SPOT TO SKI: SUGAR BOWL
Elevation 7,000 to 8,400 feet; average snowfall 26 to 30 feet; usual snow cover 12 to 18 feet; skiers last year: 30,000; season Dec. 15 to May
Three-quarters of a mile off Highway 40 at the Donner Summit in California's Sierra Nevada range, the wide reaches of the Sugar Bowl encompass 8,000-foot Mt. Disney (named for Walt) and 8,400-foot Mt. Lincoln, both sporting deep and reliable mantles of snow all winter long. Sugar Bowl has just bid up its already solid reputation with a brand-new 1½-mile double chair to the top of Mt. Lincoln, often climbed even in its pre-lift days for its superb powder fields. A¾-mile double chair runs up Mt. Disney, and a fine variety of beginner and expert trails spill down both mountains to the lodge at the chair lift terminals. Two rope tows supply shorter runs for tyros. Skiers are lifted up from the highway parking lot to the lodge via unique aerial cable cars which deposit them at the door of the lodge. Disney's slopes (above) were opened by a chair lift in 1938, and ever since skiers have enjoyed the magnificent views the Sugar Bowl trails offer. Tips: You can drive from San Francisco (190 miles) and ski the same day; Highway 40 has inexpensive lodges; rooms at Sugar Bowl should be reserved in advance ($10 to $18 European); dormitory bunks are available ($3); ski talk centers at the bar; expect a dressy after-ski crowd and continuous fine skiing.
SKIING COAST TO COAST
TD-top slopes, depth in inches; BD-bottom slopes, depth in inches; CR-ski crowd last weekend; SN-inches of snowfall last weekend
Sugar Bowl, Calif. All lifts running last weekend in spite of snow famine. Expert runs from new Lincoln lift closed, but Meadow runs open. Bob Kolak and Doris Hauser had best times in Sugar Bowl team tryouts. TD 24-36, BD 12, CR 1,000, SN 0.
Reno, Nev. Skiing poor, but chair lift opened for sightseers. TD 8-6, BD 4-8, CR 60, SN 0.
Heavenly Valley, Calif. One rope operating at top of lift provided only skiing. TD 6-14, BD 1-6, CR 150, SN 0.
Mt. Baldy, Calif. No skiing last weekend.
Yosemite, Calif. Skiing fair to good last weekend, with all lifts running. Sunny skies made porch tables favorite lunch spot. TD 7, BD 11, CR 4,800, SN 0.
Big Bear Lake, Calif. Only skiing at area was at Moonridge on artificial snow. Some icy spots. BD 8-14, CR 180, SN 4.
Mt. Hood, Calif. Sunday storm closed Magic Mile at Timberline after a good week's skiing. Waiting lines ran up to an hour since Government Camp slopes were closed. TD 56-61, BD 34-58, CR 8,500.
Grouse Mt., B.C. Skiing poor last weekend. TD 38-46, BD 18-6, Cut 8-38, CR 300, SN 0.
Snoqualmie Pass, Wash. Chair lift carried mostly sightseers as snow cover became scarce. Area needed a blizzard last weekend. Seattle Post Intelligencer and Seattle Times Ski Schools will start Jan. 5 if snow appears. TD 5, BD 2-3, CR 100, SN 0.
Stevens Pass, Wash. All lifts operating, skiing fair to good last weekend. Lifts run daily until Jan. 6. TD 50-55, BD 40-45, CR 1,200, SN 0.
Mt. Baker, Wash. Skiing excellent, with Austin trail and Austin tow best. Chute trail closed, needed 10 feet. Jaycee ski school Jan. 5 offers bus from town, instruction and use of tows till noon for $2.50. TD 60, BD 70, CR 1,600, SN 0.
Alta, Utah. Powder on all slopes packed down by holiday crowds, some ice showing on most-used runs last weekend. Waiting line 30 minutes long. Betty Lou Sine and Jim Gaddis won Salt Lake Ski Club Giant Slalom. TD 43, BD 43, CR 1,500, SN 1.
Sun Valley, Idaho. All bowls and runs open, with excellent packed powder skiing last weekend. National Ski Association opened training camp for top U.S. skiers Jan. 2, with Dave Lawrence as men's coach. Racers will ski in Sun Valley Open Jan. 12-13. Baldy TD 26, Round House 22, River Run 16. College Run 24, Dollar TD 17, Valley Floor 8-10, SN 0.
