Snowboarding is a winter sport in which a rider descends a snow-covered slope while standing on a board attached to his or her feet and wearing a special boot set onto a mounted binding. Skateboarding, sledding, surfing, and skiing all influenced the development of snowboarding. It was invented in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States and became a Winter Olympic sport in 1998.
Snowboarding dates back to the early 1920s, when boys and men would use clotheslines and horse reins to tie plywood or planks of wood from barrels to their feet in order to steer themselves down hills. Sherman Poppen, an engineer in Muskegon, Michigan, devised a toy for his daughter in 1965 by connecting two skis and attaching a rope to one end so she could have some control as she stood on the board and slid downhill.
Some ski resorts brag about their snow. Others are fixated on the sun. Some even boast about their land size. Within a 100-mile radius of Lake Tahoe, there is the highest concentration of ski resorts in the country. Every year, Tahoe South receives nearly 300 days of sunshine. And when it comes to snow, our storms don’t just dump a few inches. They carry in feet of snow, dropping over 500 inches on our peaks each year. Lake Tahoe ski resorts abound, so if you enjoy snow, sun, and a diverse range of ski areas, Lake Tahoe is the place to be.
Lookin’ to hit the rails and shred the gnar at Tahoe this winter? Here are some awesome parks, pipes and chutes for rippin’ flake at the lake.
Squaw Valley USA
Squaw Valley USA’s three terrain parks provide features for every level. Beginners flock to Belmont park for smaller pipes and hits. The Mainline 400’-plus superpipe and park challenges experts with 17’ walls, a 40’ rainbow double, rails, tables and jumps. New lights in Riviera park allow riders to hit Squaw’s full-size halfpipe, tables, jumps, rails and boxes well into the night; 9am to 9pm weekends, 9am to 7pm midweek.
Northstar California Resort
Northstar California Resort’s parks and pipes are now home to two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White. Be sure to check out his signature 22-foot superpipe designed by Shaun himself. If you are looking to start snowboarding on the right foot, The Burton Snowboard Academy is an amazing program for beginners. Advanced programs are also available. Northstar has been featured in countless snowboard videos and is consistently ranked by Transworld Snowboarding magazine in their top 10!
Heavenly operates four terrain parks from entry to expert level and offers the most creative, urban-based jibs at Lake Tahoe. The parks have received awards for best use of recycled features, including highway barriers, water drums and corrugated pipes. A new slopestyle park called “Ante Up,” made entirely of recycled features, is in full view of the new Tamarack Lodge so jibbers will want to take their tricks to the next level.
Sierra-at-Tahoe is home to 5 terrain parks to suit all ability levels, from aspiring beginners and families to pros throwing down double cork 900’s, and is home to the South Shore’s only superpipe. All parks and pipes are maintained by Snow Park Technologies-trained builders. SPT has designed and built every feature at every X Games snowboard event for 14 years. Transworld Snowboarding ranked Sierra in the top 10 in an whopping six different categories. Ranking Sierra at #2 for value lets you know they are true to their motto of “Keepin’ it real”.
Boreal is home to three amazing terrain parks. Features in the Mini Shred Park will help you master your skills before stepping up to the Core park which is open even at night, or the Shred park, which is home to some of Tahoe’s biggest and best features. Looking to really step up your shred game? Be sure to check out the Bag Jump. Practice your tricks landing on a 50 x 50 cushion of air that is considered the most state-of-the-art training device in the world for snowboarding.
Alpine Meadows’ four terrain parks, the “Shreadows,” are packed with jumps, rails and boxes for beginners to advanced riders. Additional park features, scattered throughout trails and bowls of the resort, blend with the natural banks, rollers, and mountain layout so riders and skiers can find steeps, moguls, chutes, or spines anywhere on the mountain.
Kirkwood is well-known for expert terrain, massive snowfalls, and legendary powder. Its chutes, wide-open bowls, rock drops, and long gullies make the resort a gigantic natural fun park and a must for freeride enthusiasts who want to ride the mountain that hosts the North Face Snowboard Masters each winter. Three Burton Progression terrain parks feature quarter pipes, tabletop jumps, a snake, large spine jump, and a well-maintained halfpipe.
So tear it up, dial a trick, and drop in on a bluebird day at Lake Tahoe. You’ll find more resorts, more snow, and more than 23,000 rideable acres, making Tahoe the #1 snowboard destination in the U.S.