Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort ranked No. 16 overall by readers in our 2010 Resort Guide. It’s no accident that this newly “happening spot” with the “best village at a resort in California” keeps leaping higher in the rankings-just as it’s no accident that Northstar’s terrain parks (all eight of them) now rank No. 2. Once a skier’s afterthought, currently the fourth most visited resort in the Far West, Northstar is a continuing realization of a smart, strategic vision.
This winter that means the upmarket crowd can slip into the sparkling new mid-slope Ritz-Carlton for sleepover pampering and culinary decadence while budget-conscious skiers can still get a bed, breakfast and lift ticket for less than $100. Whether lunch means stopping by one of the private clubs tucked around the mountain or grabbing a heaping plate of Mexican at a sunny picnic table, everyone seems delighted to cruise on Northstar’s forested network of high-speed lifts and immaculately groomed (No. 4) boulevards, then gather in the village for a lively and family-friendly aprÃ¨s scene. “Northstar isn’t for extreme skiers,” but this “upscale but not pretentious” resort does deliver.
What’s New: The ski-in/ski-out Ritz-Carlton Highlands opens in December, with 193 guest rooms and suites, chic public lounges and bars, the 17,000-square-foot Highlands Spa and Chef Traci Des Jardins’s restaurant, Manzanita; the new Highlands Gondola connects the Village to the Ritz.
Mandatory Run: Lookout Mountain’s Prosser, top to bottom nonstop, just after it has been groomed