A pre-holiday storm dumping four feet of snow allowed Sugar Bowl to open their new quad Summit Chair earlier than expected. Skiers grabbed debut rides Dec. 23, as the lift began service for its first winter of operation.

The CTEC-built Garraventa fixed-grip ups the number of lifts at Sugar Bowl to 13 with the lift rising 420 vertical feet to the ridge of Mt. Judah. Exit right off the Mt. Judah Express to reach the base of the new Summit Chair. "On big storm days, the lift closes due to its elevation," Jennie Bartlett, Marketing Manager for Sugar Bowl, told OnTheSnow.com. "It's also one of the last lifts for avalanche control." The backcountry gates also accessed from the top of the lift close during storms.

The new chair accesses experts-only terrain both inbounds and outside the resort boundary. The chair leads to double black diamond runs that peel off the Mt. Judah Ridge-runs such as Judah Bowl and Gold Rush that previously required hiking. The chair also provides access to two upper gates that exit the resort boundaries to the backside of Mt. Judah. The new Backcountry Adventure Center has launched their guided sidecountry tours that run on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. "Full Lake Run Tours still needs more snow to fill in, but partial tours are being offered already," said Bartlett.

The Summit Chair, the first new lift at Sugar Bowl since 2000, was installed this past summer with special attention to environment-friendly installation techniques. The Ski Area Citizens Coalition gave the resort an "A" rating this year in its environmental review in part due to the lift installation.

Sugar Bowl plans an official celebration Jan. 30 for the new Summit Chair as part of the resort's 70th anniversary festivities. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will also have prize giveaways-including a guided backcountry adventure. The birthday bash weekend Jan. 29-31 will feature a CORE Appreciation Day with $39 lift tickets for daily CORE passholders. Other weekend events include live music and a Sugar Bowl Trivia Challenge with prizes. 

More information. Or call 530-426-6724.