Mountain steepness for a once-a-year, barely intermediate skier: B
On-mountain food: NA (didn’t eat there)
Lack of Crowds: A
Sugar Bowl, a ski resort northwest of Lake Tahoe, is off of I-80, on the way towards San Francisco. For that reason, it may be very crowded on weekends, but fairly empty mid-week. We went to Sugar Bowl because they had a buy 1, get 1 free special on Wednesdays when we were there many years ago. They no longer offer that special, but do discount the tickets for children (6-12) and young adults (13-22). They were a bit of a drive from the Tahoe area where we stayed, but still less than an hour’s drive away.
I don’t remember any crowds at Sugar Bowl at all on the green runs we were on. This was such a change from Sierra, where a snowboarder hit me and I fell. So it might be a good place to visit if you want to get away from the Lake Tahoe crowds and it’s mid-week.
I was in my early days of skiing and could not do any of the blue runs here at the time, though I might be able to now. The greens here had enough pitch to make me a little anxious, but I was able to handle them. And yet, we were able to get midway up the mountain at Sugar Bowl with just green run expertise, so we got some nice views.
You will pass Donner Memorial State Park on the way to Sugar Bowl, which may be worth a stop if you’re interested in learning about the ill-fated Donner party. There was still a lot of snow on the ground when we stopped by, so we didn’t really get to walk around.
Would I go back to Sugar Bowl? I don’t know, it’s a bit of a drive if you’re actually staying at Lake Tahoe, but I thought it was a nice mountain, and it wasn’t crowded when we went there mid-week.