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  • Article: Lake Tahoe's 20+ Terrain Parks, Halfpipes Ranked Among North America's Best

    Photo courtesy Heavenly Offering more than 530 ski trails, it goes without saying that there's no shortage of terrain in the Lake Tahoe region. Guests can spend every moment of daylight exploring each mountain without leaving tracks on the same trail twice. The same could be said of the region's terrain parks and halfpipes, which have been ranked some of the best...anywhere. Lake Tahoe has embraced the park and pipe scene, offering 23 different terrain parks and eight halfpipes among the seven resorts, and no two are alike.

    Dubbing its terrain park route, The Circuit, Sierra-at-Tahoe concentrates on offering progressive parks that span the entire mountain, so riders can hit a park or halfpipe off of every chair. Various jumps, rails, and funboxes of all ability levels sprinkle designated trails, which follow a long, continuous "flow" from the moment a skier or snowboarder begins a run, to the moment he or she gets back on the chair lift to try it again. Because Sierra-at-Tahoe has six terrain parks, guests can spend all day sharpening their jibbing skills. Both Transworld Snowboarding and Freeskier Magazine recently gave Sierra the new-school nod of approval.

    With names like Andy Finch, Shaun White, Tara Dakides and Mason Aguirre, you think you'd stumbled into the Olympic snowboard team's tent. Think again. You're at Northstar-at-Tahoe, home to the Vans Tahoe Cup. Northstar is a beckoning landmark on the youth action map with high praises to its terrain park and superpipe coming from professional and Olympic athletes, Transworld Snowboarding Magazine, and top local athletes. Known for some of Tahoe's most progressive park and pipe creations, Northstar-at-Tahoe is home to five terrain parks, a halfpipe, and a superpipe. And no, parks and pipes aren't for experts only; Northstar even offers several introductory "Adventure Parks", which feature small terrain features such as mini jumps, snow rollers, log slides, gullies, and whoop-de-doos.

    Top accolades also go to Squaw Valley USA for its extensive upper-mountain terrain parks. Year after year, Transworld Snowboarding rates Squaw's terrain parks as the country's finest. For expert and pro skiers and snowboarders, the jumbo-sized features in Mainline Park complete the picturesque Ford Freestyle Superpipe make it the place to see and be seen. Just learning to ride park and pipe? Try out Belmont Park. Featuring modest jumps, snow rollers, introductory rails and fun boxes, Belmont is great for novices and young children. Can't get enough in one day? Squaw's Central Park at Riviera is open for night sessions until 9 pm (free with price of a lift ticket).

    New for 2006/2007, Alpine Meadows offers park features from the top of the Roundhouse high-speed detachable quad all the way down to the base lodge, making its terrain park runs approximately 1,200 vertical feet in length. Also accessible via Roundhouse is the new superpipe. The pipe will be groomed nightly; and with the new location shedding minimal sunlight on its 18.5' high walls, Alpine's new pipe is poised to be incredibly popular.

    Heavenly Mountain Resort is unique in that its expansive network of terrain parks include features for all ability levels day and night. Its scenic superpipe at the top of its mountain; its Stateline boardercross does just that: part is in California and part is in Nevada, which is totally unique among ski resorts. Home to the renowned South Shore Soldiers Snowboard Camp where campers are encouraged to ride and party with the pros, the High Roller Terrain Park is geared to the advanced riders with a unique blend of large jumps, rails and funboxes. True to its super-sized terrain, the Heavenly superpipe is larger than both Olympic and X Game regulation sized pipes while also packing the most scenic view for any pipe in the world. 22' to 24' foot high pipe walls allow for additional air and more speed to its users. Cheerily eschewing all the rules, this "what-if" sized superpipe is made for an excessive amount of fun for halfpipe enthusiasts. Considering that not everyone is ready for big jumps Heavenly will debut the High Roller Nightlife park this winter. Located on World Cup chairlift on the California side of the mountain, this new park will be packed with intermediate sized jumps, rails, and funboxes, and will be open every Thursday through Saturday from 5pm to 9pm. For those who are just learning to ski or ride terrain park features, the Low Roller park touts smaller jumps and features, and two chairlifts (the Groove and Patsy's) on the California side.

    In addition to a superpipe, Kirkwood Mountain Resort offers terrain park jibbers introductory (Adventure Land), intermediate (Playground), and advanced features (Stomping Grounds). Kirkwood even offers a unique variety of lessons and camps that focus specifically on terrain park and pipe. As the newest clinics offered under the Expedition: Kirkwood program, Park n Pipe Sessions, Free Ride One Day Camps, Private Coaching and the Two Day "Stomping Grounds" Camp offer both skiers and snowboards a fun, in-depth look at the world of terrain park and halfpipe technique.

    Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe offers two terrain parks both located in the Slide Bowl. DoubleDown is pure show time as it runs down the skiers left side of the Blazing Zephyr 6 chairlift. The features in this park are traditionally big. Successive hits make for a continuous progression of steady air w/ multiple take-offs being standard on most features. Badlands is visible from the Blazing Zephyr 6 lift and incorporates traditionally medium level hits and a wider variety of boxes and rails than its neighbor Doubledown. Monthly events from Big Airs to Boardercrosses take place within the parks throughout the season.

    Many of the mountains invite guests to participate in weekly, season-long terrain park contests. The contests are fun, semi competitive, and are a great way to learn new ski and snowboard tricks, tips from other riders, and of course, win great prizes:

    Alpine Meadows Ski Resort: Sundays In The Park
    Kirkwood Mountain Resort: Copeland Sports Super Sunday Events
    Northstar-at-Tahoe: Pinball Rally Event Series

    This winter, look for additional rails, jumps, pro ski and snowboard athletes, and great contests throughout the season at on of Tahoe's 23 terrain parks...and be sure to try them for yourself.

    Archived articles relating to KidzResorts:

    Want more on winter family fun? Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter to get the latest on winter family travel & gear deals, plus tips to make your life easier! Ollie in!

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