Northstar California spending $30 million on the ski resort |

Northstar California spending $30 million on the ski resort

Sam Bauman
For the Nevada Appeal

Northstar California (Northstar-at-Tahoe, as the society pages would put it) is spending $30 million to lift the ski and ride resort up to the top tier of Tahoe destination resorts. Those who go back a decade to Northstar can’t help but be impressed with what has happened there.

No longer a simple one-level mountain village, the resort is now a giant, two-story city complex, complete with an Olympic-sized ice rink and a super-posh Ritz Carlton Hotel tucked away halfway up the mountain in luxurious isolation.

And with the addition of a multimillion-dollar Zephyr Lodge halfway up Pluto Mountain Mardis Camp, Northstar is in the major leagues. The new lodge, due to open Dec.19, will be similar in appearance to Heavenly’s new Tamarack Lodge, which opened last season. It will boast floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking expanses of snow.

And as for the skiing and riding, a couple of years ago Northstar opened a couple of black diamond runs on the back of Lookout Mountain ending with a new Mardis Camp residential area lift. These trails moved Northstar up in the expert venue race. Time was that the best skiing and riding was off the top of the Pluto mountain along a ridge; those trails were labeled black but were actually more of bluish tint.

The Lookout Mountain trails have been expanded to include three intermediate runs, one with plenty of trees for glade skiing and riding. This will open up the area to the less expert folk, who are of course the majority of those on the hills.

Northstar also has reported it will expand the resort boundaries in two areas of the mountain, adding 170 acres of new side-country terrain to the resort’s skiable acreage. Guided side-country tours and snow-cat accessed skiing and riding also will be offered for the first time to advanced skiers and riders who want to explore the resort’s new terrain offering.

“Northstar already had some of the best tree skiing in Tahoe, but with the expansion of our boundaries, skiers and riders will now have access to even more powder stashes and incredible glade skiing,” said Bill Rock, chief operating officer at Northstar Resort. “And, for those interested in learning the ins and outs of these areas with someone more familiar, guided tours will be available both within and outside the resort’s boundaries.”

Snow-cat accessed skiing and riding also will be offered for the first time this year on Sawtooth Ridge, offering access to a popular side-country area that was already included within the resort’s boundary and previously open to advanced skiers and riders when snow conditions permitted. In addition, guided backcountry tours will be available to advanced skiers and riders interested in skiing or riding outside the resort’s boundary on Sawtooth Ridge to a potential area of future expansion, when conditions permit.

The addition of this new terrain provides Northstar Resort guests with access to 3,170 acres of skiable terrain.

Along with all the terrain expansion, Northstar is looking to upgrade its offerings on the mountain and in the Village cuisine. Heading that is Kelly Rodriguez, food and beverage boss. Many new menu items will be offered, and the Village is already peppered with restraints, including one offering Japanese noodles to go.

For those interested in skiing or riding at Northstar all season long, season passes are on sale, starting at just $379 for the Tahoe Value Pass. For more information or to purchase a season pass, visit

A new feature included in the Epic pass is electronic enhancements which record number of runs, total vertical and a new system of photography tied to the pass where photos of the holder will be available after the day’s run.