- Overall Rating 4
- Family Friendly 4
- All-Mtn. Terrain 4
- Terrain Park 4
- Nightlife 3
Date Visited: Apr 1, 2008
Northstar continues to be an enjoyable resort with wonderful ski runs for cruising. But, it is experiencing growing pains which I hope will be addressed in the future.
We stayed at the new village at the base of the resort which made it extremely convenient with underground parking and easy walking distance to the gondala. In fact, we stayed at the western end of the village where you can see the gondala as soon as you step out the door. Very convenient! I feel sorry for the skiers not staying at the village however. They are short-changed with inconvenient day parking. I hope Northstar has plans to provide better parking or improve the shuttle service. (I prefer the later, i.e. a resort that emphasizes the pedestrian environment over cars, which is done nicely here.)
Northstar is attempting to turn itself into a high-end overnight resort, which is both good and bad. I miss the low-key family feel from years past, but appreciate the desire to create an distinctive village centered around a vibrant "village square" (represented by the popular skating rink). The village is still taking shape with many vacant storefronts, but a good assortment of shops and restaurants are starting to emerge. They need to fill up the other storefronts to create a stronger retail mix and better apres ski environment. It still has a ways to go, but seems to be getting there.
I agree with some commenters that the recent emphasis seems to be on real estate development with the high-end condos and homes and future high-end hotels. They should make sure that the ski slopes remain their top priority, however, as isn't that why skiers might want to stay at Northstar? I was there this past weekend and I have to agree that the grooming seems to have taken a back seat to the resort. The backside was icy and could have benefited from better grooming. The good news is that the crowds were manageable with minimal waits.
Northstar is targeting the high-end market, but because the slopes are primarily intermediate, they have converted many runs to terrains parks to attract teenage snowboarders. So one wonders if Nothstar is marketing to upper-crust families with their bratty teenage kids. Quite frankly, not the most appealing combination. But, to be fair, Northstar have a good mix of skiers with many families. And you can't beat the convenience of the skating rink for kids with boundless energy, while parents can watch rinkside with drinks in toll by the outdoor fireplaces.
All in all, I would keep my scorecard open on the resort, but it is definitely a "thumbs up" recomendation if you can afford to stay at the village, even if it means a spurge ski trip.