SUGAR BOWL RESORT GUIDE
Select images courtesy of Sugar Bowl Resort
Sugar Bowl Resort Overview
For the passionate skier seeking, deep powder, and very few crowds —look no further than Sugar Bowl. One of the closest resorts to the Bay Area, Sugar Bowl sits at the top of Donner Summit and makes for a perfect day trip with friends or family. This no frills resort averages 500 inches of annual snowfall and stands out in Tahoe for those who put skiing above all else.
Shhh — this hidden gem is one of the best kept secrets in Tahoe. Sugar Bowl easily compensates for its smaller acreage with eye-popping views and impressive terrain variety. From double blacks to family friendly greens, Sugar Bowl is the ultimate place to progress from the bunny slopes to the steeps.
Snow-Making & Grooming
On Mountain Dining
Extreme / Off-Piste Terrain
Snow! Sugar Bowl consistently reports the largest base and highest storm totals in North Lake Tahoe
Rarely crowded and lift lines are non-existent
Unique for a smaller resort, the services are mostly modernized with high-speed detachable chairs and updated dining choices
The four peaks offer excellent terrain variety. Great backcountry skiing is also readily accessible
Convenient to reach from Sacramento and the Bay Area; one of the first resorts along I-80
Limited village accommodations and activities
During true drought years, Sugar Bowl's snow-making does not compensate as well as that of peers
Sugar Bowl has a stand-alone season pass and only sells a limited number per season. Season pass sales have already been paused for Winter 2021-22, visit here for updates
Storm-related road closures can make reaching Sugar Bowl unreliable during peak times
Sugar Bowl has a long and impressive history — it was home to the first chair lift in California and Walt Disney was an early investor
Bring powder skis when the forecast calls for snow — it accumulates quickly!
The village is car free in the winter, however, you can still park at the Judah Lodge and Gondola for direct access to the hill
Try uphilling, it is allowed 6am - 7pm (conditions permitting) or check out neighboring Royal George XC, North America's largest XC resort
For an in-depth breakdown of Sugar Bowl's terrain, head to our Mountain Guide. Top trails and mountain stats included.
Getting To & Around
Though located close to I-80, Sugar Bowl sits at the crest of Donner Summit and is subject to heavy snow, whiteout driving conditions, and road closures. If snow is in the forecast, have a reliable plan to return to your home base and ask a resort worker if youre unsure of storm-related travel disruptions.
Closest Major City: San Francisco, CA
Distance: ~175 miles South West, Travel time: ~3.5 hours
Nearby Big Cities:
Reno, NV: ~47 miles, Travel time: ~50 minutes drive
Sacramento, CA: ~90 miles, Travel time, ~1.5 hours drive
Truckee: ~15 miles, ~25 minutes drive
Tahoe City: ~28 miles, ~40 minutes drive
Closest Neighbors (Epic Pass):
Northstar (~24 miles, 35 minutes)
Heavenly (~60 miles, 1.5 hours)
Closest Neighbors (Ikon Pass):
Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows (~25 miles, ~35 minutes)
Other Nearby Resorts:
For Great Lake Views: Homewood or Diamond Peak
For Great Tree Skiing & Terrain Parks: Sierra at Tahoe
For Great Terrain Park & Home of Woodward Tahoe: Boreal
Travel by Plane
Closest commercial airport: RNO (Reno-Tahoe International Airport)
~52 miles North East, ~1 hour
RNO has 100+ daily departures with non-stop service to 22 U.S. cities and Guadalajara, Mexico
Closest major commerical airport: SFO (San Fransicso International Airport)
~188 miles South West, ~3 hours
Other nearby major commercial airport: SMF (Sacramento International Airport)
~115 miles South West, ~1 hour, 50 minutes
Travel By Bus
Public Transporation: Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit (TART) is the best form of public transportation in the North Lake Tahoe Area. TART offers free shuttles between Truckee, South Lake, Tahoe City and Incline Village. See routes here.
Shuttles: The North Lake Tahoe Express offers reasonable shuttle fares to and from Reno-Tahoe airport.
Travel by Car
We prefer to have a car here.
Pros: Most parking is free and a car provides flexiblity to visit other nearby towns or ski areas
Cons: 4 wheel drive / snow tires are required when it snows
Ride shares are not reliable here