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Sugar Bowl Resort

Snow Sports Area
A welcome from World Cup Champion Daron Rahlves. – JB Shoemaker

Enviably perched atop Tahoe’s Donner Summit, Sugar Bowl is the closest major resort to Sacramento and the Bay Area, meaning less time in the car and more time on the mountain. Sugar Bowl celebrated 70 years in 2009/10, having served up some of the region’s best skiing and riding since 1939. Opening for business in 1939 with a light layer of snow and the first chairlift in California, Sugar Bowl’s founders were true pioneers of Tahoe skiing.

Founder Hannes Schroll, an Austrian born immigrant, saw Sugar Bowl for the first time in the summer of 1937. Standing at the base of Mt Lincoln he envisioned a European-style ski resort filled with family and friends, great food and drink, and of course exceptional skiing. In early 1938 a tentative deal was in the works to purchase the 700 acre site when Germany invaded Austria tying up any funds Schroll had. He quickly scrambled to find investors including sending a cable to Walt Disney requesting a $2500 full partnership investment. Disney was out of town that day according to his secretary but he later sent the check and in turn got the peak where California's first chairlift was to be built, named in his honor. Schroll and his team worked tirelessly through the summer of 1939 and finished the Mt Disney Chairlift, the Lodge and a handful of homes. Sugar Bowl opened on December 15th, 1939 with just enough snow to ski the top of Mt Disney. Day skiers accessed the resort via horse or tractor drawn sleigh from the Southern Pacific Railroad snow shed north of the Village. Tickets to ride the two person Disney lift were 25 cents to simply ride the chair or $2 for the day if you were skiing.

Sugar Bowl expanded it's terrain in 1994 to include terrain below Mt Judah, named for the railroad pioneer Theodore Judah. Judah served as the Central Pacific Railroad's chief engineer and assisted in the surveying of the railroad route over Donner Summit which included blasting 15 different tunnels through the mountains. In 1996 Sugar Bowl obtained permits from and started a partnership with the United States Forest Service to build the Jerome Hill quad chair. Over the next 4 years the Mt Judah Express, Sugar Bowl's first terrain park the "Switching Yard" , the White Pine Quad, and the 22,000 square foot day lodge along with 1200 new parking spaces were constructed.

Schroll’s vision to seek the ideal ski terrain is now a reality, with 13 lifts servicing four distinct peaks, 95 trails across 1,500 acres, three progressive terrain parks, an historical snowbound lodge, a newly expanded day lodge, 2 equipment rental facilities, 2 ski and snowboard shops, and a dedicated children's learning center. With an annual average annual snowfall of 500 inches, Sugar Bowl boasts the most snow in North Lake Tahoe.

Rich history, storied past and award winning guest service- you owe it to yourself to check this place out…it’s a slice of authentic skiing history, with all the modern amenities.. A true mountain adventure.

Best Access and Parking Area

Sugar Bowl can be accessed by two portals. For an authentic Alpine experience guests can ride the Gondola to the snow bound village. The Village boasts the historical Lodge at Sugar Bowl, the Dining Room and the Belt Room Bar as well as the base of the first chairlift in California, Mt. Disney Express.

The Judah Lodge, built in 1998, offers slopeside parking, quick access to the Mountain Sports Learning Center and children's "Den", retail, equipment rental and equipment tuning. The lodge sits at the base of the Jerome Hill Express lift and the Mt Judah Express lift which services the new Summit Chair and endless backcountry terrain.

Snow Sports Area By the Numbers

The Mountain: 4 Peaks 95 Trails 1500 Skiable Acres 1500 Vertical Feet 500 Inches Average Annual Snowfall

13 Lifts: 5 High-Speed Express Quads 3 Fixed Grip Quads 3 Fixed Grip Doubles 1 Gondola 1 Surface Lift

Trail Ratings:17% beg., 45% int., 38% adv.

Terrain Parks:

Terrain Park Features may be encountered on all Judah runs 3 Progression Terrain/Learners Area(Judah)

Grooming: 500 acres (33%) Snowmaking: 375 acres (25%) Base Elevation: 6883' Summit Elevation: 8383' Uphill Capacity: 21,740 Vertical Transport: 12,921,080 VTF/ hour

Longest Run: Crowley's off of Mt. Lincoln is over 3 miles long Family Park: Nob Hill Steepest Run: The Palisades Longest Groomer: Crowley's to Ridge Run (Mt. Lincoln) over 3 miles long Best Kept Secret: Strawberry Fields

Trail System

Sugar Bowl boasts 13 lifts servicing 95 trails. Every guest will find their perfect run from perfectly groomed beginner terrain to untracked powder through the trees. Sugar Bowl is also an open boundary resort offering access to some of the best backcountry terrain in the state. For guided adventures in the backcountry visit the Back Country Adventure Center; offering avalanche safety education and adventure clinics.


Approximate Operating Season

November through April

Nearby Places