Dec 12 2013

Sugar Bowl offers FREE Uphill Pass


Uphill skiing is now officially okay at Sugar Bowl.

Uphill skiing is now officially okay at Sugar Bowl.

Sugar Bowl has taken the lead in California by offering an official, free (uh, not as of 19jan14), Uphill Pass to all skiers interested in skinning in-bounds at their resort. All anyone needs to do to obtain it is to go to Sugar Bowl special tickets and sign a waiver agreeing you’ll use common sense and won’t act like a jerk or idiot. In exchange for the courtesy of registering, they take your photo for the pass and give you an armband to wear your Uphill Pass whenever you’re using Sugar Bowl’s slopes for a little skinning workout.

Update (19jan14): Sugar Bowl charges for Uphill Pass

In a nutshell the waiver says you agree to abide by Sugar Bowl’s rules and regs, you understand the Placer County Skier’s Responsibility Code, you won’t play chicken with ‘cats, sleds or other machinery, dogs must be leashed and you will clean up any mess they deposit, or pay for any damage they cause.

In addition, during operating hours you agree to stick to the side of the run when skinning. The runs where skinning is allowed are limited to the common trade routes on the side of the resort — Buena Vista to Tunnel 41, climber’s far left of the Mt. Judah lift and from the bottom of the Disney lift, Disney Return to Disney Traverse to Overland which are far climber’s right from the Disney lift — plus the cruise run from the bottom of the Lincoln lift to the top via Union Street to Silver Belt Runout to Henderson’s Bowl, Station B, Crowley’s Traverse and finally to Lake View and the summit.

Page 1 of the fine print. You don't even need a magnifying glass to read this. It uses plain language to define common sense.

Page 1 of the fine print. You don’t even need a magnifying glass to read this. It uses plain language to define common sense.

If you are skinning before or after hours you can skin up pretty much anywhere the same runs but are expected to avoid groomers, snow making or any other machinery and remember that headlamps are not merely recommended, you agree by signing they are required.

For backcounty skiers living in Tahoe’s North Shore area, this is merely an official acknowledgement of a long standing tradition for using Sugar Bowls “manicured” runs to warm up for the ski season before the lifts are running. In the past it was understood that you could, but you needed to act like you couldn’t; a tacit “don’t ask, don’t tell,” agreement between skinners and management was in effect. If you maintain that same mental attitude this new policy won’t change much except the new requirement that you must register and wear your Uphill Pass when skinning in-bounds. That way ski patrol can see from afar you’ve agreed to be cool. The more significant change will be the ability to skin uphill, in-bounds, in the middle of the day while the lifts are running. Frankly I question why anyone would do that, but now it is an option.

Here’s hoping other resorts in the Lake Tahoe area adopt the same policy, either officially or unofficially, especially Alpine Meadows.

© 2013

  • Joe Kenny

    Hey Craig, I think you missed issue #7 in the after hours policy regarding permissible uphill routes. Also, note that they prohibit use during avalanche control (not unreasonable); you would think they would list that under the “policy” and not as a “hazard”.

  • Dostie

    Ja, you be right Joe, I completely missed that. Been skinning up after hours for too long and didn’t catch that detail in the fine print. Time for a correction.

  • Rupert Brauch

    As of this weekend, they started charging $149 for the uphill pass. Their page on uphill travel policy still does not mention the new fee. To me this seems like a way for them to start charging for uphill access when they had allowed it for free in the past

  • Dostie

    My that was a short window of opportunity for the Truckee community. There was a news story posted about the change of policy the day the free option was modified (18jan14). You can still get an uphill pass for no extra charge if you are a season pass holder.

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