Snowboarding Star Wars-Style

By: Denise Wong Email
By: Denise Wong Email

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA - What if Yoda could teach your kid to become a Jedi snowboarder? That's the goal of the Star Wars-themed snowboarding school that officially opened at Sierra-at-Tahoe. And folks there say there's nothing else like it in the universe.

"The learning is the way of the Jedi and the idea is they become a young Jedi master at the end," says John Rice, general manager at Sierra-at-Tahoe.

That's no small task for these tiny snowboarders.
But the force is with them.

Welcome to Yoda's Riglet Park at Sierra-at-Tahoe.

"We're teaching snowboarding to 3 to 6 year olds through the way of the Jedi. So they start as a youngling in the Padawan Center. Yoda shows them how to become like Anakin and they go through the various pods," says Rice.

Typically, snowboarding lessons are more like classes. Not here.

"When my son did a traditional snowboarding lesson, they practiced things like staying on your edge," says Darryl Lee, a father who took his 4-year-old son Luke for a lesson. "Here, they sort of point them down the mountain. A very gentle mountain, and let them go."

And like another famous apprentice like Skywalker, this young Luke doesn't even realize he's learning.

"As far as he knows, he's just playing. And it's not school," says Lee.

But for 6-year-old Kailey Bogart, a snowboarding "veteran" who's been doing this for two years, this park is a chance to try new things at her own pace among wood sculptures of some of her favorite Star Wars characters.

"There's Star Wars things all over the place," she says.

The park was supposed to open last month, but the resort wanted to wait for more snow. That came this week.

"Mother Nature delayed it just a bit, but she came out in all her glory a couple of days ago for today," says Rice.

A day these kids got their start learning to ride the way of the Jedi.

John Rice says this really is a one-of-a-kind learning experience for kids. Sierra-at-Tahoe partnered with the Star Wars folks from LucasFilms and Burton Snowboards to make this happen.


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