Meg Dillman thelifeexpert.com

NorthStar Ski resort is the secret hidden gem only the locals have known about for years!

Now, word is getting out there…thanks to people like me who have kids and want to travel to places that no one knows about so that we can tell you!

Northstar is unique.  So many things to do, tucked in such a small area, you feel comfortable, like you are in Mayberry, a small tiny town, where you see the same people, the same workers and really get to know everyone.

A little concerned about the snow since California was having zero rain, we didn’t have to worry when we heard how much there was to do in NorthStar.

We arrived to NorthStar at 1am and were greeted by happy North Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Mountain Resort employees. Who in their right mind is happy that late?  It was a sign of good things to come. Our three bedroom condo was beyond amazing!  3 bedrooms/3 baths, with a kitchen, living room and plenty of space for a family of 5 not to spread out and not get sick of each other.

Stay away from a regular hotel room when skiing….you need space to relax and space to put your ski stuff and a kitchen.  Cause after a long day of skiing, specially with tired kids, the last thing you want to do is come home, drop your stuff, get showered and have to rush to go out again for dinner to feed starving breaking down kids. Well, I don’t anyway.

Below lists all the discoveries I made at NorthStar Village.

My favorite things about NorthStar:
1) The heated walkways makes ice and snow and the possibility of a wipe-out nonexistent!
2) The Grey Carts. Big portable carts to move your ski stuff, luggage, groceries and tired kids from one side of the village to the other.  BRILLIANT!  I’d ski here again for just that nifty luxury!

What to do in at NorthStar Village:
Vail Resorts (the owner of Northstar) has an ingenious way of making their resorts feel liked you’ve been there before, homey, relaxing and comfortable.  They also have a weekly flier telling you all there is to do at NorthStar for the week!  Like a champagne toast, free s’mores by the rink every day at 3:30, what live music will be where, information on childcare, tubing, Village Cinemas and the flier even lists fun events for kids and even better events for parents.

Ice Skating/Roller Skating:
The main area of the village has a ice skating rink (roller skating in the spring/summer) surrounded by a main stage with entertainment, comfortable seating areas around blazing fire pits, an outdoor bar (let me hear you say; “Wow!”), restaurants and bars, ski rental and clothing shops as well as unique fashion clothing stores, and my personal favorite (besides the outdoor bar!): The Villager Candle Shop.  (see below – it needs it’s own paragraph!)

Making Your Own Candle:
Everyone can buy a memento, but how cool is it to MAKE something to take home with you? Make your own memory!  At the Villager Candle Shop you can paint a plate (or other object) with words like, “My skiing trip” or make your own candle!

Trampoline:  Jumping is just what kids like.  If you or your non-skiers need to exert some extra energy, come to the top of NorthStar Village, where ski school drops off all the kids at the end of the day.  Conveniently located there is a bar (tee hee) (for mom and dad) right next to the trampoline!  A great spot to visit to guarantee a good night sleep for the whole family!

Gold Gem Panning:   The whole system looks like it did from photos back in the old days when Gold discovered!  It’s perfect for the young tots who won’t realize or notice that the gems aren’t from the ground but an international store that Northstar gets them from!  I was going to say it’s just for the little kids…till my 15 year old played at the panning area for over an hour without looking at his cell phone once!

Eating at the Village? 

Euro Snack:  This little booth next to the ice/roller rink is delicious!  Serving Belgian waffles (They start with round dough and squish them right there!) and they make the strangest looking (but yummy!) hot dogs I’ve ever seen. French hot dogs!  Anyone can eat a normal hot dog!  But this French thing…is worth buying and sharing with the family!  When it comes to family vacations – new shared experiences create the best memories!  Don’t forget to take a photo!

Euro Crepe:
Another booth from the same company produces delicious looking and tasting Crepes!  My kids shared a S’mores Crepe that looked and tasted so delicious I went back and got my own!  You know something is good when your kids wear half of it on their face.

Rubicon Pizza Company:
I’m from Chicago. I know pizza.  Rubicon Pizza pumps out good pizza!  We tried Cheese (because my kids are unadventurous) and Thai Curry Chicken Pizza (for me and the man) that was so yummy we saved half so we could eat it again the next day!  It tasted even better the next day!  If you visit Rubicon Pizza Company be sure to also try:  Big Mountain Pizza or Fire Roasted Medley Pizza!   Do not get cheese and be boring.  Live a little!  Thank me later.

There are so many delicious places at NorthStar Village that you never have to leave the area!  Course you may not have any money left (as it is expensive like most mountains) But there is even (well…of course!) a Starbucks and those prices are always around the same….whew!

Best Pizza!
If you feel like venturing out of the village, you must go to Truckee for some excellent food at Pizza Bar.   As I mentioned above, I’m from Chicago, I know pizza!  Several locals recommend Pizza Bar to us so we didn’t feel they were in cahoots with each other and took gave it a try.   We were not disappointed.  The food is excellent and their pizzas are cooked in an oval pizza oven that when you look from the side, flames are seen!  A fun delicious place!

Skiing:
Northstar’s typical ski season is mid to late November to sometimes late April. NorthStar is a favorite designation for many local families who’ve been skiing here for generations. Cause it has a homey, down to earth, comfortable feel to it. Not nearly as commercialized as many ski mountains, arriving to the base of the mountain, you feel as if you are sneaking into a undiscovered ski secret as many lines remain light compared to most resorts. Even the staff look happy! From the ski school instructors to the employees working at all the eateries…there seems to be no stress.

One employee told me, “People don’t age when they work on the ski mountain. You can’t tell if someone is 23 or 43.” She’s speaking the odd truth! In discussing the age of an energetic ski school teacher, even his co-workers looked baffled commenting, “Gosh, I don’t know how old he is….no one seems to age at Northstar…you can’t tell if someone is 19 or 39!” And to think, the rest of us all pay for skin care products?

While Northstar Mountain is a more seasoned-skier mountain, it still has plenty of wide open spaces for the novice to the beginner to play and enjoy. Especially the “Park”! Family fun is calling kids of all ages, even my husband (aka my biggest kid) who loves the adrenaline pumping challenges of “The Park” – a fun filled area of jumps, bumps, ledges and edges all offering the opportunity to do cool tricks. My family seemed to lure themselves to this area daily for all the excitement it offered trying the tricks themselves or just watching others!

Did you hear about Park City Utah? Park City will soon be the largest ski resort in the U.S.! Having over 7,300 acres of skiable terrain! This is because they are connecting Canyons and Park City! Wow! Get ready America!

In the meantime….if you love to ski….BOOK Your EPIC pass now http://www.snow.com/epic-pass.aspx.
And ski with Unlimited access to:

Vail
Beaver Creek
Breckenridge
Keystone
Park City
Heavenly
Northstar
Kirkwood
Afton Alps
Mt. Brighton
Arapahoe Basin

 

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