Alpine Meadows talks new mile-long terrain park

Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley resorts are adjacent to one another in Lake Tahoe, California, and merged operations in the fall of 2011. Since then, the resorts have been busily expanding and now boast 6,000 acres, 44 lifts, and over 270 trails all accessible by a single lift ticket.

In addition to the new ridable acreage, Alpine Meadows recently created a mile-long terrain park, one of the longest and largest in the country, filled with features for all ability levels.

We reached out to Jonahs David, Alpine’s terrain park manager, a 14-year veteran in the field, for insight into this new project and what it means for skiers and boarders this season.

Tell us what’s new at Alpine Meadows this season?
We have a brand new mile-long terrain park called The Firing Line, which is the only mile-long terrain park in all of Tahoe, and it’s one of the longest parks in the country. We’re also excited about the expansion of our Start Parks, which offer features for beginners. We have lots of new things–it’s an exciting season!

What was the inspiration behind this massive terrain park?
The inspiration for our mile-long park actually came from Snow Summit Resort back in the ’90s. Snow Summit had a really long terrain park that was one of the best in the business at the time, and it was actually one the first parks designed by Chris “Gunny” Gunnarson of Snow Park Technologies. This season, we wanted to mimic something along those lines–a long lap that runs from top to bottom and is filled with fun, progressive features.

Speaking of features, what kind of obstacles will this new park have?
We currently have everything from the smallest jumps and ride-on boxes to pro-size jumps and rail set-ups.

Out of all the jumps, jibs, rails, and boxes in the mile-long park, which feature do you personally like the best?
I’d say I’m most excited about the base area jib park called The Barracks. It’s one big feature that has three components lined up. So there are plenty of ways to hit it, and it’s really fun!

What has it been like to work with renowned park building company Snow Park Technologies?
It’s been great. SPT (Snow Park Technologies) has helped us out logistically, including helping us to get the staffing and support that we need. It’s a big operation, and they’re a great help for our major builds, especially when it comes to pushing a lot of snow around to build big features.

What is your favorite part of being Alpine Meadow’s terrain park manager and what is the most difficult part of your job?
The creativity. It’s the ability to design and create something from start to finish, and then being able to test out our product the following day. I get to snowboard every day. So that’s great for me. The most difficult part, well, that’s definitely dealing with the weather. It takes a lot of work to keep up with the massive snowfalls that are common in the Tahoe area. You never know what Mother Nature will do–or when.

Squaw and Alpine Meadows recently merged–what’s the best part of joining forces with the neighboring mountain?
It’s definitely been being able to work with our counterparts at Squaw and to share our park offerings between the two resorts. I think we’ve done a great job of complementing each other. There’s plenty of terrain, which provides for great riding and it keeps getting better. We’re really excited about this year. This is already the best park ever at Alpine and it’s going to keep getting better throughout the season, as we continue to add more features. We’re going to keep expanding the park all season, and I hope many riders will come check it out.

Head here see more pictures of Alpine Meadows’ mile-long terrain park.

Photos courtesy of Matt Palmer/Alpine Meadows