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Squaw vs. Sugar Bowl in February

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I am planning on making a trip out to Tahoe, February 8-12th. I will be traveling with my 11 year old daughter who will train at Woodward. I am planning to stay at Boreal but ski somewhere else. I had Squaw Valley in mind. I am told it is about 45 min. from Boreal where we are staying. Some staff have suggested Sugar Bowl as an alternative...just sticking my finger in the wind here...If any of you live in the Tahoe area or have skied either, or preferably, both of these resorts, I'd like to hear what you think of these two options, or any others that might be preferable on a short visit in February. Thanks.

post #2 of 13

Depends on what's important to you: much shorter (5 minute) drive to Sugarbowl; SV is much bigger with more varied and challenging terrain, but the crowd can get a little crazy. If it's storming, I'd lean towards Sugarbowl since you're new to either resort and basing out of Boreal - much easier to get to and reconnoiter in storm conditions. Easy if it's calm weather - do both on alternate days!

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'm hoping for the storm day and being from Montana I'm pretty crowd adverse. How much of a drop off in terrain difficulty are we talking about?

post #4 of 13

Been to both, but not a lot of experience with either. Very different feel/vibe, one to the other.

 

IMO both have expert terrain. Might have to hike or scoot in across some rocks at Sugar Bowl to get to some of it. (we did when we were there). It is a more easy going sort of place with a family scene for race kids. Seemed like more locals

 

Squaw is bigger and more spread out. The terrain I liked the most was off the Granite Chief, but it's a short vert there. Crowded (I was run into twice by the same snowboarder who couldn't maneuver on a cat track.) Lots of posturing and feeding frenzy (it was a powder day after a long drought). More touristy, with folks from LA showing off their outfits, mixed with "uber skier doods" just showing off (in the bar).

 

Personally, I liked Sugar Bowl better.

 

Sugar Bowl, more A-Basin; Squaw, more Vail

 

Keep in mind I have only been to each resort once and that was 10 years ago, so YMMV.

post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom View Post
 

Been to both, but not a lot of experience with either. Very different feel/vibe, one to the other.

 

IMO both have expert terrain. Might have to hike or scoot in across some rocks at Sugar Bowl to get to some of it. (we did when we were there). It is a more easy going sort of place with a family scene for race kids. Seemed like more locals

 

Squaw is bigger and more spread out. The terrain I liked the most was off the Granite Chief, but it's a short vert there. Crowded (I was run into twice by the same snowboarder who couldn't maneuver on a cat track.) Lots of posturing and feeding frenzy (it was a powder day after a long drought). More touristy, with folks from LA showing off their outfits, mixed with "uber skier doods" just showing off (in the bar).

 

Personally, I liked Sugar Bowl better.

 

Sugar Bowl, more A-Basin; Squaw, more Vail

 

Keep in mind I have only been to each resort once and that was 10 years ago, so YMMV.

I too have only one day at each mountain.  The above capsule seems pretty accurate to me.  Both mtns are a lot of fun, you should visit both:D  Sugar Bowl is a lot easier logistically and I would expect pretty light crowds on a weekday.  Squaw has world class terrain esp. steeps with potential for being much busier.

Here are some photos/impressions I took at each:

http://www.epicski.com/a/sugar-bowl-ca-a-pictorial

http://www.epicski.com/a/squaw-valley-alpine-meadows-a-pictorial

post #6 of 13

squaw/alpine and sugarbowl are all partnered up so they have sharing of priviledges and why not try both.  You can also go to alpine a day.

 

 

Even though you're only coming for a week, an option and you need to consider is to potentially lock down your lift tickets before mid-december  if you're set on going  to save some money there.

 

Sugarbowl mid-week season pass gets you 2 days at squaw/alpine, and luckily your trip is not in the blackout.

http://www.sugarbowl.com/seasonpass

 

Squaw also have 4 or 6packs for sale (without blackout dates) and last year, you could redeem those days at sugarbowl.  
Right now it's listing only a 4pack for squaw/alpine only, but maybe when december rolls around they may pop out the 6pack promotion or have the sugarbowl add-on.

post #7 of 13

your whole trip is during midweek, so i think you'll be fine crowdwise.  

Only the Friday you have listed before the long weekend you might get more crowds, but perhaps that'll be a short day four you anyway as you prepare for your departure..

post #8 of 13
I've been a Sugar Bowl pass holder for several years and it's my favorite. On weekdays it can get downright lonely unless it's a powder day then you might get a short line at the lifts. It has a wide variety of Terrain from very easy to double blacks. Check out the web site and check out some videos of Ralves Banzai race. The only knock is that it's smaller (1500 acres)
Squaw- other posters have covered it pretty well. But you can also ski Alpine Meadows which is next to Squaw and is a great resort but a little more laid back.
My recommendation, do all 3. You should have a great time.
post #9 of 13

As a Squaw passholder and an unabashed "Squawpologist", I would recommend Sugar Bowl to you. Boreal is close to Sugar Bowl. Don't waste the best Tahoe snow days driving. The terrain is wonderfully challenging, the snow can be really good, the crowds might be lighter and the skiing vibe is great. Sugar bowl will not disappoint.

 

Squaw is a fantastic mountain. Worth a day there just to ride KT. Maybe a couple days - it's a big mountain with lots to experience. 

 

Boreal can be fun, too. Especially if the snow is crappy. Fun groomers. But don't waste good Tahoe snow days at Boreal.

 

The views from Homewood might be worth the drive. It's a fun hill but nowhere near as challenging Squaw or Sugar Bowl. But the view of Lake Tahoe might make it the prettiest resort anywhere.

 

Eric 

post #10 of 13
If it snows-go to Sugarbowl. The drive over the Donner Summit and over 88 is a potential bottleneck that you don't want.

Do get to Squaw at least once. KT and Headwall lifts are worth it. Alpine is great as well, so yeah, maybe a couple days. If you get a bluebird midweek day, go to Squaw, you won't get as much powder as as you would at Sugar Bowl, but the scene will be worth it.
post #11 of 13
MHarry,

My unabashed endorsement is for Sugar Bowl. Hands down. But, if you're staying in-bounds, then you should split your time between the two so you get as much variety in your Tahoe visit as you can. I would add Alpine Meadows to the mix as well.
post #12 of 13

If you are crowd averse, like to ski off piste, and don't mind a little hiking your best bet is Alpine Meadows--long traverses off the Summit and Alpine Bowl chairs give access to a lot of (relatively) sparsely skied bowls. The kicker is Tahoe weather--powder turns to glop pretty quickly in the California sun and at our relatively low altitudes, but on a bluebird powder day Alpine is the place to be. If you like serious steep then Squaw is the place to be--Palisades, Mainline Pocket, Silverado, Light Towers, or if you don't want quite as steep--Headwall and KT. There's just a lot more terrain at Squaw than at Sugar Bowl.  If you're an intermediate (I'm guessing you're not) Sugar Bowl and Alpine Meadows are much better than Squaw. I live 5 minutes away from Sugar Bowl (Donner Lake) and have a SB pass but if the skiing is any good I'm at AM or SV. The drive is worth it.

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

If it snows-go to Sugarbowl. The drive over the Donner Summit and over 88 is a potential bottleneck that you don't want.

Do get to Squaw at least once. KT and Headwall lifts are worth it. Alpine is great as well, so yeah, maybe a couple days. If you get a bluebird midweek day, go to Squaw, you won't get as much powder as as you would at Sugar Bowl, but the scene will be worth it.


What he said.

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