Alpine Meadows Turns a Groomer into a Rolling Stage - Ski Mag

Alpine Meadows Turns a Groomer into a Rolling Stage

Just in time for 2010, California's Alpine Meadows Ski Area is getting hammered with snow and is debuting a high-tech snow cat turned mobile entertainment system with a 210-square-foot stage. The machine will be unveiled at noon on December 31.
Alpine Meadows New Year's Machine

At noon on December 31, California’s Alpine Meadows Ski Area is unveiling what they’re calling a “one-of-a-kind engineering masterpiece” and a “fusion of science fiction straight from the imagination of Optimus Prime.” What exactly is it? It’s a snow grooming machine turned mobile entertainment system that will help ring in 2010.

The Alpine Meadows vehicle maintenance team modified an eight-ton Bombardier snow grooming machine into a 20-foot wide, 13-foot long rolling stage. A local reggae band called Truckee Tribe will be playing on the stage during a daytime New Year’s Eve party at the ski resort.

To convert the groomer into a musical platform, crews removed the standard articulated lift frame and replaced it with an eight-foot by 10-foot central aluminum channel platform that serves as the center stage. Then they added a steel sub frame and installed piano hinges and stage panels to create 210 square feet of stage space. They removed the grooming tiller and repurposed the tiller hydraulics to operate the stage fold-out, which is operator-controlled from the grooming machine cab. They added 200-watt Bose amplifiers and four 100-watt speakers mounted on the cab’s roof.

“This is a dual-purpose conversion unlike anything,” says Kent Hoopingarner, general manager of Alpine Meadows Ski Resort. “The idea behind this project is to be able to offer live bands, deejays, and performances in different locations around the mountain, such the base area; the Ice Bar located at the base of Sherwood Bowl; the Mid Mountain Chalet—and anywhere we host events in remote on-mountain locations. The machine itself is a spectacle to behold. When a great band performs on the stage, it is a no-holds barred party on the snow.”

For more info, check out


Alpine Meadows' Estelle Bowl

Anatomy: Alpine Meadows' Estelle Bowl

While technically inbounds, Estelle Bowl feels as close to backcountry as you can get at a ski resort. Ride the Summit Six chair, then take the ridgeline traverse to the north past two other bowls to reach Estelle, which offers sheltered north-facing trees, wide-open powder shots, and 45-degree spines.

Stanford Alpine Chalet

Tahoe Lodging: Stanford Alpine Chalet

The closest lodging to Alpine Meadows Ski Area.

Mt. Hood Meadows, OR

Mt Hood Meadows

You'll find high-speed cruisers over three miles long, and nearly a dozen wide-open bowls dropping into expansive, north-facing Heather Canyon.

How to Ski Alpine Meadows skier

How to Ski Alpine Meadows

In Alpine Meadows' Pacific Crest North Bowls, a little bit of effort leads to unlimited—and untracked—rewards.

Poolside at Squaw Alpine, Calif.

Summer in the Mountains: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Calif.

Every skier in California knows bigger is better, and that rings true during summertime at Squaw Alpine.

Breakfast Burrito

Where to Eat in Tahoe: The Dam Café

Find the best breakfast burrito in Tahoe City here.

Fairy meadows 1

A Week at B.C.'s Fairy Meadows

A week at B.C.’s legendary Fairy Meadows involving a world-class ski mountaineer, a talented mountain guide, a first descent attempt, and… a regular schmuck who sits behind a desk. Me.