The Cirque

Captain Kirkwood

A New Backcountry Peak in California

To ski where no one else has ever skied before: that’s the dream.

To ski where no one else has skied in 25 years: a pretty close second.

Which brings us to The Cirque, a notoriously challenging slope at the top of California’s Thimble Peak, opening to the public at Kirkwood this season for the first time in 25 years.

It’s a death-defying trek through unprepared snow, beginning at the top of a 10,000-foot peak. You’ll start by meeting up with your guides and tackling a few (slightly) easier runs to show them you’re good enough to take on the main event.

Once you’ve demonstrated the necessary skills (a couple of rail slides, naturally), they’ll set you up with an avalanche beacon and a rescue probe, show you how to use them and accompany you to the top of the mountain for the real prize: 850 vertical feet of exposed terrain just waiting for your ski tracks.

Since there’s no clear path, you’ll be making your way down the mountain backcountry-style, with a guide setting a path and you following in their tracks—the same drill as your last heli-skiing jaunt—just to make sure you don’t get caught up in any mini-avalanches caused by drifting snow.

Or anything of the non-mini variety.


The Cirque
at Kirkwood Mountain Resort
1501 Kirkwood Meadows Dr
Kirkwood, CA, 95646

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