Sugar Bowl planning $34 million expansion over five years
Sugar Bowl Ski Area may soon join the ranks of mega-resorts such as Northstar-at-Tahoe and Squaw Valley USA, with $34 million in resort operations and new developments planned during the next five years.
While the plans are still in negotiations with Placer County, Sugar Bowl Ski Corporation is considering $20 million to improve resort operations, up to $5 million for a new club recreational facility and $9 million for development of 12 chalet townhomes.
Last month, Sugar Bowl Ski Area President Rob Kautz presented preliminary design plans for two major improvements.
Estimated at approximately $20 million, improvements in resort operations for day skiers, Kautz said, is one of the ski area’s primary goals.
The list includes completing the upgrade of the Silver Belt lift to a high speed quad, expanding day skier facilities at the Judah lodge by adding 7,000 square feet and implementing a 12,000 square foot state-of-the-art instructional center called the Mountain Sports Learning Center.
Christopher Parker, managing director for Mt. Lincoln, LLC, the resort development company partnered with Sugar Bowl, said the master plan for the Judah area was approved in 1983. The ski area has been adding services and facilities to improve on what Kautz called a renovation drought in the ’60s and ’70s. Most recently, the company purchased Donner Summit Lodge, upgraded the Disney lift to a high-speed quad, and in 1998 completed the Mt. Judah lodge. Kautz added he anticipates 100 percent express-access to the ski area in the near future.
The second part of the expansion plan describes developments in or around the Village Lodge.
Plans include an athletic club, an ice skating rink, a pool, renovation of the existing lodge and continued development of a subdivision called the Chalet Townhomes project.
Kautz and Parker have been meeting with Bill Combs, principal planner with Placer County in Auburn, to discuss the subdivision project.
“We haven’t had a formal submittal yet,” Combs said. “But we have been having preliminary discussion with them about what they would like to do.”
The Chalet Townhome project will consist of 12 high-end duplex townhomes in six buildings. Each dwelling is approximately 5,000 square feet. The project began a few years ago with a limited number of projects, which sold very quickly, Kautz said.
Currently, there are about 60 single family dwellings at the bowl. Many of them were constructed in the 1930s. With discussions for an additional 100 duplex projects and condominiums there could be as many as 200 units.
“We’re in a different segment of the market,” Kautz said. “These are modest developments compared to expansion plans by other resorts.”
Located on Donner Summit, where snowfall around Lake Tahoe is usually the highest, Sugar Bowl anticipates the chalet townhomes will have the feel of a small, snowbound village. Like the gondola that transports skiers and snowboarders from the north parking lot to the mine shaft connection next to the lodge, transportation at the chalet project will take place over the snow.
“We don’t anticipate pavement any closer to the lodge than it already is,” Kautz said.
“There is room for more growth at Sugar Bowl,” Combs said. “They have been putting us on notice that something will be coming in soon.”
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