrain expansion will also ensure that growth in ski-able acres will exceed the growth in residential population," said Cohee. "This way we protect Kirkwood's soul as well as buyers' investments," says Cohee.

Cohee says while the population will grow by 40 percent, ski lift capacity will grow 60 percent and mountain capacity will grow 100 percent.

"You're already talking about the lowest lift line and density issues in the country. You're taking an already amazingly uncrowded experience, considering you're three hours from seven million people, and you're going to make it even better," says Cohee.

Future plans also include a private residence club similar to Deer Valley in Park City, Utah where you have five-star living and ski valet service.

"Private residence club has become hugely popular because it allows people plenty of ownership use at their home resort, while also being able to exchange to other resorts and, in essence, enjoy five-star living at a fraction of the price," explains Cohee.

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Post by markskor » Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:51 pm

I see no mention of any allowance for "low cost" employee housing in these plans. The problem with Kirkwood (and other high-end resort destinations) is that there is no place to live close by for the peons - same with the Tahoe area - unless lucky, there is no place for an F & B person to live...comfortably.
Without adequate local housing, where are you going to get the people to run the place?
Got to admit it though - the best snow in California is there.
Mountainman who swims with trout

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Post by s_kruse » Wed May 10, 2006 4:34 pm

Kirkwood proposed "expansion" is totally inappropriate, including a peak-top restaurant and further intrusion on surrounding wildlands. Kirkwood is a grand area, high base elevation and well managed. The proposed expansion mirrors other ski areas as discussed in Hal Clifford's (2003 CE) Downhill Slide: Why the Corporate Ski Industry Is Bad for Skiing, Ski Towns, and the Environment $10.37. Unfortunately, the business of alpine ski areas these days is year round real estate, not snow or skiing.

Concern for Kirkwood is being shouldered by several interest groups including the Sierra Nevada Alliance (
Least cost, end use vs. least cost, first use

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Post by SSSdave » Tue May 16, 2006 3:16 pm

I've had KW season passes several years and have skied there quite a lot since the early 80s. Thus have seen the full evolution of changes. Have also kept informed about expansion plans. Those have changed considerably over the years as new owners and management come in with different ideas. I miss the old KW. A nice uncrowded resort for we cheapos with lots of fresh powder even on the weekends. Well the old double Cornice Chair like Summit Chair at Alpine Meadows always had late morning weekend liftlines. A lot of my acquaintences have whined over the increased real estate issues of the last 15 years. But for the most part that is a bunch of minor blabbering. For instance they kicked us out of the south next to lift area of the Cornice parking lot where a lot of us chronics would tailgate for lunch with the smell of barebecuing in the air. The real estate folk didn't like the less civilized among us that wouldn't think twice about taking a leak between their cars. So now that area is the $10 extra premium parking area with the rest of us 100 yards further north. Took a lot of the culture with it. But how big a deal is such nuisances? There are far more important matters for skiers. The real estate bankrolls resort improvements which has been fine. The only really serious complaint I have is that lift ticket prices are too pricy unless one has bought a season pass. I'm afraid the bean counters will continue jacking the ticket prices up according to supply and demand and that will be a shame resulting in just the wealthier going there like at some of the Rockies resorts.

As for the restaurant on top of Caples Crest per S_kruse comment, that is fine with me. Heck its a ski resort and ought to be developed as well as it should for benefit of the skiing public. Note I thought a lot of similar yearly clashing up at Squaw Valley for years was similarly misguided. Mostly the result of homeowners wanting to monkeywrench growth of any kind. In both cases there are vast areas of wilderness nearby if someone chooses to go there. Let already developed areas evolve in reasonable ways. The areas around KW will never be a problem like say those around Lake Tahoe because there is very little private land. Its all USFS public land with much of it Mokelumne Wilderness. ...David

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Post by mikehike » Wed Aug 16, 2006 12:46 am

Bottom Line.........california is getting to overpopulated and crowded....its just reality. I love Kirkwood and I have to tell you, I love the new Highspeed quad chairs and I love the New Ski's....When I ride up on older chairlift there so slow I feel Like I am losing money...

I just ski on week days and sundays and I ski Kirkwood and its not that crowded... I also ski Homewood sometimes and its never crowded..

I like the new plans for some of the chairlifts at kirkwood...they want to run the sunbowl chair to the top of thimble awsome is that..

I grew up skiing in the 60's and I like some of the new devlopements and others have crummy architecture, the new built-out base at kirkwood (to me its new) is downright ugly, looks like stalingrad, bleak, stark just ugly.

I miss the old Squaw Valley with the olympic ice rink, on the other hand I think they did a great job with high camp its good architecture..

more of my sencless ramblings

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