Brought to you by Sugar Bowl Resort
Sugar Bowl Resort sits atop Donner Summit, CA, and is notorious for its deep snowpack and scenic vistas. It is also home to some of my favorite powder stashes of all time. The resort consists of four peaks, each with its own unique zones. A powder day at Sugar Bowl means touring the resort from one end to another and finding freshies every step of the way.
I typically park at Mt. Judah on a powder day. From here, I hop on the Jerome chairlift and take a mellow warm-up run through the Sidewinder Trees and over to Mt. Disney. You can ski right back to your car at the end of the day, and there’s room to tailgate with your friends.
This is where the powder day itinerary begins…
Mt. Disney is the place to be at the start of the day. The energy is unreal, and everyone is amped. Some of my favorite days have been spent lapping this chair until it is completely tracked out.
1) Eagle and Donald Duck Trees
If it’s still storming or low visibility, I like venturing into the steep glades that surround Eagle and Donald Duck. Distant hoots and hollers come echoing from deep in the trees. It’s so fun to weave your way through the trees and end up right back at the lift: no traversing or hiking, just high-quality hot laps.
2) Disney Nose
After some fun in the trees, I always migrate over to the Disney Nose. My favorite area is the cliffs between Avalanche and Hour Glass. Sneaky chutes and natural features dot the mountainside. This zone always calls for a few laps while the landings are forgiving and the chutes are untracked.
Crow’s Nest Peak
Once Disney starts to get chopped up, I look to Crow’s Nest Peak as a welcome relief. Crow’s is the land of old-growth trees and the deepest powder stashes. After embracing the high energy of Disney, it’s time to venture deep into the quiet forest that defines this zone. Even if the lift is not running, a quick hike to the peak is worth the effort, opening up significantly more terrain for your descent.
3) Crow’s Face and Strawberry Fields
Soft landings, playful features, and beautiful glades are what draw me here every time. Something about the way the snow piles up here leads to the deepest turns I’ve ever experienced at a resort. This zone is so close to the hustle and bustle of Mt. Disney yet feels like a world away. I ski as many laps as my legs can take and enjoy the tranquil forests before heading back.
Ski Trip Tip: Join Sugar Bowl’s Powder Planner email list and never miss a powder day. They send an email out the afternoon before any decent snowfall so you can wax your skis and be prepared for the upcoming powder day.
By now, it’s time to start making my way back to the other side of the resort. Mt. Lincoln is Sugar Bowl’s tallest chairlift and offers access to some insane terrain. The cliffs and chutes visible from the chair are jaw-dropping. While I love the chairline steeps, I always take a hard skier’s left towards Roller’s Pass on a powder day.
4) Roller’s Pass and Century Club
This area is always a surprise towards the end of the day. Those willing to go on the powder hunt almost always find a little slice of heaven. This zone of trees between Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Judah is one of my favorite places to take friends and score late-day freshies. If conditions permit, I love to hike up to the top of Century Club, one of the best powder runs off the top of Mt. Judah.
After a couple of runs in Roller’s Pass, it’s time to head back to the car. At this point, taking off the boots and slipping into my Croc’s is starting to sound good.
5) Pacific Crest Glades
The perfect extra credit point after hours of fresh pow is the Pacific Crest Glades. A slight traverse to the edge of the boundary line puts you in some mellow trees right above the Judah parking lot. I squeeze out a few more fresh turns and end up at the car with a smile on my face.
Now it’s time to kick back, pull up a lawn chair, and cheers to the perfect powder day.