- Overall Rating 4
- Family Friendly 4
- All-Mtn. Terrain 3
- Terrain Park 0
- Nightlife 0
Pros: good snow, decent terrain variety
Cons: painfully crowded on MLK weekend
Recommended For: Family Friendly
Date Visited: Jan 1, 2009
This was our (me, wife, and 2 daughters 10 and 7) second trip to sugar mountain, prompted by an unexpected day out of school for the kids on the Friday before MLK weekend. We arrived LATE Thursday night, founding lodging via phone on the way. We were lucky and got one of the last couple of 2 bedrooms available close to the mountain (message here is on MLK weekend, better book early).
Friday (our snow day) was bitterly cold, with single digit temps in the morning and the high couldn't have been above 15 or so. Fortunately, we were ready for it, but still had to take some breaks to warm up. They were making a lot of snow that day which made for good skiing conditions (no ice), but poor atmosphere. The slopes were not very crowded, and lift waits were brief. I did ski their double black slope, whoopdeedo, that day. It was the first day of the season it was open. It was pretty darn steep, narrow, and short; no moguls as it had just been "made" the night before; and pretty icy such that a couple of times I nearly lost edges. I had a lot more fun on Tom Terrific (single black) due to better snow conditions. Overall it was a very fun day for everyone.
Saturday was simply too crowded. The snow was good despite the crowds. No one was skiing the black slopes at the top, but all the rest were dangerously crowded. In fact, a couple of times, my children (who both ski in excellent control) were nearly knocked over by folks that were completely reckless or out of control. By 1 o'clock, lift lines at the base were looking about an hour long - and so were the lunch lines - so we decided to call it a day and head for other activities.
My advice, the holiday weekend is crazy crowded with busloads of kids. I'm sure it is great for the resort, and keeps them alive year after year. But, if you have some flexibility, try coming here when the conditions are less crowded. The snow was really great this trip, but I would wait on my decision to ski here until you can get a favorable weather report - unless you don't mind skiing in the rain (see my previous post). We will definitely be back, and are starting to consider sugar our "local hill" - though we live 5 hours away in Middle Tennessee. It seems that timing here is everything!