Snow King, Wyo. All trails open, some brush showing. TD 18-22, BD 10-14, CR 200, SN 0.
Santa Fe, N. Mex. Skiing best last weekend on manicured open slopes. Thunderbird needed more snow, Midland and Stevenson closed. Texans filling slopes are abandoning traditional levis for fancy ski pants. TD 14-10, BD 5-10, Beginners area 5-10, CR 1,600.
Taos, N. Mex. Snow tractor transported skiers, including beginners, to upper snow fields which needed a little more cover. Restaurant and lodge open. TD 40-44, BD 12-14, Slalom hill 17-33, Long Horn 17-40, CR 400, SN 0.
Big Mt., Mont. Warm daytime temperatures and cold nights turned area's cover to corn snow, made skiing good even though snow pack was reduced. Lower Toni Matt closed. BD 22-26, TD 30-35, Hell Roaring BD 24-30, TD 38-42, CR 620, SN 0.
Aspen, Colo. Skiing excellent. Large holiday crowd taxed lifts and restaurant facilities. New lift helped absorb early-morning rush. Brooks Dodge demonstrated new Wedeln ski technique to classes. TD 36, BD 16, Dipsy Doodle 20-36, Spar Gulch 18-30, CR 1,100, SN 0.
Rib Mt., Wis. Skiing good. All slopes and trails open. Record-Herald Ski School drew almost 500 pupils Saturday. TD 6, BD 6, SN 0.
Boyne Mt., Mich. Hemlock best with 30-40 artificial snow. Skiing good on other slopes. Trend among better skiers is toward wood skis, with Kneissl skis leading. TD 6, BD 6, CR 750, SN 10.
Terry Peak, S. Dak. All trails, slopes and lifts open daily over holiday, with good skiing. Weekend operation only in January. TD 30-36, BD 36-40, Kussy 30-40, Bunny 30-40, CR 1,000, SN 2.
Mt. Cranmore, N.H. Weekend snowfall put good skiing back on mountain for record crowd. All lifts ran, all slopes opened. Saturday night skiing under lights until 10 p.m. began. TD 4-16, BD 4-14, East Slope 4-18, CR 10,000, SN 14.
Mt. Sunapee, N.H. Zero weather cooled New Year's ski crowd. Skiing good over entire area. TD 4-16, BD 6-12, CR 3,600, SN 8.
Laconia, N.H. All lifts operated. Skiing good on lift and T bar areas. TD 20-30, BD 12-15, CR 3,500, SN 10.
Stowe, Vt. Biggest holiday crowd on record jammed slopes, inns, restaurants. Base was solid but top cover was skied off rapidly. National, Liftline and S-53 closed. Wind and cold shortened waiting lines considerably. TD 24, BD 18, CR 4,000-5,000. SN 8-10.
Pico Peak, Rutland, Vt. First week of operation capped by weekend snow. Skiing was excellent on A and B slopes, C trail. TD 1-10, BD 1-10, CR 1,500, SN 13.
Okemo Mt., Vt. Excellent on Mountain Road, Squaw Trail, open slopes. Biggest crowd in two-year history of area. TD 10, BD 10, CR 1,000, SN 6.
Big Bromley, Vt. Skiing good last weekend, excellent on upper trails. TD 5-16, BD 4-14, Push Over 6, Twister 5-16, CR 4,100, SN 7.
Mad River, Vt. Entire mountain good, Fall Line, Bunny and Chipmunk best. Cold wave over weekend upped sale of long underwear at ski shop. TD 10-20, BD 6-15, Fall Line 10-20, Catamount 6-10, some bare spots; CR 2,400, SN 12.
Dutch Hill, Vt. Yankee Doodle Trail excellent last weekend, whole area good. TD 11-18, BD 8-11, CR 1,700, SN 18.
Snow Ridge, N.Y. Skiing good last weekend. TD 11, BD 5, CR 3,000, SN 10.
Lake Placid, N.Y. Scotts Cobble and Fawn Ridge Pomalifts operated. Sno Bird Ski Jump canceled. Ernie Stautner of Pittsburgh Steelers reigned as king over opening carnival. TD 5-8, BD 6, CR 1,000, SN 3-4.
Lac Beauport, Que. All tows and lifts operated. Skiing good. TD 28-30, BD 24 28, CR 1,000, SN 12.
Jasper, Que. Boulevard and Allouette trails, Castor and Canuck closed last weekend. TD 27, BD 16, T bar slope 14-24, CR 600.