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Northstar-at-Tahoe

These days, it’s easy to forget Northstar was once a Tahoe underdog. Especially when après-ski—after you soared down “seamless groomers,” riffled through powdery woods and hit one of the ultra-hip terrain parks—means getting bubbled by jets in a two-person copper tub at the Ritz-Carlton spa while gazing at big vistas.

Not feeling so ritzy? Enjoy a few drafts around the firepits at the Overlook while the kids skate for free in the Village. Dinner? Epicureans like Manzanita, where San Fran power chef Traci Des Jardins might just visit to admit “I became a chef because I thought it would be a good way to support my dream of being a ski bum.”

Bums whose lifestyles involve less foie gras, however, appreciate slices from Rubicon—and the value-priced “Stay and Ski Free” deals. In other words, Northstar’s trademarked ethos of delivering “a good day” to all and finding fresh ways to do it is working. While some dislike the trek from parking to Village to the actual skiing—and lovers of true double-blacks still should go elsewhere—more converts love the innovative ways this “mellow mountain” turned “top notch resort” delivers great times to many different styles of skiers. Think Beaver Creek meets Deer Valley with a come-one-come-all California attitude. —S.R.

What’s New: Treeskiing skills clinics; new rental fleet; new cool features in The Stash.

Mandatory Run: Lookout Mountain on a powder day.

Don’t Miss: Fresh grilled lunch in the sun with Lake Tahoe views at Summit Deck & Grille.

Dragonfly

Asian fusion at its best.

After skiing at Northstar-at-Tahoe or Alpine Meadows save your appetite for sushi at Dragonfly, where the menu blends Japanese, Thai and Indian influences. This is Asian fusion at its best. Try the plantain-and-panko-encrusted basa fish with a little sake.

dragonflycuisine.com; 530-587-0557

Baxter's

Baxter's
Baxter's
Hyper-local, California cuisine.

Baxter's is run by Mark Estee and JJ Morgan, the owners of the popular Truckee-based Moody’s Bistro Lounge.  They serve up food that focuses on hyper-regional ingredients. “This type of cooking requires more legwork, but it’s healthier and it feels better,” says chef  Estee, who serves regional duck, grass-fed beef and seasonal produce. “You get what’s being harvested now.”

530.562.3200; baxtersbistro.com

Mikuni

Mikuni
mikuni sushi
Stylized sushi in a high-energy location alongside the Village ice rink.

Right in the heart of the village, Mikuni serves up creative, California-style sushi.  Try the Tahoe roll, Tempura vegetables with spicy salmon. 

mikunisushi.com; 530-562-2188

Chocolate Bar

Chocolate Bar

Northstar’s new Chocolate Bar is, well, sweet. At après around the fire pit or late-night at the sleek metallic bar, sip drinks ranging from hot white chocolate laced with peppermint to cocoa amaretto martinis—all made with grand cru chocolates. Pair them with kobe sliders or herb-marinated flatiron steak, or damn the calories and go for the raspberry raviolis or chocolate mud pie. In the Village at Northstar; northstarattahoe.com

Try a delicious chocolate-inspired cocktail along with dinner or dessert.

Northstar’s new Chocolate Bar is, well, sweet. At après around the fire pit or late-night at the sleek metallic bar, sip drinks ranging from hot white chocolate laced with peppermint to cocoa amaretto martinis—all made with grand cru chocolates. Pair them with kobe sliders or herb-marinated flatiron steak, or damn the calories and go for the raspberry raviolis or chocolate mud pie.
Village at Northstar, California | 530.562.1800 | northstarattahoe.com

Manzanita

Manzanita

North-Star-at-Tahoe, California

Set to open in December 2009 in The Ritz-Carlton Highlands. See the menu.

This Northstar-at-Tahoe restaurant is mountain-chic.

San Francisco super-chef/James Bear Award-winner/avid skier Traci Des Jardins raises the local dining scene with Manzanita, in the Ritz Carlton Highlands. The mountain-chic restaurants showcases Des Jardin’s flair in dishes like foie gras terrine with quince chutney.
Lake Tahoe, California | 530.562.3050 | manzanitalaketahoe.com

Garwoods

Garwoods
wet woody
Delicious all year round.

Although Garwoods, located lakeside on Tahoe’s north shore, is primarily a summertime destination—you can dock your boat at the pier and stroll in for a meal—it’s still a nice place to visit mid-winter (and it’s less crowded). They serve brunch, lunch, and dinner. Go for dinner, and order the orange-soy glazed ahi tuna or the rum peppercorn rib eye. You won’t want to miss their signature Wet Woody cocktail, a buzz-inducing concoction of rum and fruity juices (have two and you’ll need to call a cab home).

Cedar House Sport Hotel

Cedar House Sport Hotel
from $170 per room, per night
It’s on the pricier end of our collection of cheap green hotels, but the Cedar House Sport Hotel doesn’t disappoint. A study in green architecture, the hotel has a decidedly unique, earthy design with a European atmosphere. All the exterior siding and logs came from a reforestation project and were milled locally. Grab a drink at the bar in the lobby and soak up the outdoor spa, and admire the roofs with plants growing on top of them.

More Info: www.cedarhousesporthotel.com, More eco-luxury hotels
Built with sustainable cedar wood siding and energy-efficient heating and lighting

Built with sustainable cedar wood siding and energy-efficient heating and lighting, the Cedar House Sport Hotel in Truckee has ski storage, European-style breakfasts, an outdoor hot tub, a full bar, and they allow dogs. Their new on-site private dining room and events center, called Stella, serves Tuscan-inspired dinners and wine tastings most Friday and Saturday nights and has live music. Stay here if you’re skiing Sugar Bowl or Northstar.
[from $170; cedarhousesporthotel.com]

Ritz-Carlton Highlands

Ritz-Carlton Highlands
Ritz Carlton: Northstar-at-Tahoe, Calif.
The first from-scratch hotel in the Tahoe Basin in decades.

The first from-scratch hotel in the Tahoe Basin in decades, the Ritz boasts a ski-in/ski-out midmountain location on Northstar, accessed by gondola from the new village. The 170 guestrooms and suites offer goose-down comforters and fireplaces in every room, but that’s nothing compared to the heat generated by the hotel’s Manzanita restaurant. In her open kitchen, San Francisco chef Traci des Jardins blends French-California flavors with mountain influences. Rounding out the experience is the Highlands Spa, 17,000 square feet of treatment rooms, fitness center and heated outdoor lap pool.

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