Daron Rahlves excited for new Sugar Bowl lift | SierraSun.com

Daron Rahlves excited for new Sugar Bowl lift

Sun file photo courtesy of Grant BartaView of Mt. Judah from the top of Lincoln last winter. with Donner Lake in background. The new lift will reach to just below the peak of Mt. Judah, up-and-running this coming winter.

NORDEN, Calif. and#8212; For years, Daron Rahlves, like many local skiers and riders, has had to hike to get to the top of Mt. Judah at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort.

The former Olympian and U.S. Ski-cross team member and Truckee resident will have an easier option this winter.

Sugar Bowl is installing a new chairlift to the top of Mt. Judah in time for the coming winter.

and#8220;I’m really excited and#8212; a lot of people have been hiking that from the original Judah lift,and#8221; said Rahlves. and#8220;A few of my friends are a little bummed there will be a larger number of riders and it will get tracked out a lot quicker.and#8221;

The quad lift will deliver 1,200 people per hour to terrain already approved within the U.S. Forest Service special use permit boundary, previously only accessed by hiking, according to a Sugar Bowl press release.

Construction begins late July and should be complete in October.

Despite the chance for bigger crowds, Rahlves said it will be a good thing to spread skiers and snowboarders out on the mountain.

and#8220;It will alleviate some of the pressure on Lincoln and Disney on powder days,and#8221; said Rahlves, who is also Sugar Bowl’s ski ambassador.

The increase in lift capacity and lift-accessible terrain won’t come at an increase in lift ticket pricing, according to Sugar Bowl.

The lift will take off from the top of the existing Judah lift, said Sales and Marketing Director John Monson.

The lift used to be the resort’s Christmas Tree lift, Monson said.

and#8220;We already had the lift and the permits,and#8221; Monson said. and#8220; A new chairlift of this scope would most likely run in the neighborhood of $1.2 million, but since we’re able to utilize a lift that we already own and already have in-resort, we’ll probably incur roughly half that expense.and#8221;

No new ski trails will be cut and#8212; marked at double black diamond on the resort’s map.

and#8220;The terrain will remain natural for advanced skiing,and#8221; he said.

The open, exposed nature of Mt. Judah means the lift will probably only be open 100 of the resort’s average 165-day operating season, Monson said.

and#8220;It’s pretty exposed,and#8221; Rahlves said. and#8220;But below the top once you get into the trees there can be a lot of really good powder.and#8221;

According to Sugar Bowl, environmental impacts of the new lift should be minimal and#8212; no merchantable trees (of commercially acceptable quality) will be removed, no roads constructed, no tractor grading required, and towers and the top terminal will be helicopter lifted into hand-dug footings.

The top of the lift should not be visible from Truckee, according to the release.

The new lift will also create more access to what Sugar Bowl terms and#8220;sidecountry terrain,and#8221; areas beyond the resort’s boundary that are legally accessible.

and#8220;Skiers and riders looking for a little more adventure will be able to sign up for professionally-guided backcountry tours, gaining the snow safety skills required to enjoy the sidecountry powder skiing just beyond the ski area boundary,and#8221; Monson said in the release.

For more information on the new chairlift, the ski resort or 2009/10 Sugar Bowl season passes, contact John Monson at (530) 426-6720 or e-mail jmonson@sugarbowl.com.

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