Spot Check – Alpine Meadows, California

Woohoo, Alpine Meadows! Shout it from the highest peaks-or at least the highest ones behind neighboring Squaw Valley. Alpine has a well-deserved reputation as an epic freeriding mountain thanks to the steep bowls and open boundaries. But it doesn’t stop there; it’s both uncrowded (comparatively) and cheaper (substantially).

Last winter, the resort hired on Eric Rosenwald-formerly the award-winning park designer at June Mountain-to design the parks, and, according to locals, the park and pipe just keep improving. Next time you’re in the greater Tahoe area, go check it for yourself-it’ll be more fun that way.-Annie Fast

Park And Pipe: The park at Alpine sits low on the mountain so you can’t miss it when you pull in-just listen for the beats from the sound system. The chair heads over the park, and you can see where the park separates the boys from the men, splitting to the right into a 55-foot and 75-foot double-line or keeping it safe and forking left into the mellower rollers and rails. Also check out the constantly changing rewind setup at the bottom of the park, which has a variety of jibs, rails, and a quarterpipe. Park Designer Eric Rosenwald says to look for even bigger things to come in ’05/06.

Freeriding: Ride the Summit Six Chair to high traverse, which takes you to insane freeriding. Alpine has open boundaries-basically, if you can get to it, it’s fair game. Not only is there a lot of terrain, but there’re also a lot fewer people competing for it compared to neighboring Squaw. If the backcountry looks familiar, maybe it’s because this is where Mack Dawg filmed the natural kickers in Simple Pleasures.

Deals: Snowbomb.com is the only place to buy discounted e-tickets for savings off (non-holiday) daily adult lift tickets.

Do This: Sign up for the Terrain Guides Program. Guides will lead you and your friends safely to the backcountry chutes, cliff bands, and other gnar spots.

Shreducation: Alpine Meadows offers avalanche awareness clinics each season. Check online for the schedule.

Aprà¤s: Locals go to the fireplace lounge in the River Ranch Lodge at the bottom of the access road. 1-800-535-9900

Food: The best scene for a quick bite or drink on-hill is the IceBar on the backside (Sherwood side) of the mountain. Also, check out the vittles in the newly renovated base lodge.

Lodging: The resort partners with lodges, inns, hotels, and motels around Lake Tahoe. Check the Web site for deals for as low as 69 dollars for lift/lodging, or call the resort at 1-800-949-3296.

Getting Around: Alpine Meadows offers a free daily shuttle pickup from multiple locations in Squaw and all over the north, west, and south shores of Lake Tahoe. Check the shuttle schedule on skialpine.com.

“Alpine doesn’t have chairs to the top of every run, so with a little hike, you can find great snow-and Alpine has open boundaries to endless terrain in all directions.”-Tom Burt

Stats:
Average annual snowfall: 460 inches
Summit elevation: 8,637 feet
Vertical drop: 1,802 feet
Number of lifts: 14
Shreddable acres: 2,400
Superpipe: 1
Parks: 2
Snowskates: Yes, with a leash
Lights: No
Adult ticket price: $39
Info: 1-800-441-4423, skialpine.com