Want a chance to win a trip to Kirkwood this season and experience the first ever Expedition Kirkwood guided tour of the Cirque? Upload a photo of yourself skiing a steep line or a photo of a steep line you’ve skied, along with a brief explanation as to why you’re qualified to ski Kirkwood’s steepest terrain on Kirkwood’s Facebook page.
Contest entry window ends on January 31, 2013. A panel of judges made up of Expedition Kirkwood AMGA guides and Freeskier staff will select the overall winner. The winner will receive the trip of a lifetime February 27 – March 3, 3013. The prize includes airfare from any major airport in the US, lodging, a 3-day AIARE Level 1 avalanche certification clinic, lift tickets and an Expedition Kirkwood tour of the Cirque, if they prove worthy.
JJ Schiller shot by Amy Jimmerson_MSI
What’s the big deal about the Cirque, you ask? Kirkwood’s most fabled terrain has been off-limits since the ‘80s. Ever since, only patrollers and Freeride World Tour competitors have been allowed to ski the Cirque, a cliff-riddled, avalanche prone, 1,200-vertical-foot zone at the top of Thimble Peak.
“The Cirque is a skier’s dream,” says 2011/12 Freeride World Tour winner and Kirkwood local, Josh Daiek. “It has everything you’d ever want—steeps, chutes, hucks and more. There are a lot of dangerous areas, and people need to know their limits.”
The Expedition Kirkwood program will offer guided tours of the Cirque to the public in 2013-14. “It’s a backcountry experience,” says Jon Copeland, director of Expedition Kirkwood. “You need to ski it with that mentality instead of top to bottom like traditional resort skiing. We’ll be skiing it in sections. It’s really important to understand what’s in and around and below you. There are areas where a fall isn’t an option.”
Left: Ashley Maxfield shot by Amy Jimmerson_MSI
Routes include complex, exposed chutes and couloirs. Tours will be led by AMGA certified guides. Underscoring the seriousness of the terrain, Kirkwood will require an AIARE Level 1 Education.
“People are going to think that because it’s within a resort, rescue is right around the corner,” says Copeland. “That’s a misconception. In a sense rescue is there, but you are your own rescue party. We want everyone to be responsible for themselves and to be able to provide assistance if necessary.”
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the winner. Enter now. Winner will be chosen on February 6, 2013.