Sugar Bowl Resort has one of the longest and most magical ski histories in California. It begins in Austria where a man by the name of Hans Schroll was chosen to represent Austria in the 1935 US National Downhill Championship. He won that event as well as the Slalom and was awarded the Silver Skis Trophy. He was offered, and accepted, a job running a ski school in Yosemite. Many influential families came to Schroll for ski lessons; his reputation had spread far and wide as an excellent instructor. An Austrian friend of Schroll’s named Bill Klein, invited him to the area in 1937 to look at a piece of property on the market. The base was still solid white in July! Steps were put in motion for building a ski resort on the 700 acres of land and Schroll tapped into his ski school relationships looking for investors. One of them was Walt Disney, and as thanks, Mount Disney is named for him. An interesting sidenote: Hans Schroll was also known for yodeling and gave voice to Goofy’s mountain calls in The Art of Skiing, which takes place at Sugar Bowl!
Sugar Bowl appealed to investors because its location above Donner Pass was relatively close to San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. A little over a year after first viewing the property, the newly formed Sugar Bowl Corporation purchased the land and began construction on the Bavarian-style lodge. The Disney chairlift was the first chairlift in California.
Sugar Bowl Resort opened on December 15th, 1939 and by January of that year the resort was considered a success when skiers began arriving by the “trainload.” You can watch a video on the history here.
There have been many changes over the years since the first days, the chairlifts are now state of the art with millions invested in lodges, facilities, condos and more. There are currently 1650 skiable acres at 1500 vertical feet. Travel from the 6883-foot base elevation up in one of their 13 lifts, including a gondola. The summit elevation is 8383 feet. Their longest of 103 trails is three miles and you also have access to a terrain park. Seventeen percent of their runs are for beginners, 38% for advanced and the remaining 45% of the runs are ideal for intermediate skiers and boarders. Backcountry tours are also available.
After a long hard day of skiing or boarding, relax in one of their bars or restaurants and admire the magic that surrounds the four peaks that Sugar Bowl Resort calls home.