Sugar Bowl: Fresh & Local Skiing

“STEEPED IN TRADITION AND MODERN in amenities” is the motto of Sugar Bowl Resort, which has been California owned and operated since 1939.

This past year alone Sugar Bowl invested more than $20 million into widespread upgrades, including a new chairlift that opens an entire peak to lift-served skiing. The Crow’s Peak chairlift, a triple, provides access to new groomed runs, as well as tree skiing.

The investment also included improvements at Royal Gorge, North America’s largest cross-country resort that is now under Sugar Bowl’s management. It included new fat tire snow-biking trails and the return of first and only resort-based snow-kiting school.

Sugar Bowl also is building a brand new campus for the Sugar Bowl Academy, whose athletes receive training input from Daron Rahlves, the four-time Olympian, X Games Gold Medalist and Word Cup Champion, who serves as Sugar Bowl’s ski ambassador.

Sugar Bowl, atop Donner Summit, offers 103 trails and 1,650 acres of skiable terrain across four peaks, served by 13 lifts. (One is named Mt. Disney, after Walt Disney’s pioneering role at the ski resort). The trail rating is 17 percent beginner, 45 percent intermediate and 38 percent advanced. Sugar Bowl’s best-kept secret: Strawberry Fields, served by the new Crow’s Lift chair.

The ski resort received 500 inches of average annual snowfall, rivaling Kirkwood for the most snow in the Sierra. Its base elevation is 6883 feet, with a summit elevation of 8383 feet.

Sugar Bowl ranks high in amenities. Dining options include the Nob Hill BBQ on the deck for a grilled lunch and the Belt Room Bar for a cold pint, Bloody Mary or signature french onion soup from the bar menu. The mid-mountain Palisades bar offers sweeping views.

The pièce de résistance at Sugar Bowl is the Lodge, which offers guests the only snowbound lodging experience in the country. You park in a covered garage and your luggage is loaded onto a gondola, where you’re whisked away to the Lodge.

The Lodge is decorated with photos dating back to 1939 and the founding of the resort. Some of the rooms have balconies with mountain views.

The dining room is exquisite. Menu items include Grilled Petite Beef Tenderloin, Duck Prosciutto Rigatoni and Pan Seared Pacific Swordfish, and Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb. Breakfast includes Eggs Benedict, French Toast and a Ham and Smoked Gouda Omelette.

(Photo: Leah Alfano,

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