Skiing Sugar Bowl Ski Resort with kids

Growing up in Northern California, Sugar Bowl Ski Resort was my hands-down favorite. I loved the front face of Mt. Lincoln, with its exciting dips and gullies, and the historic lodge reminded me I was truly in a Tahoe of a different era. I didn’t get back to Sugar Bowl for a long time, and when I did, I found that much had changed…in all the right ways.

The historic lodge is still there; it’s called the Village Lodge and is still connected via the old-school gondola that brings guests from the village parking area. However, there’s also a newer, more modern Mt. Judah Lodge, with its own base area and parking. While I was nostalgic for the village parking-gondola combination, I had to admit it was far more convenient to park at Mt. Judah. This base area houses the kids’ learning area, too, making it the best place for families in lessons to call home.

Skiing Sugar Bowl Ski Resort with kids is a no-brainer, because this resort really does have it all: it’s far enough off the beaten path that crowds tend to stay away, it gets some of the best snow coverage in Lake Tahoe and kids and teens who are advanced skiers and riders will have plenty of terrain to keep them challenged. Royal Gorge, one of the most extensive cross-country ski parks, is just next door, too.

If you have adventurous kids, check out the gated options at the top of Mt. Lincoln: ours love the steep front face with many options for moguls and tree skiing. Just be sure to take roped off areas seriously: there are several cliff areas on this face. Our second favorite area is off the Disney Express lift, which is almost entirely comprised of black diamond runs (a few blue intermediate runs are present for those who need them). On a powder day, head all the way over to Crow’s Nest Peak for gladed skiing.

Kids who gravitate to terrain parks will want to lap the Mt. Judah side, which also has some of the best blue groomers. One thing that Sugar Bowl lacks a lot of is easy green runs. You’ll find them, but the blue and black runs are by far the more abundant. Head to Nob Hill or Jerome Hill if you want to find a choice of green runs.

We enjoyed lunch at Mt. Judah lodge (I highly recommend the ramen bowls), but there’s additional dining at both the village lodge and the smaller mid-mountain lodge. Lodging can be found on-mountain at the historic hotel lodge, which has true European elegance in a rustic setting, or you can reserve a vacation rental home.

If you go, note that there are two parking areas; we recommend Mt. Judah. The drive is about 45 minutes from Lake Tahoe, near the Donner Summit and overlooking Donner Lake.

Disclosure: We experienced Sugar Bowl as guests of the resort, for the purpose of review. All opinions remain our own.