It’s hard to beat the Old-World European Village charm at the snowbound Sugar Bowl Ski Resort approximately 3 hours from the Bay Area by I-80 and located off the Donner Summit just above Truckee. It has everything you’d want; easy access from highway, great family friendly amenities, affordability, up to date facilities, a premier ski team and school center, and one of the best regional mountains for all levels of skiers and especially those who love to choose from a variety of blue & black runs, like us. We loved the groomed wide ski runs with gorgeous views and no crowds, and the authentic community-based vibe.
We visited this play land oasis during our 2023 spring break after the most epic winter of snowfall in the history of California since the 1970’s. Staying near or on the resort property at The Hotel at Sugar Bowl is the way to go for convenience and enjoyability. We felt like little gnomes starting our trek across by gondola from Village Lodge and on over to Judah Lodge where rentals and ski lessons are located. Pricing is decent compared to the bigger and overcrowded area resorts and similar to Mt. Shasta Ski Resort running around $80 for adult ski lift tickets and for kids under 12 around $48 during off season.
After a couple days of skiing, take a break and head over to Truckee – a great little ski town with ample shopping, cafes, and food options.
If you are looking for a family ski getaway that is conveniently located with old world flair and European enchantment, read on for the best of what both Sugar Bowl and Truckee have to offer.
WHERE TO STAY:
The Hotel at Sugar Bowl is a classic slope side high alpine location and has no resort fees, free parking, overnight ski storage and WIFI. It’s the only snowbound resort in America and one feels they have stepped into a small Bavarian village in Austria upon arrival. Amenities include: the Dining Room, Belt Room Bar and the SportHaus – a joint athletic fitness & training facility featuring a spa, sauna, steam rooms, yoga studio, cardio and weight training facilities, family pool with 25-yard lap lanes and two hot tubs, locker rooms and social areas.
FAVORITE SKI RUNS & MORE:
While food and beverages are on sale and available at the local lodges across the ski resort, we recommend packing your own lunch to save time and money.
Sugar Bowl has four distinct peaks to choose from for your skiing or snowboard adventure. If downhill skiing is not your thing, Royal Gorge which is seamlessly integrated into Sugar Bowl has endless trails for XC skiing with 6,000 acres of terrain, 6 distinct trail systems, and 8 different warming huts. There is also snowshoeing and tubing.
There are great trails and runs throughout the entire resort. The slopes off Judah and Jerome Express are perfect for a family cruising together. Mt. Lincoln offers some of the most iconic vistas with elevation at 8,383. Disney Peak provides the perfect mix of exciting, groomed runs alongside open powder bowls. And a successful try down black diamond runs of Market Street and Donald Duck to end the day gave way to some great memories.
DOWNTOWN TRUCKEE HIGHLIGHTS:
Originally a logging town, Truckee became known in the late 1860’s for its major railroad site. It sits at the doorstep of Tahoe National Forest, Donner Memorial State Park, and Lake Tahoe. More than a ski town, Truckee is an artistic hub with cafes, boutiques, and galleries with Old West style and charm.
Tahoe Olive Oil and Spice at 10091 Donner Pass Road – if you love olive oil as much as our family, a stop in the tasting room at this location will be so satisfying. They have almost every imaginable variety of infused olive oil. We recommend the Butter Infused Olive Oil and the Lemongrass Mint Aged White Balsamic which can be used in cocktails and salad mixes.
The two very cool coffee spots in Truckee that we like offer unique experiences. The Coffeebar located on Jibboom off the alley is a great coffeehouse to hang out. It serves up espresso, tea, plus seasonal crepes, salads, and panini. The Lavender Tea Latte is amazing here. The other is called, Drink Coffee Do Stuff located on Donner Pass Road. This spot is a specialty coffee company built with the belief that extraordinary coffee leads to an extraordinary life. This brand has apparel available for purchase as well as coffee beans, mugs, and gear.
Nomad Boutique on Donner Pass Road is a trendy women’s clothing store with new arrivals weekly. We enjoyed the reasonably priced attire and accessories.
Word After Word Bookstore – located on Donner Pass Road in a historic building, is a welcoming independent bookstore for the local community and visitors to connect around books. They have a strong variety of new releases, top sellers in all genres and subjects.