Cross country skiing has increased in popularity over the years, most especially in the Lake Tahoe area. In fact, there are a selection of trails that deal with x-country enthusiasts, offering excellent adventures, ski equipment rentals and even lessons. The main location for the crosscountry skiing is a resort near Kirkwood. In fact, it has been a place of interest to skiers and hikers since the 1960's.
Kirkwood began its attachment to crosscountry skiing in the 1960's and Thimble Peak and Kirkwood Meadow were skied by a team of forest workers. In fact, recommendations from this team set the ground work a new resort there. By 1972, the new resort was completed and it officially opened with four lifts and one lodge. Houses were also built to accommodate staff and for interested outside buyers.
In 1976, the original lodge was increased in size and another larger lodge built in the area. By 1984, over seven hundreds of acres of prime cross country skiing trails, ranging from beginners to expert were primed and ready for tourists. Over the next twenty years, more trails, housing, stores, offices and other amenities were added. Then in 1996 the construction of Kirkwood, the village began, taking some eleven years to complete, and is still being added to. Over those years, further lodges, stores, restaurants, leisure centers, an ice rink and numerous other outdoor activity centers were constructed. However, the prime focus was still the x-country skiing.
Today Kirkwood has over eighty kilometers of finely groomed cross country and snowshoeing trails. In fact, the highest trails go as high as nine thousand feet, and as skiers make their ascent, they can see clear across the Sierras, see alpine country at its best. Backcountry skiing has never looked so beautiful.
The trails are designed for every ability. The terrain allows more serious skiers to enjoy climbing ridges, gliding across cliffs made of lava, and hurdle along creek bases into peaceful meadows. There are three main sets of trails, including the Kirkwood Cross Country and Snowshoe Center (5km of looping trail), Caples Creek, Schneider Trail. The Kirkwood has three smaller trails, the outer one being for cross country skiing. The Caples offers a downward descent, roller coastering into the valley and then following the creek. The Schneider is the highest and leads through bowls, winding past trees and across ridges. However, for those in need of instruction, there is a fine skiing school, and exceptional equipment, new and used in the shop. Either way the real treat is going to the day lodge or warming huts for hot cocoa and a seat beside the stove.