First Timer’s Guide to Skiing Northstar


We know you did a bit of Googling and researching before you decided to ski Northstar on your trip. Out of the 15 resorts in Lake Tahoe, Northstar offers a high end, and playful feel for a ski vacation. Just 15 miles from Incline Village, 7 miles from Truckee, and 18 miles from the famous Sand Harbor, Northstar is central to many of our favorite areas in Lake Tahoe. Maybe you came for the high end experience. Or maybe you came for the powder runs that seem to stay just a little longer. Or maybe you wanted to use your Epic pass. But no matter what reason you chose to ski at Northstar, we promise you’ll have a one of a kind experience on your ski vacation.

If this is your first time visiting one of California’s favorite resorts, we’re going to point you out to the best runs, best place for a drink, and the best winter wonderland activities for the days when your quads need a break after skiing that creamy North Lake Tahoe powder all day long.

Where to Stay

North Lake Tahoe has plenty of options for lodging. But really, if it fits in the budget for this trip, staying at the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe is everything you think it will be. We promise. Rated as one of the best ski hotels by Forbes, staying at the Ritz is an experience all on it’s own. With incredible dining options before you hit the slopes, and beautiful pools on the side of the mountain to soak tired muscles after a day of skiing, and an ice rink and smores station for the family- this hotel is a destination.

If the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe isn’t in your budget, check out an AirBnb! Carnelian Bay and Incline Village offer several modern and beautiful AirBnbs for your whole family/​party. Plus side? You’ll have a kitchen to host your own apres!

Where to Eat

From high end dining, to local hidden-gem-dives, you’ll enjoy your meal almost as much as the skiing. If you want an experience, head into the Ritz and go to Manzanita. This is truly a fine dining experience, with rustic, local cuisine. After a day of skiing, if you want a quick bite or a snack, head to the village! The crepes at Euro Snack or a slice at Rubicon are the perfect ways to replenish some calories and enjoy the beauty of the mountains. If you want to eat like a local, you’re going to head into Incline Village and eat at T’s Mesquite Rotisserie. Just trust us. The T’s burrito is worth the drive. 

Now the best drink when you ski at Northstar can be found along the East Ridge Trail each afternoon. Time stands still for just a moment every afternoon at 2PM as skiers enjoy a complimentary champagne toast just off the trail at Northstar’s mountain top bar, TOST. Take in the view, toast your friends, and relax for a moment before clicking back into your bindings and skiing down the mountain.

Most Importantly: Where to Ski

Northstar truly caters to every type of skier on the mountain. Whether this is your first time on skis, or whether you love to seek out steep, technical side country terrain, you’ll find something that you love. Beginners will love to ski Big Easy. At the end of the day, beginners will have no problem taking Village Run to get back to the hotel. If you’re looking for intermediate terrain, you’ll find plenty of steeper blues and blacks on the backside. In fact, 60% of the runs are made just for you, falling into the intermediate category. While there are plenty of groomed runs at Northstar, don’t be fooled at thinking this is a beginner’s mountain. Because it certainly has terrain that will make even the most advanced skiers heart rate pick up. Northstar is particularly well known for its steep, glade skiing. Enjoy!

Winter Wonderland Activities

Now, it’s good to go with the realistic expectation that you might not be skiing bell to bell every day of your trip. Planning a few fun activities in the area is a perfect way to give your legs a rest and enjoy the beauty of the area. Because of North Lake Tahoe’s geography, you can often find warmer”, dry days during the winter. We love going to Sand Harbor State Park and seeing the crystal clear, turquoise water (you’ve likely seen this spot in photos- it’s often used as the image for Lake Tahoe Tourism. If you’re looking for a bit of nightlife, head into Truckee, just 7 miles away. Truckee is magical and historic and beautiful any time of year, but if you’re lucky enough to be there around the holidays, you’ll especially enjoy it’s community charm. 

Northstar is one of our favorite mountains, and we are looking forward to helping you out this winter. Want to read about how we have served others? Here are some reviews! Enjoy your summer, and we’ll see you on the slopes in a few months.

Keep up with our blog!

Receive a notice any time a new blog is posted

Planning a trip to Northstar/​Truckee?

We deliver ski and snowboard rentals to all lodging accommodations in Northstar/​Truckee