Sugar Bowl includes four peaks near the Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada. The consistently excellent ski conditions and 102 trails for all levels make it popular with competitive skiers and families alike. Outdoor activities don’t stop after the snow melts, but with an average annual snowfall of 500 inches (13 meters), Sugar Bowl is the perfect winter wonderland.
This popular winter destination was named by the charismatic skiing champion Hannes Schroll, who was known to yodel during races and taught Walt Disney how to ski. He even convinced Disney to invest in a ski resort and named a peak after him. The Bavarian-style resort opened in 1939, and its gondola was added in the 1950s.
Start the day with a yoga session or massage at the Summit Spa to prepare your muscles for the slopes. Experienced skiers can tackle the Palisades, the mountain’s steepest run. Daredevils can head to the Backcountry, while beginners will enjoy the much gentler slopes serviced by the White Pine Lift and The Den learning center for children. Once you’ve done a few runs, head to Mt. Judah Lodge where the coffee is always fresh and the fire is always lit. The lodge’s sun deck with barbecue is open during weekends and holidays.
Another dining option is the cafeteria, grill and deck at the Mid-Mountain Lodge near the Mt. Lincoln chairlifts. This a good spot to watch all the action in the arena, especially on a race day. Come back here at the end of the day for drinks in the Palisades Bar.
Sugar Bowl is on the northern side of Lake Tahoe. Book accommodation at The Lodge or one of the Donner Summit lodgings in Norden. Some inns near Interstate 80 also have easy access to the resort.