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Tahoe Nugget #202:

Alpine Meadows Ski Resort
March 18, 2011

Often overshadowed by Squaw Valley, its larger and more famous neighbor to the north, Alpine Meadows Ski Resort has been a favorite with locals and visitors since its opening on December 28, 1961. Conceived as a family resort "built by skiers for skiers," Alpine consists of four majestic bowls, each boasting challenging but different terrain features. See map: www.skialpine.com/mountain/maps/

Nugget #202 Alpine Meadows  Sign
Alpine Meadows base area is at elevation 6,835 which provides plenty of snow for top to bottom skiing.

The ski area is stacked with 1,802 feet of vertical, and more than 100 runs spread out over 2,400 acres that offer superlative skiing and snowboarding. I probably put in nearly a thousand days telemark skiing there in the 1980s and 1990s, during the glory days when I had a midweek pass and the time to use it virtually every day.  

The Tahoe ski history book that I'm working on will include short profiles of all our major resorts, illustrated with a handful of photos both old and new. Rachael Woods, the media maven for Alpine Meadows, generously offered me a free ticket to ski the mountain yesterday. It was St. Patrick's Day, but I found way more than a pot of gold there.

Nugget #202 Giant Berm at Alpine  Meadows
Check out the skier walking next to the towering snow berm in the parking lot.

The uncrowded slopes boasted two feet of fresh powder on top of a 20 foot base. The exceptional snowpack this winter has covered normally exposed cliff faces and opened up all of the resort's noted chutes and steep pitched runs. Alpine has been bombarded with more than 600 inches of snow so far this season, including 45 inches in the past three days, and more storms are forecast to drop at least several more feet of snow this weekend and into next week. The resort is noted for its excellent spring skiing on "corn snow" and conditions are ripe for a bountiful harvest of corn this year!

Nugget #202 Bob Winkelman Alpine  Meadows
Bob Winkelman from Philadelphia enjoying the slopes and views at Alpine Meadows on St. Patrick's Day.

One great advantage that Alpine Meadows has over Squaw Valley and many other resorts is open boundaries, where a skier or snowboarder can leave the controlled ski area to explore the backcountry. You're on your own and the resort can't guarantee avalanche safety, but you can blaze powder tracks all day when conditions are right.

Nugget #202 Experts Only Alpine  Our Father
Alpine Meadows offers plenty of advanced terrain for those who dare.

During January when the storm door closed and shut down the pipeline of precipitation, Alpine Meadows had the best groomed runs of any Tahoe resort. Alpine Meadows and Homewood Mountain Resort are owned by JMA Ventures (a San Francisco-based real estate investment firm) and season passes can be purchased that are good at both mountains.

Nuget #202 Alpine Meadows  Backcountry
Backcountry outside of Alpine Meadows boundaries is awesome.

Here are two video clips from the first day of spring in Carnelian Bay.
Link #1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juNeXWN2L-E

Link #2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=al5bcfdpgeY

Click this link to watch professional video clips of the action at Alpine Meadows: www.skialpine.com/connect/multimedia-gallery  

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