This snow-snagging resort is rightly named—sugary drifts often pile up here, making it a favorite destination for skiers, especially after a big Sierra storm rolls through. An easy drive from the Bay Area and less than two hours northeast of Sacramento, Sugar Bowl is ultra-popular with families looking for an easy ski getaway.
Sugar Bowl has a tucked-away, off-the-grid feel—the road in off Interstate 80 is lined mostly with snowy forests, not condos and hotels, and when it snows, the little base village looks a bit like a snow globe sprung to life. Add the average 500 inches of snow per season, varied terrain on four peaks, and pristine backcountry (much of it laced with trails at Sugar Bowl’s sister cross-country resort, Royal Gorge—the largest Nordic resort in North America), and you’ve got a pretty sweet find in the Sierra.
When it’s time to refuel, there’s no need to leave the mountain with all the onsite dining options. Higher-end cuisine with amazing views is to be had at The Dining Room at Village Lodge, and a standout among the many other options is Nob Hill BBQ on the Deck, where you can enjoy al fresco grill specialties. If you find yourself in Donner Pass, the local sausages and beer garden at Summit Haus is a must.
Throughout the warmer months, Sugar Bowl offers an idyllic mountain venue for a destination wedding. And every July, the resort is home to one of Lake Tahoe’s most popular summer camps for kids ages 4 to 15. Hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and more are all on the activity menu, and the curriculum for older kids includes leadership development and basics of environmental stewardship.