Northstar California Resort: A Huffington Post Travel Ski Resort Guide
Northstar California Resort in California is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Northstar California Resort, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsOn the slopes off the northern shores of Lake Tahoe is Northstar California Resort, a high-end ski resort with posh amenities and steep price tags. The mountain resort, which is 200 miles north of San Francisco, is open year-round and offers a variety of recreational activities during the summer. According to Ann Marie Brown of SkiResorts.com, locals once dubbed the resort "Flatstar" because of its relatively easy runs, but the resort started drawing the attention of snowboarders and other winter daredevils after a major makeover in 2001.
The MountainGuests at Northstar can enjoy 3,170 acres of skiable terrain covered with powdery snow. The resort's snowmaking machines can blanket 50 percent of the skiable acreage. The summit sees an average annual snowfall of 350 inches, allowing for a longer ski season that starts in mid-November and comes to a close in mid-April. The mountain's vertical drop is 2,850 feet. Logger's Loop, a blue square (or more difficult) trail that extends down the mountain's western face, measures 1.4 miles and is the resort's longest run.
Trails And LiftsNorthstar's 97 trails are 60 percent intermediate trails, 27 percent advanced trails and 13 percent beginner trails. Seven of these were designed for glade skiing. The resort's trails can be reached by a total of 20 lifts: two gondolas, one six-pack express, seven quad express chairs, one quad fixed-grip chair, two triple chairs, two tow surface lifts and five magic carpets. Adventurous resort-goers also have access to 344 acres of backcountry terrain in the Sawtooth Ridge, 443 acres of advanced trails on Lookout Mountain, seven terrain parks and a 420-foot pipeline for snowboarders.
In The NewsTwo-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White declared Northstar his primary training ground in August 2011. The Associated Press reports that Northstar entered into a multiyear agreement with the champion snowboarder and skateboarder, who also helps promote sister resorts in California and Colorado. White designed his own 22-foot half-pipe, which is open to the public when he is not using it for training. Some of the resort's special promotions revolve around White's favorite charity, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
CostThe construction of a Ritz-Carlton hotel in 2009 boosted the resort's image as an exclusive getaway for affluent skiers, who pay $91 for a basic lift ticket. Groups of 20 or more enjoy discounted rates and get a free 26th ticket for every 25 skiers. For those planning to ski more than five days during the season, Northstar recommends a full season ski pass, which can be bought for $2,129 for adults aged 23 to 64 years old and $914 for young adults aged 18 to 22. Lessons range from $115 for the cheapest group ski package to $600 for full-day private lessons. Equipment can be rented for as low as $10 for a number of single items and $51 for full-package rental.
Apres-SkiThe apres-ski options are varied, ranging from chocolate cocktails at The Chocolate Bar to gourmet seafood at Mikuni Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar to basic burgers at TC's Pub. At the heart of the village sits a 9,000-foot ice skating rink where visitors can burn off any leftover energy or roast marshmallows over open fires on the pits surrounding the rink. The James Beard Award-winning Chef Traci Des Jardins serves largely French-inspired California cuisine in her Manzanita restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton hotel. Also in the Northstar Village is the Balance Holistic Health Spa. Customers can enjoy relaxing massages, acupuncture, chiropractic and day-spa services to help work out any kinks that may have developed while on the slopes.
WATCH: Northstar California Resort
Snowboarders take on some of Northstar's terrain parks.