Sugarbowl 11/26/10

27 Nov, 2010

Before I moved to California, I had never heard of Sugarbowl but all of a sudden everyone I was talking to near Tahoe were passholders to this resort including my family.  Luckily for me, I got to find out first hand why this mountain offers it all and enjoy a great day on the slopes after Thanksgiving.

Sugarbowl is located in Norden, CA just off of I-80 in Tahoe atop Donner Summit.  It has 1,500 acres of riding, 1,500 vertical feet and averages 500 inches annually.  Tahoe received a couple feet of snow which meant instead of a December 10th opening, Sugarbowl was able to open right before Thanksgiving with a good amount of terrain and lifts in operation.  In fact it didn’t look like they had only been open 3 days by the time I arrived because everything seemed dialed with staff and the operations.

Friday at Sugarbowl was perfect weather with visibility for miles and despite a packed parking lot, barely any crowds on the mountain.  It spread out better than I imagined and especially the upper mountain you had runs to yourself.

I headed up with family for the day, it’s been probably 8 years since I have been on the slopes with my brother.  We had a fun crew with my my brother Brett and his wife, Michelle and her sister, Jennifer and Jack.  Jennifer and I were on snowboards and the rest were skiing.

Jennifer, Brett and myself

When I first arrived at Sugarbowl, I wasn’t sure what to expect but when we ventured out to the upper mountain on the Disney and Lincoln chairs, I definitely found the terrain I loved.  Everything from trees with new snow to steeps with rocks and natural features.  It was a quiet mountain with everything for a freerider.

Some leftover pow in the trees

At lunch we sat down on the deck outside the Village Lodge for some fries, burgers and beers.  The weather was so nice and warm out taking us all by surprise since we layed up for a colder day.  Luckily when the sun started going down in the afternoon, it meant staying warm on the slopes.

Finally mounted up the Capita BSOD for a day on the slopes.   I stickered it up with shayboarder stickers

After lunch we headed back to some black diamond runs.  So far this season I haven’t really ventured to the steeper terrain yet but Sugarbowl was a great warm up with some really wide open runs.  I can only imagine what the mountain is like on a true powder day.

Brett captured this photo of me on top of the run with the views on my goggles

Sugarbowl was probably my favorite run of the day with Silver Belt as runner up.  Sugarbowl had the fun lines, steeps and trees at the bottom plus the snow wasn’t as bumped out as some other spots on the mountain.

Brett with Jack skiing behind him on Sugarbowl

Michelle charging down the run

When I was heading into the lodge at the end of the day, I heard someone call out Shayboarder and ended up meeting Andrew who reads the blog as he was getting in lift line for a lap.  Definitely rad to meet the people who follow the blog in CA!

Definitely a great day on the slopes with family and I can’t wait to go back to Sugarbowl.  It was refreshing to be at a mountain that reminded me of Washington: where the terrain speaks for itself, the atmosphere is mellow and everyone is just enjoying their day.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. Fes
    November 27, 2010

    Ah Sugarbowl.
    It was the place where I first tried snowboarding years ago. And fell and bruised my rib cage. And didn’t do it again till 4 years ago again. 😛

  2. Ozzie
    November 27, 2010

    How was the BSOD in those conditions? In pow and in trees choppy stuff?

  3. November 27, 2010


    You should go back…the palisades are on my list for this winter when more snow is there.

    Ozzie, on the steeper choppy terrain it held up and charging through. I definitely had to adjust to it and how it rides which took probably 5 runs to get used to it. In the pow, floated and was fine.

  4. Brett
    November 27, 2010

    Sugar Bowl was awesome today with more than a foot of new light, fluffy powder. Unfortunately, Sugar Bowl (the run) was closed today, but the lower portions of it and Nancy’s Couloir were amazing. It was snowing hard enough that we had untouched powder on most of our runs on the double blacks.

    Thanks for taking the pics, you got a lot of good ones!

  5. KimChi
    November 27, 2010

    I love Sugar Bowl. Super low key and on the short list for best spot on a Tahoe pow day. Less commercial than Northstar and less snooty than Squaw, just a real laid back place. Doesn’t really attract the tourists or the casual weekend warriors. If you’re at Sugar Bowl, you’re there to ski or ride. Their park set-ups were historically lacking but I haven’t been back since the end of the 08-09 season, so maybe that’s changed.

  6. Andrew
    November 27, 2010

    Great to meet you yesterday Shay. Sugar Bowl is my home mountain, so Im glad you got to see it for yourself. I love the relaxed attitude, terrain, and ungroomed runs after a heavy pow day (unlike some other Tahoe resorts). Hope you make it back up to NorCal more often!

  7. November 28, 2010

    Thanks Brett! Awesome you got a powder day! It was powder day here in Mammoth so enjoyed some goods too.

    Kimchi, definitely agree with you there!

    Andrew, great to meet you! I definitely plan to come back and ride this season so hopefully get to make some turns with you next time!