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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.

Traveler Notes: What's Cookin'?

Traveler Notes: What's Cookin'?
Araxi fare
Introducing the hottest new tables in ski country this season.

Aspen, Colo.  Atop town landmark Explore Booksellers, newly styled Escape mixes chef Johnny Alamilla’s sustainable, veggie-centric cuisine with top-notch mountain views (970-925-5338). Gusto, sister to local fave Campo de Fiori, has morphed into Gisella, specializing in regional Italian dishes (gisellaaspen.com).

[ Thu, 2009-08-27 12:45 ]
Powder days aren't too far off.
Lock in savings now by purchasing your lift tickets and season passes before the snow flies.

Today’s Reminder: It’s time to do more than just dream about the upcoming ski season. Virtually all resorts offer savings—often significant—if you buy your lift tickets or season passes before the snow flies. Here are links to several of the major resort operators. Or just go online to your favorite hometown hill’s website and check out the preseason deals. Happy trails.
 

Northstar Rising

With private clubs and loyalty rewards, family packages and immaculate grooming, upscale lodging and cutting-edge terrain parks, this little-known Tahoe gem is quietly becoming the Deer Valley of the Far West.

“You’re coming to town and you’re going to Northstar?” my Tahoe friends cough in disbelief. To them—all hard-skiing locals—Northstar-at-Tahoe’s steadily surging popularity (No. 3 for skier visits in all of Tahoe) is hard to comprehend. It has no signature steeps, a la Squaw Valley or Kirkwood. It lacks the big, in-your-face views of Heavenly, offering glimpses of Lake Tahoe from only one sliver of its summit. It has none of the rugged topographical drama so signature to the basin. It’s the un-Tahoe, and my friends want no part of it—at least not on skis.

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