Is Sugar Bowl the Best Ski Area in the USA?

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Sugar Bowl is not as well known as other resorts around Lake Tahoe, like Squaw Valley, Northstar, and Heavenly, but that may be to its advantage. Personally, I’ve found throughout this tour that usually I enjoy visiting small resorts more than large ones because the atmosphere tends to be more friendly and homey and fresh tracks are easier to find.

I know that many other people feel the same way that I do. If the majority of skiers and snowboarders agree with me, then Sugar Bowl is a good contender for the title, Best in the West.

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Sugar Bowl Micro Guide

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We sat down with several locals and visitors at Sugar Bowl to find out what made the hill special to them. We found out that the lift lines are short, there’s a lot of snow, and the hill has a lot of history. It is, after all, home to the first chairlift in California.

We also asked the locals about where they liked to ski, snowboard, and eat, as well as what else is fun to do in the area. This is what we learned.

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Sugar Bowl Powder Porn

Sugar Bowl is one of the lesser-known resorts in the North Lake Tahoe area. I’m very happy about that, because it means that whenever I visit, the lines will be  short, and the fresh tracks will be long.

Sugar Bowl is only 1500 acres, but it feels much bigger — especially the area between the Disney Chair and the Mt. Lincoln Express, where there are cliffs, steeps, a gorgeous frozen waterfall, and chutes that rival extreme legends like Squaw Valley’s Pallisades and Jackson Hole’s Corbet’s Couloir.

The locals told us that they liked Sugar Bowl because of it’s homey atmosphere, short lift lines, and friendly staff. I liked it because Brian (of Exploring Elements) and I did basically one awesome powder run all day long on the first day and never crossed a track that wasn’t ours.

Here are some of the photos we took. Thanks to Brian for providing the photos of me (the snowboarder in the blue jacket and green pants). He also published his photos of Sugar Bowl.

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Sh*t People Say About Sugar Bowl

It was a serious powder day when we interviewed skiers and snowboarders at Sugar Bowl. Surprisingly, when we asked them what they liked about the resort, nobody even mentioned the snow (though it was fantastic). Everybody did, however, mention the friendly atmosphere. A lot of people also liked the terrain. I thought the terrain was … Read more