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Northstar is a real gem of a ski resort located on the north shore of Lake Tahoe in California. It may not be as well known to British skiers as some of the other resorts in the area, but Northstar has one of the finest mountain villages in California and is one of the best resorts for families in the Lake Tahoe area.
The upscale, pedestrianised village is compact and offers plenty of slope-side accommodation. The ski area has 100 runs to explore. 60% of the 3,100 acres is ideal for intermediates and there’s enough beginner and expert terrain to keep everyone in your group satisfied. The resort has quiet, uncrowded slopes, impeccable grooming, incredible tree skiing, world class terrain parks and amazing snow. Add in fantastic resort amenities and stunning views of beautiful Lake Tahoe and you’ll find that this laid back resort will continually surprise and impress you from the minute you arrive.
Beginners are well catered for and there is a dedicated learning zone at the top of the Big Springs Express Gondola. Once novices have mastered the basics they can do laps on the long, perfectly manicured Village Run which takes them right back to the base of the Gondola.
Intermediates will adore the skiing at Northstar. The trails are wide, well groomed and offer plenty of space to perfect those parallel turns. The runs in the middle mountain in the Northwest Territory are mellow and ideal for the family to cruise around on together. For the best views of the Lake, head up to the summit at 8,610ft and stop for lunch at the Summit Smokehouse. Then head into the Mt Pluto area where you’ll find several superb intermediate trails all along the east ridge. You can do laps on either the Rendezvous or Comstock lifts and spend the day taking in the gorgeous views of the Lake.
One of the highlights in Northstar is the world class terrain parks which are set up to cater for all ability levels. This is one of the best set ups in the USA, and is home to the Burton Snowboard Academy. If you’re lucky you might even find yourself sharing the chair with Shaun White who calls Northstar home and regularly spends time training in the 22 foot superpipe.
The Lake Tahoe region has an amazingly reliable snow record and Northstar typically receives 350 inches of snow every winter. On a powder day, advanced skiers will find the best powder stashes on the Backside in the bowl served by the Backside Express Lift. The terrain here is a consistent pitch all the way down making it perfect for carving up powder turns. When the slopes here are groomed, you’ll find advanced skiers carving high speed GS turns down the mile long trails or skiing through the trees, which are perfectly spaced for medium radius turns.
Northstar resort is modern and compact with a pedestrian friendly centre built around an ice rink as the resorts centre-piece. As you wander round the village you’ll find a variety of firepits, shops, bars and restaurants scattered throughout the pedestrian only walkways.
There’s a variety of high quality accommodation options in the village which are all within a few minutes walking distance to the lifts. If you’re looking for a luxury hotel, Northstar offers Tahoe’s only 5 star hotel – the Ritz Carlton, which is located on the slopes halfway up the mountain. This hotel exudes charm and offers guests true ski-in, ski-out convenience.
This is a top resort for a family ski holiday; from the ice rink to the complimentary S’Mores, Northstar has a wide range of facilities to keep the kids entertained after the chairlifts stop turning.
Nightlife in the resort is a quiet, laid back affair with several restaurants located in the village. The nearby town of Truckee is only 6 miles away and has a wider selection of nightlife options, including a number of gourmet restaurants serving up local cuisine full of Californian flair.
Northstar ski resort is one of California’s gems. Located in North Lake Tahoe this upscale resort has a picturesque pedestrian friendly ski village, fantastic skiing with quiet slopes, long groomed runs and a relaxed casual atmosphere. This is a great destination for families and intermediates.
The Lake Tahoe region has the highest concentration of ski resorts anywhere in the USA. It’s only 32 miles by road from the north end of the Lake to the south shore – so it may well be worth considering renting a car to explore the area. If you’re keen to explore the neighbouring resorts on the North side of the Lake – then the skiing at Squaw Valley is not to be missed.
Northstar is part of the Epic Pass and your lift pass will also include the South Lake Tahoe resorts of Heavenly and Kirkwood, both of which are well worth exploring.