- Overall Rating 4
- Family Friendly 5
- All Mtn. Terrain 4
- Terrain Park 4
- Nightlife 4
Pros: Varied terrain, lots of runs, shopping, dining
Cons: Tourist trap, expensive, trendy
Recommended For: Single/Newlyweds, Family Friendly, Empty Nesters
Date Visited: Dec 1, 2010
Among North Tahoe locals, Northstar gets a pretty bad reputation. We know it as the local tourist trap, where you will be plagued by over-dressed fancy bay area people who don't know how to ride laying all over your mountain and crashing their land rovers into your car in the sprawling parking disaster. HOWEVER...Northstar has expanded its terrain a lot in recent years, and since it's minutes from my house, I decided to give it one shot this year. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
I went close to opening day, on the first bluebird powder day of the season. The conditions were unbelievable to me, but they were just right to keep a lot of the tourists off the slopes (i.e. 10 degrees, patchy coverage and obstacles in some spots and deep ungroomed powder in others). Once I got past the retail hell and the first gondola ride, I was home free on the upper slopes where I was able to find a couple of runs that had enough vertical to satisfy my cravings. The terrain parks weren't set up yet, but I could see they were working on some big things. They have some really good, varied tree riding, where they have thinned the trees on some runs to create "the glades," which are perfect for learning to ride off the groomed runs, and of course there are still natural forested areas for the experienced tree-riders. I still have to say that there aren't enough steep slopes for my taste, but you can find a couple spots on a good snow day...
I still have to say, however, that my FAVORITE thing about Northstar is that its location and amenities catch the tourists before they make it to my beloved, smaller lakeside resorts. Thanks Northstar. =)