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Ski USA - California

Sugar Bowl Resort Reviews

Visitor reviews for Sugar Bowl Ski Resort



  • January 15, 2008
    R Thompson from United States

    The two best areas in Tahoe are Kirkwood and Sugar Bowl (in that order). Snowfall is everything in the Sierra due to the tendency to ice up between storm cycles, and these two areas have it. Kirkwood is higher, deeper and bigger, but Sugar Bowl has a great combination of freeway accessibility and a friendly vibe. The patrol is also not afraid to open steeps and there are plenty there. If you stick to the gate-controlled terrain, you can often find nearly untracked pockets on a powder day at 1pm. For the intermediate, there is a good selection of groomers, but you will get bored with those after a day or so. The best terrain is under and to the right of the Lincoln lift and under and to the left of the Disney lift. With powder there is enough in those two zones to keep you happy all season.

  • Sugar Bowl Ratings

    Based on 1 vote. Vote

    Access: 5.0

    (1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Sugar Bowl.

    Public Transport: 4.0

    (1) There are no buses or taxis to Sugar Bowl, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.

    Scenery: 4.0

    (1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.

    Accommodation: 3.0

    (1) No places to stay in/near Sugar Bowl, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.

    Cheap Rooms: 2.0

    (1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.

    Luxury Hotels: 4.0

    (1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Sugar Bowl.

    Ski in/Ski out: 5.0

    (1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.

    Childcare: 4.0

    (1) There are no child care facilities at Sugar Bowl, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.

    Snowsure: 5.0

    (1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Sugar Bowl is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.

    Snowmaking: 4.0

    (1) Sugar Bowl relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.

    Snow Grooming: 5.0

    (1) There are no snow groomers at Sugar Bowl, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Sugar Bowl are groomed daily.

    Shelter: 5.0

    (1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Sugar Bowl is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.

    Nearby options: 4.0

    (1) If snow conditions are poor at Sugar Bowl, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.

    Regional rating: 5.0

    (1) Sugar Bowl usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.

    Lift Staff: 5.0

    (1) The staff at Sugar Bowl are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Sugar Bowl are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.

    Crowds/Queues: 5.0

    (1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.

    Ski Schools: 5.0

    (1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.

    Hire and Repairs: 4.0

    (1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.

    Variety of pistes: 5.0

    (1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Sugar Bowl has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.

    Beginners: 5.0

    (1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.

    Intermediates: 5.0

    (1) No intermediate terrain at Sugar Bowl, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.

    Advanced: 5.0

    (1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.

    Snow Park: 5.0

    (1) Not even a kicker at Sugar Bowl, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.

    Off-piste: 5.0

    (1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.

    Cross-country: 5.0

    (1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Sugar Bowl, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.

    Luge/Toboggan: 1.0

    (1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Sugar Bowl has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.

    Mountain Dining: 3.0

    (1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.

    Eating: 3.0

    (1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.

    Apres-Ski: 3.0

    (1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.

    Other Sports: 2.0

    (1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.

    Entertainment: 5.0

    (1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.

    Winter Walks: 5.0

    (1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.

    Ski Pass Value: 5.0

    (1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.

    Value (National): 5.0

    (1) Overall, Sugar Bowl is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.

    Value (Global): 5.0

    (1) Overall, Sugar Bowl is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.

    Based on 1 vote. Vote

  • January 04, 2008
    chris from United States

    Funny. Sugar Bowl for intermediates and beginners?
    Ever skied Perko's or taken the PR to Megan's, Silver Bullet Face, East Gully, Middle Palisade or West Palisade? Obviously not.
    I'm an expert off-piste skier with 35 years experience in the Sierra (averaging 30+ days a year and approximately 20,000 feet a day)...I go to Sugar bowl to ski the expert terrain not found anywhere locally...I mean, if you want to ski expert terrain with ruts and moguls, go to Squaw.

  • December 15, 2007
    Crent from United States

    I have to disagree with the other poster. Beg / Int, sure but there are some super steeps out at the bowl. Go check out the Palisades and see if that is hairy enough for ya.

  • November 02, 2004
    thibaut colar from United States

    Sugar bowl is another esort close too sierra at tahoe, and just the same it's not too crowded and has very good snow.
    It might not be enough for experts, but for beginners and intermediate it's a nice resort.
    That was the favorite resort of my wife when she learned to ski, because it's relatively uncrowded ans has wide easy green trails.