By Susan Reifer Ryan
Manicured slopes, powdery tree-skiing, laid-back ease, and low-key pampering: This is where mountain sophistication and relaxed High Sierra style rendezvous in the evergreens.
Northstar is among America’s 10 largest ski areas, yet it often feels like a private playground.
That’s not to say it isn’t lively: Seven terrain parks hop and pop with tricksters and athletes.
Music plays, marshmallows roast, couples carom on the ice rink, and skiers and riders settle into Adirondack chairs and clink fireside toasts.
And why not?
They’re likely steps away from their slopeside lodging or perhaps the free shuttle that deploys every six minutes for a seamless après experience.
Manzanita at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe delivers seasonal California cuisine tailored for mountain appetites.
The chef’s table seats up to eight for a close-up look at the mastery of chef de cuisine Jeremy Grossman.
A True Craftsman
At Stella in nearby Truckee, Chef Jacob Burton marries modernist methods with classic, labor-intensive techniques like handcrafting charcuterie and cultivating yeasts for his breads.
Located 15 minutes from Northstar in historic downtown Truckee, Restaurant Trokay crafts French-influenced cuisine with molecular flair in a century-old space rendered rustic-sleek.
Don’t miss dessert: Coffee frozen into a virtual latte that’s dazzled with salted caramel powder and itty-bitty donuts.
The long, sustained rollers of Promised Land (for intermediates) and The Backside (for stronger skiers) are the places to get away from it all while racking up lap after lap.
Powder tree-skiing is a connoisseur’s pursuit, and Northstar’s 900-plus acres of in-bounds glades deliver Tahoe’s best.
Intermediates can weave in and out of the glades that flank the runs of Promised Land, while experts should head straight to the less-trafficked Lookout Mountain (complete with thigh-burning angles) to explore Lookout Glades (to the far left of Prosser), Sugar Pine Glades (between Boca and Martis, below Upper Martis), and the woods between Prosser, Stampede, Gooseneck, and Boca.
During holiday times, if you’re not skiing with an instructor, add a Fast Pass to your lift ticket to jump to the front of the line.
With a dedicated concierge and private lounge, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe’s fifth-floor Club Level is like a boutique hotel within the fully-equipped, 170-room, slopeside mountain lodge.
The two- to four-bedroom condominiums of Constellation Residences epitomize modern, mountainside luxury and offer privacy and service to boot.
The smart, dedicated staff can expertly customize your trip from start to finish.
Tahoe Luxury Properties offers outstanding concierge services in stand-alone settings.
Ask for a slopeside location in the Highlands, or inquire about the exclusive Martis Camp, which links to Northstar’s slopes by a dedicated lift.
Arrange a private tasting at your vacation home or condo with the help of Petra, a wine-centered eatery.
Make laps on Lookout Mountain or the Backside before the mountain opens to the public, then dig into a lavish brunch buffet at Northstar’s on-mountain Zephyr Lodge
, available on select Saturdays.
Soak It Up
The soothing Ritz-Carlton Spa, Lake Tahoe brings the outdoors inside for a sleek escape into forest-flanked serenity.
Reserve the private treatment room, with side-by-side massage tables and a bubbling copper tub for two, or the Cabin, a hidden inner sanctum styled like a cozy log lodge.