Playing board games at Lake Tahoe's Boreal Ridge

It's no surprise that snowboarding is hot. Look at the recent Winter Olympics - who were the biggest stars of the games besides the medal winning speed skaters and Lake Tahoe's slalom queen Julie Mancuso? It was the snowboarders who won many of the U.S. medals.

Fortunately, the Reno-Tahoe area has plenty of places to shred the slopes. Just about every ski resort allows snowboarding including local favorite Mount Rose Ski Resort.

Additionally, Boreal Mountain Resort (formerly just called Boreal), is home to the region's only all-mountain terrain park, meaning it offers not only downhill skiing but also lots of snowboarding turf and a sledding area.

In fact, for many years Boreal has been one of the top snowboard spots at Tahoe. Boarders can enjoy the resort's superpipe (with 18.5-foot walls) as well as something called "Jibassic Park," a snowboard park with more than 100 features including rails, jumps and funboxes.

The focus on all things boarder means the resort has something for every skill level. For instance, Jibassic Park ( offers small ride ons, medium and large-scale features, a superpipe cutter and more. The park is also very popular with freeriders, which are boarders who kind of surf around the mountains without trying to race or perform technical tricks.

Boreal's ski and snowboard instructors, available on weekends and holidays, specialize in training first-time and novice skiers and boarders and boast of having taught more than 300,000 beginners over the years.

During a recent visit, it was clear this wasn't the run-of-the-mill ski resort. The slopes had a variety of jumps, mounds and rails for boarders as well as nice stretches of challenging open terrain for the downhill skiers. We saw boarders catching some good air on a few of the jumps.

The thing that was most obvious was just how many boarders enjoy Boreal. More than half of those in the lift lines packed a board rather than a pair of skis.

Additionally, Boreal has roped off a section of the mountain for sledding. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Playland Sledding Area is open to children who are at least 42 inches tall. Cost is $15 and snow saucers are provided.

Both skiers and boarders will find that Boreal has 9 lifts and 41 open runs. The resort's base elevation is 7,200 feet and summit elevation is 7,700 feet.

Lift ticket prices are $38 for adults, $10 for children (5-12) and free for those under 4 years old. Boreal also has special night rates (it's one of the few resorts with outdoor lights for night skiing) of $22 for adults, $10 for children (5-12), and free for those younger than 4.

Interestingly, Boreal's latest attraction actually has little to do with snow. Earlier this year, the resort rolled out an indoor skateboarding bowl, which is open throughout the year.

Inside, skaters can wear out their wheels practicing "fakies," "Ollies," "Nollies," "McTwists" and "Kickflips."

Sessions begin at $5 for an hour or season passes are available for $50. The bowl is open Wednesday through Sunday, 12 noon to 8 p.m.

For information about Boreal, go to or call (530) 429-3666.

• Richard Moreno is the author of "Backyard Travels in Northern Nevada" and "The Roadside History of Nevada" which are available at local bookstores.


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