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Northstar Skiing & Snowboarding Resort Guide

Located in North Lake Tahoe, Northstar is known for its family friendly slopes, well groomed runs, and its terrain parks. This 3,170 acre ski and snowboard area sits between the town of Truckee and Lake Tahoe itself. Beginner and intermediate skiers will love it here, with tons of terrain to choose from. Advanced and expert skiers may opt for the steeps of Squaw Valley, although there is still some fun advanced riding. The village at the base of the mountain is well sized and has a full range of lodging, restaurants, and shopping. Northstar’s accessible terrain and great village make it a popular family ski and snowboard destination.

Mountain Overview

Northstar Ski and Snowboard Area

Northstar is an easy mountain to navigate, with no long traverses or hikes to the good skiing and snowboarding. Beginners will want to hop on the Big Springs Gondola out of the village to access the beginner terrain near the Big Springs Lodge. There are beginner areas here, as well as higher up off of the Arrow express chairlift, on the Lumberjack run.

Intermediate terrain makes up over half of Northstar. With great grooming the options are nearly endless. The Tahoe Zephyr Express is a good place to start. The Comstock Express reaches to Northstar’s 8,610’ summit on Mt. Pluto, there is more to explore up here. Intermediates can also experience Northstar’s backside with a couple runs off of the Promised Land Express and the Martis Camp Express lift on Lookout Mountain. The Vista Express is the home of Northstars well regarded terrain parks, the parks have a nice combination of jumps, rails, and a halfpipe.

Advanced skiers and snowboarders will want to head straight to the the Backside Express and Lookout Mountain. These areas hold fun tree skiing and snowboarding for advanced riders. The Sawtooth Ridge area on the periphery of the ski area boundary will hold fresh powder the longest after a storm.

Mountain Stats & Northstar Trail Map

Northstar Trail Map
 Total Skiable Acres 3,170 Beginner Terrain 13%
 Base Elevation 6,330 Intermeidate Terrain 60%
 Summit Elevation 8,610' Advanced Terrain 27%
 Vertical Drop2,280'Average Annual Snowfall350"
Total Lifts20  

Travel Information & Directions

Driving, Northstar is 15 minutes from Truckee, 45 minutes from Reno, 105 minutes from Sacramento, and just over 180 minutes from San Francisco. This makes Northstar one of the most accessible Lake tahoe ski and snowboard areas. The Reno Tahoe Airport is the closest airport. Several shuttle services run from Reno, the Lake Tahoe region and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Travel Resources:

Travel Directions to Northstar
Northstar Shuttles

Lodging Information

Northstar is owned by Vail Resorts, which means skiers and snowboarders can expect a range of high quality lodging options in the Northstar Village. Various condos and lodges exist, including the Ritz Carlton located at Northstar’s mid-mountain. Truckee is a quick 7 mile drive down from Northstar where visiting skiers and snowboarders can find a more varied lodging choice, including more budget options.
Northstar Lodging Overview

Our Favorite Snowboards for Northstar
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Local Food Picks

Northstar has a very strong offering of foods of all varieties, both on the mountain and in the village. The Lodge at Big Springs is the main day lodge on the mountain, with a full cafeteria. There are tons of options for great food in Truckee and Tahoe City. The River Grill in Tahoe City is a recommended spot for happy hour. Check out the Pastime Club in Truckee for a nice divey spot.
Northstar Dining:

On Mountain DIning
The River Grill
The Pastime Club

Our Favorite Skis For Northstar
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Where to Find Lift Tickets to Northstar?

Lift ticket prices at Northstar are on par with the other large ski and snowboard areas in Lake Tahoe, resorts like Squaw Valley and Heavenly. Skiers and snowboarders can save up to %20 off by buying lift tickets in advance online. Children, teens, and seniors are eligible for discount lift tickets, too. Northstar is included on Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, as well as the Tahoe Local Pass, which includes Kirkwood, Heavenly, and Northstar.
Northstar Lift Tickets

Northstar Weather Information

Alta receives a huge annual average snowfall of 350”, that’s over 29 feet of snow. With its location high in the Sierra mountains, this snow falls nice and deep, perfect for powder skiing. Wind and winter weather can make for some bone-chilling days, so make sure to layer up. The sun also makes plenty of appearances throughout the year, however. If you’re lucky you’ll get a combination of the Sierra powder, and the California sunshine.
Northstar Weather Resources

Northstar Ski Report
With a cute village full of fireplaces and ice rinks, and an easy to navigate mountain Northstar is great family friendly ski and snowboard resort. Skiers and snowboarders looking for extreme steeps may want to look elsewhere, but intermediate and advanced riders will have a great time exploring the 3,170 acres of fun groomers and trees.

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