On the way to Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, we went around the east side of the lake catching some great views of the sun edging up and lighting the snowcaps. The north end of Lake Tahoe comes to life early since it is a working, year round community and it was good we gave ourselves extra time for the hour drive.
The Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort access road and parking area were both getting crowded and I'm sure this was because of school recess and especially during the holiday week when we visited. So, if you have a carload you might want to consider paying at the preferred parking area which is within easy walking distance of the Northstar village.
Village at Northstar
I've always felt something welcoming about the skating rink and warming area that are the centerpiece of the Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort village. Skating is free, skate rentals are only $5, and the open fire pits in the warming area accent the family and friends feeling of the entire resort.
There are over ten eateries in Village at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort on two levels. Options range from Belgian waffles to French hot dogs to a sit down gourmet restaurant with an extensive wine list. Although we had planned to lunch at the Summit Deck and Grille we ended up eating at Earthly Delights and enjoying two filling paninis.
My daughter did some window shopping at the galleries and jewelry stores. Then we searched out the Northstar Logo Company for a couple of hoodies and tees as souvenirs.
Skiing Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort
Once in the Village at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort, your day trip needs are conveniently located so you can get on the slopes with minimum delay. We easily found the day locker area, ticket sales, the all inclusive children's center, and the adult rental facilities on the lower level.
Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort has a very readable and easy to follow trail map. Take a minute to peruse the map before heading out. You'll get a good idea of what and where you can ski based on ability.
The terrain parks and the half and super pipes are high quality and nationally rated. In fact, Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort is home to the first of the famous Burton designed parks known as "The Stash" of which there are only five worldwide.
High-Up Trails For All Abilities
Mt. Pluto and the Northwest Territory both offer beginners and intermediates the opportunity to get up to some nice easy cruisers. Yet, Mt. Pluto also offers nice drop-in black diamond runs, which my daughter and I found come one after the other and make for nice lapping off the Rendezvous and Comstock Express chairs.
While we toured around as much of Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort as we could take in. The Mt. Pluto area lets the whole family ski all day using East Ridge, then meeting at the Summit Deck and Grille for lunch. My daughter and I got our photo taken here by one of the professional photographers with a cool view of Lake Tahoe in the background.
Lookout Mountain loops all intermediate and advanced trails off the Maris Camp Express. There are large areas of expert glades to access when the conditions allow and we got some great views and photo of the Martis Valley.
The Backside - Black Diamond Delight
With only one intermediate trail cut in this black diamond forest, the Backside will have your thighs burning quickly - think 8 one mile runs. When we were here there hadn't been a major storm in about a week, but the fact that Northstar is nestled out of the major wind path means the snow stays fresh.
The snow and the excellent grooming operations at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort make the Backside a major draw. On at least three occasions my daughter and I were asked how to get to the Backside.
The Word is Out
The quality of the snow, the grooming the terrain parks and pipes, and the family-friendly atmosphere all over the mountain has gotten out to the ski world - as well it should.
People are coming to Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort from near and far. One of the fellow guests that asked directions to the Backside was from the Phillipines and was here particularly to ski the Backside.
Another testament to Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort's offerings is that people are coming and staying. There is a huge increase in really nice vacation homes being built in the area and for a real stamp of approval - the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe Luxury ski-in/ski-out resort has opened at Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort this year.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary lift tickets for the purpose of reviewing those services. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.