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It was going to be mostly a groomer day at Sugar Bowl on Valentine’s Day. We arrived early on the Bay Area Ski Bus and caught the first lift of the day–albeit it was White Pines, aka the bunny hill. Despite that, we gave each other high fives and headed out on what we knew was going to be a great bluebird day with temps in the 40s.
Going up White Pines from the parking lot is a nice little trick to save yourself the hike from the parking lot to the Judah lodge. We skied down to the Jerome Hill lift and rode it up to Sidewinder (the snow on Sidewinder is usually nice, because it’s shielded with trees). We took Sidewinder to the Lincoln and Christmas Tree lifts.
Off of the Disney lift, we hit several nice black runs, including Donald Duck, Eagle and Nancy’s Couloir, a run which I’d never attempted or even seen. Nancy’s Couloir is a black diamond hidden behind the snack shack that another couple we met suggested skiing. They skied over with us but turned around when they saw the moguls. I dove into the moguls and had one of my best runs of the day. The moguls were small and soft (and as you can see from the photo, the snow was nice).
Another run that I like at Sugar Bowl is Crowley’s Run; however, I stay to the right side of the trail and ski along the fence in the ungroomed, which was a bit crunchy since it hasn’t snowed in days.
I also had a rare treat at Sugar Bowl yesterday. I rode the Crow’s Nest lift. It’s a small two-person lift that drops riders off below the top of the Disney Express. The lift rarely operates at Sugar Bowl, so I had to give it a few whirls. Plus, it was much less crowded than the Disney Express lift line.
New this year to Sugar Bowl is the Summit Chair. I think people used to hike up to the top of the ridge and ski or board down. I could see how it would be nice on a different day, but there were a few moguls and a lot of rocks poking through at the top. We skied through the tricky stuff and through the trees to Trailblazer. I guess that was my first double black, although it didn’t seem that bad.
The first weekend of February when there was more snow, we skied off-trail in Strawberry Fields and under and around the Lincoln Express. It was probably some of the most serious terrain that I have ever seen, although I saw it and then steered away.
It was two fun weekends in a row at Sugar Bowl. Now, I am pondering where I should go next!
For more trip reviews, gear reports and more, visit my blog at www.skitripper.wordpress.com.