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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.

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.

How To Ski: Clinics

How To Ski: Clinics
NASTC Clinic
A single-day lesson always helps, but to truly transform your skiing takes a commitment of time and energy. Here are our favorite multi-day immersion clinics that will finally take you to the next level. From Vail to Vermont, the list includes a resort near you.

Click on a camp below, and prepare yourself to get better. Much better.


Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Steep and Deep Clinic: Jan. 13-16, Jan. 27-30, Feb. 10-13, March 3-6, 2010


Win a Family Ski Getaway!

Win a Family Ski Getaway!
Family Getaway Contest Image
Tell us why your family deserves to win a free ski vacation. And make it a really good reason, because next month SKI readers will vote for their favorite entries. The three lucky families with the most votes will win vacations to Smugglers' Notch, Steamboat and Northstar-at-Tahoe.

Ski Magazine wants to offer you and your family a dream vacation! Imagine carving turns down a pristine mountain, enjoying a relaxing soak in an alpine hot tub, and curling up with loved ones in front of a crackling fireplace. This is your chance to make memories you’ll treasure for a lifetime.  Ready to enter?  Here’s how:

Step 1:

Ultimate Guide to Tahoe: Essay

Ultimate Guide to Tahoe: Essay
Squaw Valley: Essay
With some 24,000 acres of lift-serviced terrain, 160 lifts and 15 ski areas overall, the Tahoe Basin is the stuff that skiers' dreams are made of.

This article appeared in the December 2009 issue of SKI.

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 (

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