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Quad chair, more planned at Sugar Bowl

JAMES BALL

Sierra Sun

As part of a $5 million expansion program, Sugar Bowl ski resort has some big changes in the works for winter 1999.

Included in the plan are a new high-speed quad, more accessible terrain, beginner runs and a sundeck.

The biggest project includes replacing the slower Disney double-chair – which has remained relatively unchanged since the resort’s inception 60 years ago – with a faster quad chair.

“There’s a ton of terrain on the peak and to give better access, we needed a high-speed quad,” said Carol White with Sugar Bowl’s marketing.

White added that the new lift will eliminate hiking up the mountain from the drop-off point of the existing chairs.

She said the old chair was recently removed, and the base area is being excavated for the new bottom terminal of the lift.

Helicopters have been flying in concrete for the tower footings and will fly the towers in this week.

She said some old towers will remain for sentimental and historical purposes.

Four new beginner runs are also being built on the Mt. Judah side.

“The new runs have been cut, the footings have been poured and the towers will be going in soon,” White said.

Also in the works is a small sundeck on Mt. Disney which, White said, will serve some food and beverages.

The improvements come just months after Sugar Bowl wrapped a record season in which more than 300,000 skiers visited the resort.

In 1997-1998, White said 270,000 skiers visited Sugar Bowl but, thanks to the construction of a new lodge and increased marketing efforts, the number jumped by more than 10 percent in 1998-1999. The increase is more than any other ski resort in California, she said, citing statistics from the California Ski Industry Association.

White said the addition of the Mt. Judah lodge in 1998 was one catalyst for the jump in numbers.

She also said thanks to increased marketing and Sugar Bowl’s relative proximity to the Bay Area (compared to other Tahoe ski resorts) tourists are discovering that Sugar Bowl does not require as much work to ski as it did 20 years ago.

“People who haven’t been here in a while remember coming in on the gondola and hiking to Disney,” White said. “Now, the word is out.”

Adding to the improvements is the fact that 1999 is the 60th anniversary of Sugar Bowl, and there are plans to bring back some old traditions to the Donner Summit resort.

White said there is talk of bringing back the Silver Belt race as well as the the Tiki Cup, replete with hula dancers and Polynesian themes.

Tahoe writer Robert Frohlich has written a book, “Skiing With Style,” which focuses on the history and appeal of Sugar Bowl.

The book is slated to be published in November in conjunction with the 60th anniversary.


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