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Select images courtesy of Sugar Bowl Resort

Sugar Bowl
Mountain Guide
Après Ski

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 Reliability

Family Friendly

Snow-Making & Grooming

Ski School

Travel Convenience


Terrain Variety

On Mountain Dining

Extreme / Off-Piste Terrain

Après Ski

Quick Take

Let's Go

  • 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

Insider Tips

  • 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

  • Sugar Bowl makes a great day trip, but can also be added to a longer itinerary. Truckee is a central hub for Sugar Bowl, Squaw/ Alpine and Northstar, all are within ~10-20 minutes driving

  • Try uphilling, it is allowed 6am - 7pm (conditions permitting) or check out neighboring Royal George XC, North America's largest XC resort

Trail Map

For an in-depth breakdown of Sugar Bowl's terrain, head to our Mountain Guide. Top trails and mountain stats included. 

Sugar Bowl

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.

Getting To

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

Closest Towns:

  • Truckee:  ~15 miles, ~25 minutes drive

  • Tahoe City: ~28 miles, ~40 minutes drive

Neighboring Resorts

Closest Neighbors (Epic Pass):

  • Northstar (~24 miles, 35 minutes)

  • Heavenly (~60 miles, 1.5 hours)

Closest Neighbors (Ikon Pass):

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

Private planes may come in and out of Truckee Airport. Service is available through membership-based private aviation companies incluidng Wheels Up, SurfAir and Mountain Lion Aviation.

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

Sugar Bowl
Mountain Guide
Après Ski
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