In the second installment of The United Slopes of America, lauded lady Desiree Melancon continues her exploration of legendary mountain mecca, Lake Tahoe. From the shores of the alpine lake itself, to the resorts that cause tourists to stay so long they turn into locals, the inherent magic of this area is paramount to experiencing all that makes Tahoe such a beloved place. Driving out of Truckee, Desiree points her DIY camper to Kings Beach in Lake Tahoe and susses out stashes in resorts that are a little smaller, a little off the beaten path, escaping the crowds of Tahoe in favor of wider turns, untouched snow, and more runs. She meets up with Felix Mobarg and Mike Villanova at Homewood, a powder-filled paradise with four lifts and zero liftlines. Next up is exploring the groomers of Granlibakken, a resort in Tahoe City located around the corner from Johnny Brady’s childhood home. The lifts are surface only, but the gratification of arcing turns down the 300-feet of vertical is much deeper.
Back up north, in stark contrast to the less-developed resorts, the United Slopes crew boards the gondola at Northstar, a mountain beloved for its SPT-built park system, but that provides a very different user experience for the local or vacationer. Tahoe legend Dave Downing and Alex Andrews are in town for the Burton Qualifiers, a grassroots park event that brings out talented up and comers like Judd Henkes and provides a platform for the rising generation. A few runs with East Coast transplant and park phenom Chas Guldemond, style king Brett Wilkinson, and rippers Jeremy Landy, Matt Shaffer, and Brian Neeri, and it’s time to ride the gondola back to the village and head back to the camper.
And finally, the episode ends with a day at Sugarbowl, a mountain that, when covered in snow looks like something out of a Dr. Suess book. Tucker Andrews, Alex Horgan play tour guide through springtime powder and groomers before making the pilgrimage to Donner Summit, a place rooted in snowboarding’s history. As Desiree follows the lead of two of the Sierra’s current flagbearers, past and present collide in a way that further reinforces the spirit of snowboarding in Tahoe.