Daron Rahlves on why he loves Sugar Bowl

The freeride film star and ex-World Cup racer takes us on a tour of his home turf in California

How many years have you been skiing here?

Ever since I was three. It all started in Lake Tahoe, California, with my grandparents and parents.

Why base yourself in Sugar Bowl?

When I was on the US Ski Team racing World Cup, during a break at home I needed a mountain to train at with lots of terrain. Sugar Bowl was my choice and a bonus is their dedication to
ski racing. At that time, back in 2000, they were developing SBSTA, a ski race academy. I was excited to work with them… But back to the mountain! It has a variety of challenging terrain and groomed runs for opening it up and going fast.

Tell us about your first skiing experience at Sugar Bowl

I didn’t know much about the resort, even as a Tahoe local, but in spring 2000 I met up with a friend and we tore up the Silver Belt Gully, the 58s and lots more, then lapped groomers and it felt like we had the place to ourselves. To finish it off we took a run down to Donner Lake and it opened up my eyes to the backcountry potential… Sugar Bowl has an open-boundary policy where you can get easy access to fresh pow stashes.

Airborne Daron, whose home hill gets the most snow of the North Lake Tahoe resorts | Grant Barta, red bull

How many days have you skied here over the years?

An average of four days a week through the season.

Best day ever skiing Sugar Bowl?

The day my kids and I skied Silver Belt Gully together when they were five. But it just keeps getting better…

Favourite funny crash story from Sugar Bowl?

When my son Dreyson was six he was determined to land a 360°. One day, when the lifts closed, he hiked up to the last table-top jump at the park. He came around on a few of them, but was a little squirley on the landings. Determined to land a clean one he stomped a 360°, claimed it raising his arms and, when he was coming to a stop, dropped his arms and a ski pole stuck in the snow catching his outside edge and highsiding him. His coach and I were there and we all couldn’t stop laughing.

Ever been banned or chased by patrol?

Not at Sugar Bowl, I play by the rules, but yes, I was once at another mountain in Tahoe skiing a closed area. I lost my ski pass and had to go to court and pay a $271 fine.

Tell us something we don’t know about Sugar Bowl

It gets the most snow of all the North Lake Tahoe resorts, and there’s a train tunnel under Mt Judah. Also, the Silver Belt Race down Silver Belt Gully was a famous race before the World Cup was founded. Line up at Disney Express on a pow day…

One thing we shouldn’t miss in resort?

First tracks down Disney Nose on a powder day. Not a pow day? Ski the Silver Belt Gully Banzai track.

What’s Sugar Bowl’s best dish?

The famous spicy Bloody Mary in the Belt Room Bar and
a tri tip or chicken bowl from the Nob Hill Café.

Is there anywhere we should avoid?

Avoid following me out of bounds for fresh tracks!

Daron is sponsored by Atomic, Red Bull, Giro and more.