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SAM Magazine—Norden, Calif., Sept. 28, 2012—Sugar Bowl has signed an agreement with the Truckee Donner Land Trust to lease and operate the neighboring Royal Gorge cross-country ski area this winter, pending completion of the Trust’s purchase of 3,000 acres of Royal Gorge terrain.

If all goes according to plan, Sugar Bowl will also purchase the X-C resort’s Summit Station and related acreage in the Station’s immediate area within the next year. The Trust will retail control of 3,000 acres that are home to Royal Gorge trails. Sugar Bowl is working with 13 private landowners who have in the past leased another 3,000 acres to Royal Gorge, to keep the entire 6,000-acre resort intact. Royal Gorge has more than 200 kilometers of trails on this High Sierra terrain.

“We want to return Royal Gorge to its pre-eminent position in the U.S.,” Sugar Bowl president and CEO Rob Kautz told SAM. “Royal Gorge really fits with and complements our authentic alpine adventure brand. We’re very excited about this opportunity.”

To support its aims, Sugar Bowl plans to offer a combined alpine/Nordic season’s pass starting next week. It currently rents cross-country gear and sells lessons out of the Sugar Bowl village, where trails connect to the Royal Gorge system. Sugar Bowl has already purchased new Prinoth X-C trail grooming machines to maintain Royal Gorge’s trails.

The resort hopes to expand the cross-country skiing, and the two resorts’ integration, over the coming years. As part of that effort, Sugar Bowl has consulted with Royal Gorge founder John Slouber on possible future developments.

Sugar Bowl’s lease and operation of Royal Gorge is contingent on the purchase of Royal Gorge by the Land Trust. That purchase is expected to be solidified by Oct. 1 and completed by Dec. 20.