Northstar — Parks and pipes
If you’re craving serious steeps with sick air, you’ll need to go somewhere else. Northstar is really geared more towards groomed cruising and woods riding with some good bumps through the center of Lookout Mountain.
After a storm, this is one of the prime areas where you can enjoy powder through the trees long after it’s been tracked out at other Tahoe areas. On Lookout Mountain, riders claim Stampede, Gooseneck and Boca are divine. On the Backside, stick to the right side of the area where the trails drop right to the Backside Express Chair. If riders swing to the left down Challenger, they will face a long runout at the bottom of the area. Jibboom and Powder Bowl are some other favorites.
Stay on the front side if you’re like wide-open groomed runs for intermediates and beginners. The terrain here is mellow and will boost your ego. This is a good resort for learning to ride, too.
Parks and pipes
If you like terrain parks and pipes, Northstar is right up your alley. You’ll find six terrain parks (not counting the kids’ Adventure Parks), a 17-foot superpipe and a halfpipe. Some of the parks have scaled-down features for beginners; Magic Moguls will remind you of a parking lot full of snow-covered VW bugs; another is a snake-run with high walls; and Sidewinder and Forerunner runs now host the Burton Progression Park with hits and rails made especially for those learning to ride in the park. The superpipe is on Pipeline. Get a good view of it from the Launch Pad, a patio restaurant where parents can drink microbrews and watch their kids get serious airtime. As for Adventure Parks, they’re adventure zones for kids—pint-size terrain parks scattered across the mountain that include bumps, jumps, hideaways and snow play areas.