Northstar California

Mountain steepness for a once-a-year, barely intermediate skier:  A

On-mountain food:  NA (didn’t eat there)

Lack of Crowds: C


Northstar, on the northwestern side of Lake Tahoe, struck me as very family-oriented; I saw many young kids at this resort and at lunchtime, nearly every table was filled with families eating together.  The green runs were gentle enough for a newbie like me, but a little too crowded for my taste.  If kids come here to learn, and there are only so many green runs, then the green runs get pretty crowded.

One nice thing about Northstar is that many of the blacks are situated on one side of the mountain, so the better skiers have their own area to ski on.  Likewise, the blues and greens on the front side of the mountain are not too steep, but it can get crowded on weekends.

Previous to Tahoe, we had only skied in Salt Lake and Colorado, and had always parked right in front of the ski resort with no problem.  You can usually see the runs right from the parking lot.  At Northstar, parking is quite a ways from the actual runs, and you take a parking lot shuttle to the Village at Northstar base.  A typical resort village, there are shops and restaurants, but you’re still not near any run.  You buy your lift tickets here, then take a gondola up to what I consider the actual skiing base of Northstar.  There’s another day lodge here, and that’s where I saw so many families and kids having their lunches.  At the end of the day, you take the Village Run all the way back down to the Village base.  It’s one of the gentlest runs I’ve ever been on, and was already a bit slushy when we there in early April.

Most of the runs at Northstar are between evergreens, so it’s very pretty, as opposed to the bare, open bowl look at some other Lake Tahoe resorts.  And the runs aren’t that steep; I would just suggest going midweek to avoid the crowds.