Truckee resort a star attraction
- Details: Northstar has grown considerably since its debut in the historic lumber town of Truckee four decades ago, when it was referred to as the “Timber Farm.” Now part of the Vail Resorts family, it boasts 97 trails, 20 lifts and seven terrain parks spread over 3,170 acres, plus a $55 million village area with 35 shops and restaurants. On Dec. 22, the resort will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a party hosted by Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, a Northstar team athlete.
- New for 2012-13: A 22-foot superpipe, which was designed by White; an on-mountain restaurant, Zephyr Lodge; high-speed chairlift; and two intermediate ski trails on part of the mountain referred to as The Backside are among $30 million in recent improvements.
- Best lift deal: The lowest price for lift tickets is available through the PEAKS 3-Day Advance ticket, when purchased at least three days in advance online at www.northstarcalifornia.com/tickets or through Vail Resorts Central Reservations. With the PEAKS 3-Day Advance, skiers and riders can save up to 25 percent vs. the window rate.
- Snowmaking: Available on half the terrain, supplementing 350 inches of average annual snowfall.
- After dark: There is no night skiing/riding.
- Hidden gem: The Woods ski trail. “It’s one of my personal favorites to take at the end of the day when you’re ready to return to the Village at Northstar,” said Jessica VanPernis, resort spokeswoman. “What I love about it is it’s rarely used. You can still find fresh corduroy toward the end of the day (and it pops you out pretty much right at the village). To access the run, take the Vista Express chairlift to the Logger’s Loop ski trail, then jump on The Woods.
- Spotted last season: Two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White is a regular at Northstar, his home mountain and primary training resort. Elena Hight, a two-time Olympian, and Chas Guldemond also are on the resort’s pro team and train here. Other regulars include amateur skier Aspen Spora and snowboarder Toby Miller, who are both 12 years old and were featured in the Warren Miller movie, “Flow State.”
- Phone, website: 530-562-1010, www.northstarattahoe.com
- Social connections: Twitter, Facebook
- Where to stay: Offering deluxe one- and two-bedroom accommodations mid-mountain is The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe (530-562-3000, www.northstarattahoe.com/info/ski/trip-planning/ritz_carlton.asp), which has 170 rooms and ski-in/ski-out access. Guests can connect to the nearby Village at Northstar via the inter-mountain Highlands Gondola.
- Eats at the resort: The new Zephyr Lodge — with its open floor plan, large timbers and a huge window wall offering spectacular mountain views — has a variety of menu options including a Napa salad bar, gourmet pizza and specialty soups and sandwiches.
- Eats nearby: In Truckee, Moody’s (530-587-8688, http://moodysbistro.com) has a Zagat-rated menu and wine list with live music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; Pianeta Ristorante (530-587-4694, http://pianetarestaurant.com) is an acclaimed Italian restaurant with authentic-looking European décor and ambience. For dining on the lake, Gar Woods Grill & Pier (530-546-3366, www.garwoods.com) offers a casual dining experience at Carnelian Bay, and Wolfdale’s (530-583-5700, www.wolfdales.com) in Tahoe City is more of a fine-dining experience.
- Après-snow hotspot: Tavern 6330’ in the Village at Northstar cooks up American grill fare in a family friendly, cozy atmosphere. Micro brews and signature cocktails are available, and on the patio there are fire pits for staying warm and making s’mores.
— Jerry Rice