NorthStar Ski Resort Tips: An Insider’s Guide to Snowboarding North Lake Tahoe
If you’re into mountain luxury (and who isn’t) Northstar takes your expectations up a notch. While Heavenly is a larger resort, Northstar’s will make you feel pampered.
Northstar is like your wealthy cousin who shreds with a champagne roadie and Cartier gloves.
Here are some of travel tips I picked up during my visit to Northstar Ski Resort:
Watch this video for a 30-second summary of my week snowboarding Heavenly and Northstar at Tahoe before reading the tips below.
Free Parking at Northstar
Free parking is available at Village View Parking and Castle Peak Park & Ride. They have shuttles running continuously throughout the day with a goal that guests won’t have to wait longer than six minutes for a shuttle.
If you have a group, drop off friends and gear while you go park your vehicle at The Auto Drop, for drop-off and pick-up only, located just above the Transit Center shuttle circle at the entrance to the Village at Northstar.
There are also gear wagons that allow you to pile on your gear, and even your kids if you have them, and then leisurely enjoy the stroll through the village. This can be clutch if you came prepared with a roadie of Starbucks and Bailey’s like the best of us.
If you’re willing to spend a little money, you can park in preferred parking for just $20, or $40 during peak season (December 19 – Jan 3, January 18, February 15 – 21).
Skip the Lines at Northstar
The best tip I can give you here is to befriend someone in a grey coat. Apparently there are only 12 people with grey coats that work at the mountain and they’re basically more VIP than Taylor Swift’s girl squad. The rest of the mountain minions will drop everything if they see you approaching with a grey coat.
If you can’t swing befriending a grey coat in a short period of time, my travel tip for using the singles line at Heavenly applies here as well. Just make sure you’re willing to split with your group if needed instead of being the douche that holds everyone up for your own agenda.
If you’re feeling really fancy, consider the Platinum Access Pass. It’s an extra $150 per day per person but gives you unlimited Platinum Priority lift-line access which could save you hours on a crowded weekend. It also gives you access to a seasonal and weekend club lounge area featuring equipment service and refreshments.
Ride the Terrain Park
Northstar has award-winning terrain park that their park crew continually reinvents and reinvigorates with a huge collection of jumps and jibs.
If wider lanes are your thing, head to Lower Grouse Alley off of East Ridge, or challenge your skills on the Backside.
Free Champagne Toast at Tōst
At precisely 2pm, Tost holds a free champagne toast for anyone willing to stop by. Tost is this adorable little outdoor snow oasis located right in the middle of Eagle Ridge Run that has firepits, wool blankets, lounge chairs and bean bags.
Arrive at 1:50 pm because with only 150 glasses available, they are likely to be out by 2:01. Plan about 15 minutes from the bottom of the mountain up to Eagle Ridge Run to be safe.
This was one of the highlights of my day. There’s just something about a mid-day mid-run champagne toast that gives you a greater appreciation for my day… and the resort.
S'mores and Live Music in the Village
Every day at 3:30pm, you can get complimentary s’mores from the village S’moresmobile right next to the 10,000 ft ice skating rink.
Sip on a hot Dirty Snowman cocktail enjoy live music and free ice-skating every evening. There’s also great shopping here including a Burton Store, The North Face and Patagonia.
Eat Lunch at Zephyr Lodge
This is definitely the holy grail (or shall I say holy Vail… hehehe) of Northstar dining. Not only is the food amazing, but it boasts and Asian-fusion menu with floor-to-ceiling views of the Sierra Nevada range.
If you’re a health nut like me, there are plenty of salad options, but you’re hungry AF from all the riding, more filling menu items include the Edggie Veggie (for the vegans/vegetarians out there), the Ahi Sliders or, what they’re known for, build-your-own Asian bowls and spicy Bloody Mary’s.
Zephyr Lodge is located at the top of the Zephyr Express lift and closes by 3pm.
End the Day with a Stargazing Snowshoe Tour
The snowshoe tour was a great end to the perfect day. The stargazing tour was led by astronomer, star guide and poet Tony Berendsen and lasted about 2 and a half hours.
The night sky was hazy when we went, making it difficult to observe the stars, but we still enjoyed a good little hike and the crisp night air.
If you’re a fast-paced person (guilty here), this may not be the best choice for you, and you’ll probably spend some time waiting for the group to catch up, as I did. But if you’re in good company and purchased tiny bottles of wine at the registration desk for your coat pockets like I did, you’ll be happy as a frozen clam.
The tour ends at the Ritz Carlton with hot drinks around a fire pit. And not just your average coffee and tea… they have mulled wine guys. Mulled wine is legit my favorite part of winter.
Make the Most of your EpicDay Pass
The EpicDay Pass can be used at any Vail Resorts. This is not to be confused with the EpicPass, a season pass that covers several top mountains, it’s a card that comes with your lift ticket and lets you reload additional days, track your stats, and access trail maps. Read about all the features of the EpicDay Pass in my last post.