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“A good experience but at an increasing cost.”
Review of Sugar Bowl Resort

Sugar Bowl Resort
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Norden
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: For passionate skiing families and adventure enthusiasts alike, Sugar Bowl-Royal Gorge offers an extraordinary mountain resort experience with four great peaks, endless cross country trails, a world-class ski team and academy, and a magical snowbound village.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Lockers / storage, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase
Sunnyvale, CA
Level Contributor
376 reviews
104 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,527 helpful votes
“A good experience but at an increasing cost.”
Reviewed 10 February 2009

Sugar Bowl is a small ski resort with rather high prices, particularly with the surcharges on holidays. They have raised their ticket prices considerably in the past four years, to where they can approach the cost of Northstar, a much larger resort with far more runs. It used to be that you could get a $39 ticket through Safeway. Now on holidays, the price is $72, or $66 on nonholidays.

There are only three decent length high speed quad ski lifts -Mt. Judah, Mt Lincoln and Mt. Disney.
Mt. Judah is shorter than the main ski lifts at Northstar, but is a good low intermediate lift, with wide shallow runs, and about two thirds of a mile in length.

Mt. Lincoln is the longest lift at Sugar Bowl - a little less than a mile in length. The top area around Rahlves run is a high intermediate run, with a narrow bottleneck curve area that rapidly gets chewed up by mid-day. A problem with this main run is that the second half of the run is basicly flat terrain -an intermediate run at the top of the mountain, that ends up as a beginner run at mid mountain.

Mt. Disney has some steep black diamond runs, but they no longer groom such runs as they have in the past. It too is basicly an intermediate run at the top of the mountain, and a green flat run at the second half of the mountain.

Sugar Bowl has done some economizing. No more parking shuttles on weekdays for Mt. Judah entrance customers. They have cut down on the grooming of the steeper blue and black diamond runs, grooming them perhaps once every other day in the case of the blue runs, and not grooming the black diamond runs at all. The mid mountain lodge restuarant is closed on weekdays.

Food is very expensive -$7.50 for an ordinary hamburger, $4.50 for french fries, $8.40 for a chili dog. They have a captive audience , and exploit it to the utmost, with jacked-up pricing, for ordinary food.

The ski experience is still better than average. I stuck to the Mt. Lincoln lift most of the day, and never had to wait more than 5-10 minutes even at the height of the crowds on a weekend. The runs were in decent groomed shape until the early afternoon, even on a relatively warm winter day. Most of the runs were wide enough so as to be able to avoid the kamakaze skiiers.

2 Thank robert c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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53 reviews from our community

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English first
Sacramento, CA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Slightly Below Average”
Reviewed 7 January 2009

Sugar Bowl is the smaller of the resorts. It has some nice runs and nice powder but on windy days...watch out, the wind can turn the place into a giant ice cube. The staff can't seem to get straight all the various programs, ie, season passes, specials, core reward program, etc. Ask one employee about it and another employee will give you a different answer. However, if you only have a few hours and short on cash, this a great little mountain. Otherwise, spend a little more time and money and go to Squaw, Northstar, Alpine or Homewood.

Thank No_Reservations_73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Walnut Creek, California
Level Contributor
40 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
“Just OK for me, Dog”
Reviewed 27 February 2008

I've been to Sugar Bowl a few times, but recently I went and was able to ski the entire mountain. Previously, I had gone in early December, when there wasn't much snow, and only a few lifts were running.

What I really don't like about Sugar Bowl is the amount of flat terrain. Especially by Mount Disney, there is a very long, flat run down to the lift. Even after you make it, many of the runs lead to this long flat run. So you get in a nice run, then you have to skate or pole your way back to the lift. And if you are a snowboarder, forget it. I ski, but I saw too many snowboarders barely moving down this run. Some resorted to just unstrapping and hoofing it back to the lift. No fun. And this is not an isolated case. Many of Sugar Bowl's runs are like this. Some have good steeps, but then sections of almost dead flat. It really stuck out to me and my girlfriend, and annoyed us. It was not too bad since we came on a Thursday, but I would be hating it if I had to put up with this and wait in the famously long lines on weekends or holidays.

The runs themselves are nice. They definitely don't call an easy bunny slope a square. Their blue runs are pretty steep, and blacks are even steeper, but many are wide open and nice. There's not too many place to tree-ski, but I didn't venture to the backcountry of Sugar Bowl. I'm not a double-black expert, so I didn't visit "the Palisades", but there were a lot of rocky chutes that could be fun for experts.

One last complaint...Sugar Bowl can be wind blown. It's very open and exposed on the Western flank of the Sierra Nevada. I don't mind snow or cold, but windy blowing snow is no fun.

In Summary, I'd say:

-Closest "major" resort to Bay Area/Sac.
- Large resort with many express lifts
-Lodging on property
-Some good runs

-Way too many flats
-Lots of hidden obstacles (rocks!) even in this heavy snow year
-Super crowded on weekends/holidays
-Getting to be expensive (ticket is $60 as of this writing)

There are many better options in Tahoe for skiing, if you are willing to drive a bit further

Thank cthenn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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