Maddie Bowman has a big incentive to do well in the Olympic debut of freeskiing: A reserved parking spot at Sierra-at-Tahoe resort.
Fellow Olympians Hannah Teter and Jamie Anderson already have theirs. Bowman, a two-time reigning X Games champion, wants her own.
"It's like the Hollywood Walk of Stars," resort team manager Steve Hemphill said.
Sierra-at-Tahoe, located off Highway 50 in Twin Bridges, is an out-of-the way place that has a good chance to claim three Olympic medalists at the Sochi Games.
Teter, Anderson and Bowman, who all live in nearby Meyers, are strong contenders in their respective disciplines. But at home they are just another shredder on the hill. Well, except for parking privileges.
Teter, who won an Olympic halfpipe gold medal in 2006 and silver medal in 2010, said riding the pristine Sierra powder kept her motivated to compete. The small resort's casual atmosphere reminds her of why she snowboards in the first place: it's fun.
"Sometimes when you compete you forget that," she said.
Teter, 27, grew up in Vermont with five older snowboarding brothers. But she considers herself a Californian after living at Lake Tahoe for a decade.
On the morning Teter rallied to make her third Olympic team, she sounded as if she were preparing to visit the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin.
As soon as Teter awoke, she stretched, made tea, lit candles and got out crystals. Teter held a concoction of fresh-squeezed carrot-apple-ginger juice while talking at the base of the Mammoth Mountain halfpipe.
"See how red it is," she said, holding up the bottle.
Anderson, 23, rivals Teter as an earthy Californian. She is the fifth of eight children who roamed the Lake Tahoe wilderness as a kid. She followed two older sisters to the slopes after getting her first hand-me-down snowboard at 9.
"She didn't care what she was riding, she just wanted to keep up with her sisters," said father Joey Anderson, who relocated to South Lake Tahoe the moment he graduated from Marin Catholic High in 1973.
At 15, Anderson replaced Shaun White as the youngest Winter X Games medalist in history.
"Everything aligned in the natural universal laws," she said of specializing in snowboard slopestyle. "I don't want to work too hard. I want to just flow with the mountain, kind of like a river going down a waterfall. That's what I try to do with everything in life, don't fight the current."
Anderson, who qualified second Thursday to advance to the finals, is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated's Sochi preview issue holding a snowboard with a Sierra-at-Tahoe decal.
She and Bowman, 20, developed through the resort's youth programs. Maddie's mom, Sue Bowman, was one of the instructors.
Bowman's dad, Bill, worked at the resort that offers free season passes for local kids who get straight A's. The operation is small enough to stay true to its roots, giving the Olympians special attention.
"If they need something at the mountain for training they just need to call the park crew," Sue Bowman said recently while riding a chairlift.
Resort officials say they couldn't find better representatives to project their laid-back Californian lifestyle.
"No matter where they finish in the Olympics, they will wake up and want to ski or snowboard the next day," Hemphill said.
Follow Elliott Almond on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.