great parks, friendly people, ok food, good terrain if you know where to go
expensive, crowded, not enough challenging slopes, family unfriendly
I think it's safe to say that Northstar is my favorite and (therefore) my home mountain. I try to get up here at least once a month so I have a chance to see the whole picture from slushy start to slushy finish.
The park's where it's at for me: I'm a park kid through and through. All the parks are well maintained and the features are set up right. I know Northstar claims to have like what, 6 parks, but in reality it's really just split into three main parks - the Pinball parks (Pinball, the Straits, and Moonshine), the neighboring Burton Progression Park, and the Stash across the valley in a far off land... The early season park is dope EXCEPT when the crowds start piling in. No matter how hard you try, you just cannot keep a kicker without looking like a retarded potato with the crowds that Northstar gets.
Other than the park, I absolutely heart pow. If pow days were chicks they would be pretty freaking hot and I would totally marry them. But, they're not, but that's not to say pow days at Northstar can be pretty awesome. Now, I know what all you hardcore double diamond extreme skiers and riders are thinking, screw Northstar, hit Kirkwood and Squaw. Well, I never said anything about 50 foot cliff bangers. Northstar's pow days are super chill, super fun, and super mellow (not to mention uncrowded). And if you want to mix up a little pow slashing with a little park slaying, there's always the Stash.
Speaking of crowds, Northstar has a buttload of them. Sometimes the lift line will extend for what seems like miles (more like at least 20 people BEYOND where the line barriers start) and gapers crowd slopes like they own it. That's the problem with big name resorts like Northstar, especially one that is not as plentiful in acreage as say Squaw and such. The funny thing is, on pow days, there's nobody here. It's like people WANT to come on days when the conditions are bad.
Now, other than the obvious hassle of lift lines, the only other problem I have with the resort is their "family friendly, beginner friendly" bs they put out. I've yet to see a family or beginner that enjoys huge crowds and advanced riders weaving between them and cutting them off. They may have a good learning center, but I learned without much help from resort "school" and seven years later I'm still ripping it. Stay off Northstar, beginners and families, because all they want is your cash.
So is Northstar a resort for everyone? No, absolutely not. But if you're an intermediate to advanced rider who likes getting technical and maybe enjoys a cool day out with a bunch of friends hanging out and messing around,then I'll see you out there.