by: alvlee01 - 29th March 2009

  • 4
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 4All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 4Family Friendly
  • 4Aprés Ski
  • 5Terrain Park
  • Overall Value
Park, terrain, gondola, lifts
the crowds

Full review

Having boarded at several resorts across the country, Northstar is now one of my favorites. I admit, it's not the most easily accessible as it is somewhat off the beaten path unlike its smaller sister in the south (Sierra), but the terrain is excellent for all levels. At base camp you have a various selection of places to shop and eat from the casual $5-10 range, on upwards to typical ski resort prices. The mountain can be very deceptive; the diamond trails would be slightly steeper than an average blue course at any other major resort, while the blues tend to be just above greens, and the greens, though not as steep were good for casual riding and teaching friends. I especially appreciated the friendly staff when riding the gondola up to mid-mountain they would happily remove my board from the rack and have it waiting for me when the doors opened. All in all, great experience. The only negative comments I can say about the resort is: 1) parking is horrendous. If you are not willing to pay $20 for VIP parking just below the village, then you'd have to park about 1/4 mile away and have a shuttle transport you. 2) The resort gets extremely crowded, especially with wayward patrons who like to congest the "slow" areas of the park which makes getting around them a challenge for any snow veteran. Can't complain, it happens at every resort. 3) The "slow" signs conveniently placed at the beginning/end of each trail make it so you actually do have to slow down and navigate around the signs as they are literally spread across the face of the trail with a few feet of space to traverse around them 4) Lastly, and probably the most aggravating is the lift ticket pricing. $79 is fairly over priced which is why I stopped going to places like Heavenly and Squaw...higher prices, no improvements. However, I found a convenient loophole around this: I paid $20 for a lifetime membership at REI which entitled me to discount lift tickets with no black out dates, also throughout the season they will supply you with discount vouchers that enable you to get all day passes for only $56 which is reasonable, and they also have the multi-day discounts. But, if you're like me and you plan to hit the slopes just about every other weekend...season pass is the way to go.
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