The New Sugar Bowl, CA Uphill Policy:

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Sugar Bowl Uphill Season Pass

words and photos by Kris Thomas

With the couple inches reported this morning, I went skinning today at Sugar Bowl with a few friends, and we were asked to stop by the special tickets office and check in. Sugar Bowl is now issuing an uphill access pass on a season pass card stock and an armband to hold said pass.  All free of charge.  All that is required is signing a normal liability waiver that is standard practice when purchasing an pass, and a copy of their uphill usage policy.

hiking sugar bowl snow
Climbing up at Sugar Bowl today. photo: kris thomas

The uphill policy is simple, designating certain runs to skin on, the protocols for skinning during multiple times during the day, how to handle your pets in the resorts boundaries,and what kind of hazards to expect that may not exist in the “true” backcountry.

This seems noteworthy, a for-profit ski resort partnering with the general public to access strong>terrain that may be shallow, hazardous, variable and markedly past the normal expectations of inherently dangerous ski terrain.  

Sugar Bowl turns today.  photo:  kris thomas

Obviously, the benefit to them is that they log the day use of the uphill access skiers and have a chance in court if something went wrong in their boundaries, but the cooperation by designing a system to allow and even encourage this kind of use is laudable.   In my book it makes Sugar Bowl the Tahoe leader in the effort to incorporate “adventure skiers” into the fold of the lift-riding general public.

sugar bowl
Sugar Bowl today. photo: kris thomas
This is a link to their policy, 

Sugar Bowl Uphill Policy

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4 thoughts on “The New Sugar Bowl, CA Uphill Policy:

  1. Sugarbowl is a great access point for tons of true Bc skiing during the regular ski season. Early season many of the resorts’s north facing aspects hold snow sooner than many other places and it’s fantastic that they are allowing use when they aren’t open for business or to access the amazing terrain surrounding the resort.

  2. this a promising discussion but…………..Why is it so attractive to skin uphill inbounds when so much out of bounds skiing is available and a lot more scenic and quite. just asking…………………
    Are people unsure of their travel abilities out of bounds?
    Are they just taking the “this forest service land is for public use “stance.
    Or is it just a way to stick it to the operators and paying customers by showing them they are inadequate because they choose lift service over leg power?
    These are but a few questions I have heard over the years……………so I’m just wondering.
    There is a safety issue here that should be considered and not just the individuals perceived right/opinion.
    As this conversation has always been one sided( on either perspective) I hope this convo will lend itself to open discussion of all the issues/thoughts surrounding this slippery slope.

  3. Arapahoe Basin does that same thing. It’s pretty awesome. It sucks to get stopped and told you can’t hike up the mountain because people are taking the lift up it.

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