by: anonymous_user - 21st February 2008

  • 2
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced/Expert
  • 3All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 1Family Friendly
  • 1Aprés Ski
  • Terrain Park
  • Overall Value

Full review

My family hasn't skied at Northstar in two years because our last experience there was so frustrating--all the schlepping through the still-being-constructed Village just to get to mid-mountain. We agreed to give Northstar another try this past weekend because some friends we were with wanted to ski there, and we had an EVEN WORSE time than before getting through the Village to mid-mountain. I thought Northstar was spending tons of money to improve things, not to make them worse. The equipment rental process was confusing and chaotic; apparently standing in line doesn't mean you get served before the people behind you. The rental skis issued to my 6-y.o were obviously WAY too short, more suitable for a 2-year old, but the Northstar guy who handed them to us seemed more interested in getting us processed and out of the way rather than assuring that we had the right equipment. When I asked him to exchange them for longer skis, he pointed us to another line in which we had to wait. And when the guy handed me our third set of rented skis and I didn't have a free hand to hold them (they hand the skis to you while you're standing in line; you don't check them out at a counter), he was at a total loss what to do next. Then when I wanted to store things in a day locker, some Northstar person told us that there were lockers at mid-mountain, but he couldn't assure us that they were still available, meaning that we'd have to ride the gondola back down the mountain to find additional lockers near the ice rink in the Village. I ended up walking a far distance in my ski boots over what seemed like cobblestones (I just assume they were cobblestones but don't really know for sure; I was too blind with frustration at that point to notice) from the equiment rental to the ice rink just to find a free locker--WHICH COST $5! What happened to the 75-cent coin-op lockers? At that point I was just glad that I parked way far away by the gas station because having to pay $30 for parking would have put me over the top. We finally got to mid-mountain two hours after our arrival. The mountain is decent enough, but not of the caliber for a place that aspires to be a world-class destination. And what happened to Northstar's reputation of being a family-friendly place? Maybe for families that have surly teenagers and young adults who like to snowboard. When there's a sign posted at the Vista chair line asking people to "refrain from smoking or swearing in line", it makes you wonder. We've never experienced any such problems at any of the other downhill ski places in the N. Lake Tahoe area where a sign is even necessary. At the end of the day, as we were returning our equipment, I couldn't believe it when a Northstar employee asked us to fill out a comment card, and I looked at her like, "You REALLY want to hear what I think of this place?" What a ripoff. Forget apres-ski. I was so ready to get out of there when we were done. What was most frustrating about our experience is that Northstar is capable of being a great place, but it obviously cares very little for the day visitor or families with young kids. Northstar epitomizes that old saying, "No one goes there anymore--it's too crowded."
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