|Length||3.7 miles round trip|
|+1450, -1450 round trip|
|Navigation||Road and map|
|Season||Late December through early April|
|USGS Topo||7.5' series, Norden|
|Start||Sugar Bowl Academy (formerly the home of Alpine Skills Institute), 3.9 miles east of Interstate 80 and 0.2 mile east of Donner Ski Ranch on Donner Pass Road. Park at Donner Ski Ranch and walk east on Donner Pass Road to the start of the tour at the Academy.|
Many skiers climb Mount Judah and Donner Peak — some for the views and some for the excellent telemarking on the east side of the Mount Judah ridge. Whatever your reasons for choosing this tour, you will be treated to superb views of nearby Donner Lake, Mount Lincoln, Crows Nest and Anderson Peak, as well as Castle Peak and much more to the north.
Nearby to the north is Lake Angela and the gentle terrain that is crisscrossed by the following tours:
On the down side, all too often the ascent is made icy by strong winds. These same winds form cornices on the east side of the Mount Judah ridge. Be careful!
Advanced skiers can thrill in the steep descent east from the ridge when cornices permit and the snow in the bowl below is stable. After descending one can ascend the southeast shoulder of Donner Peak to return to the ridge. An alternative is to descend all the way to Donner Lake, but that tour is not described in this guide.
The Mount Judah and Donner Peak Loop tour is an extension of the tour described here and includes a downhill run on groomed slopes at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort.
Waypoint 1 to 2
Miles: 0.0 - 0.2
Elevation change: -50 feet
Locate the snow-covered road 50 feet west of the Sugar Bowl Academy parking lot (1) and follow it south for 0.2 mile until you reach the location where the road turns west (right) (2).
Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 0.2 - 1.1
Elevation change: +1050 feet
Leave the road and climb southeast for 0.9 mile until you reach the north end of the ridge of which Mount Judah is the high point (3).
Waypoint 3 to 4
Miles: 1.1 - 1.5
Elevation change: +150, -50 feet
Ski south along the ridge for 0.4 mile until you reach the summit of Mount Judah (4). The Mount Judah and Donner Peak Loop tour descends the ridge to the southwest from here to Sugar Bowl Ski Resort.
Waypoint 4 to 3
Miles: 1.5 - 1.9
Elevation change: +50, -150 feet
Ski north along the ridge, retracing your tracks, for 0.4 mile until you reach the north end of the ridge (3).
Waypoint 3 to 5
Miles: 1.9 - 2.2
Elevation change: -300 feet
Descend a spur to the northeast for 0.3 mile until you reach the saddle (5) between the ridge and Donner Peak.
Waypoint 5 to 6
Miles: 2.2 - 2.4
Elevation change: +150 feet
Climb northeast for 0.2 mile until you reach the summit of Donner Peak (6).
Waypoint 6 to 5
Miles: 2.4 - 2.6
Elevation change: -150 feet
Descend southwest, retracing your tracks, for 0.2 mile until you reach the saddle (5) between Donner Peak and the ridge of which Mount Judah is a part.
Waypoint 5 to 7
Miles: 2.6 - 3.0
Elevation change: -150 feet
Descend gradually as you loop to the northwest for 0.4 mile until you reach the ridge (7) that you ascended earlier.
Return to trailhead
Miles: 3.0 - 3.7
Elevation change: +50, -600 feet
Retrace the route for 0.7 mile until you reach the trailhead (1).