Every year, as February rolls along and March comes into sight, thoughts of springtime tours and corn-snow descents bring the promise of a second season, one observed not only on the calendar, but also on the Sugar Bowl trail map, as skiers and riders push beyond the ropes of the resort for the sweet turns in the backcountry beyond. This is not to say that they haven’t been out there all along, all season long, skinning and skiing the BC since the first flakes of the season laid down a coat deep enough to slide upon. Rather, it’s the mental corner we turn as the realities of braving winter’s elements gives way to the pleasant thoughts of long walks under the warm Californiasun, reaping the rewards of our high water-content snow pack and the fattest, tastiest corn snow in Ski Country that goes right along with it. Sugar Bowl boasts 1,500 vertical and 1,500 skiable acres, but the story behind the numbers is the backcountry access agreement with the US Forest Service, allowing skiers & riders to leave the gates and enjoy some of the finest backcountry turns in the entire Tahoe region, right here on Donner Summit. The AMGA and IFMGA certified guides at the Sugar Bowl Backcountry Adventure Center are on tap and in-resort, ready to lead skiers and riders on educational seminars on the science of snow, the basics of safe route navigation, proper use of avalanche beacons and BC equipment, and of course guided powder tours that are sure to impress. Springtime is upon us, and while it hasn’t been a banner year in terms of total snowfall thus far in Tahoe, it’s been more than enough to prep the backcountry terrain to nicely serve up some high Sierra skinning and skiing, at the ready for all to enjoy right here at Sugar Bowl. Check out www.sugarbowl.com/backcountry for further information and a calendar of all events and outings on tap. As we strike up the second season, you’ll be glad you did.