Ski Resort Northstar California Resort in the California Deserts: Position on map

Northstar California Resort

Trail Map Northstar California Resort

The Ski Resort

Although most people associate it with palm trees, beaches and vibrating cities, Californiaalso has some really amazing ski resorts. Northstar is one of them. With nearly 3,200 acres of skiable terrain, 100 trails, 20 lifts and an average snowfall of 350 inches per year it is one of the less crowded ski resorts but has everything a skier could possibly ask for.

With 344 acres of backcountry terrain, it is also perfect for freeski fans. The Californian ski hotspot is a great winter destination for families with outstanding kids parks, a child care center for kids ages two and older and ski schools for all ability levels. The alpine village charm is ever-present and brings together the advantages of the alpine skiing experience and the benefits of a modern American ski resort. Up-to-date speed lifts, mid-mountain huts and great lodges complete the range and will make your visit here enjoyable.

Ski Fun For All Skill Levels

Northstar features 60 % intermediate trails. Start off taking Comstock Express which will give you access to the blue 'West Rigde'. Take 'Home Run' right after and you can ski blues all the way down to the base. 'Blue Dutchman' starts at the summit and boasts a great panorama. The six-pack chair Tahoe Zephyr Express gives you access to a ton of shorter blue trails that still guarantee a blast like 'Northern Lights', 'The Gully' or 'Upper Pioneer'. Choices for skiers with a little more experience under their belt are endless.

Expert skiers appreciate the 7 advanced gladed runs like 'The Camp Glade', 'Sugar Pine Glade', 'Sawill Glade' and many more that are all located at Mt Pluto and are serviced by Promised Land Express and Backside Express. Lookout Mountain holds some pretty challenging black trails as well. Grab Martis Camp Express to find runs like 'Sugar Pine Glade' and 'Gooseneck'. If conditions allow, you can hit the off-piste terrain 'Lookout Glade'. The quad Comstock Express also brings you up to the summit of Mt Pluto and gives professionals the possibility to hit the Backside.

With 13% beginner trails, there's also a number of green runs to choose from. Big Springs Gondola takes you mid-mountain and beginners can start here by hitting the 'Village Run' and many others. If you decide to go a little higher, the Arrow Express will whisk you up the mountain in just 3.5 minutes. Here you'll find a ton of greens like 'Lower Main Street' and 'Lumberjack'. So beginners are definitely not restricted to the lower part of the mountain.

A Freestyler's Paradise

Home base to snowboard superstar Shaun White, Northstar is pretty well-known among freestylers and snowboarders. The resort boasts seven terrain parks and a huge half pipe. The parks are designated as small, medium or large to give an orientation for first-time visitors what difficulty level each one has.

Burton Progression Park, located on the Mountain Sidewinter is a great start for beginners and is termed small and medium. Moonshine, which is tagged small, is mostly used as a family park and has some awesome features for the little ones. The Straits is on every professionals to-do list, being the most challenging park at Northstar. Pinball, designated as medium and large always brings tons of fun through the ever-changing features. The Stash, with small and medium challenges is the only all-natural terrain park. Riperoo Rislet Park, is for snowboarders aged 4 to 6 who want to get into the world of freestyle.


Interesting facts

  • Offering 3168 acres of slopes and terrain, Northstar California Resort is among the 15 largest Ski Resorts in the USA.
  • Northstar California Resort is among the 5 best rated Ski Resorts in California.
  • It is among the 5 most family-friendly ski Resorts in California.
  • The vertical drop from summit to base is 2280 ft. The average difference in altitude between base and summit of Ski Resorts in the USA is 1227 ft. Most runs are therefore relatively long. The highest point of the track is 8609 ft above sea level.
  • During the season the average snow depth at Northstar California Resort is 90 ". Snow coverage is usually best during March, offering an average base depth of 110 ". Therefore Northstar California Resort is among the 10 ski Resorts with best snow conditions in California.
  • Northstar California Resort features 70 sunny days on average per season. The average for all ski Resorts in the USA is 61 sunny days. December is the sunniest month with an average of 16 sunny days. This makes the ski resort one of the 10 sunniest in California.

Snow Safety & Snowmaking

Snowmaking Share

On Mountain Dining

Your taste buds will be fully satisfied by the choices of restaurants you find at Northstar. Euro Snacks ia located at the base of the Lodge at Springs Deck, and at mid-mountain. At mid-mountain you can also get fresh crepes, coffe, snacks and cold drinks to stay or take away. The Summit Deck &Grille, located on the top of Mt Pluto boast a breathtaking panorama and features sandwiches, salads and soups to offer. Hungry skiers get there on Comstock Express or the Backside lifts.

Zephyr Lounge at mid-mountain is also beckoning you in for a break. Here you'll get the best burgers on the mountain and other typical American fare. Chilly Peppers Mexican grille is the right spot if you are craving spicy Mexican food. The Lodge at Big Springs features a beautiful indooor and outdoor area and you can come here for breakfast already.

Must-Ski Runs

With 1.4 miles 'Logger's Loop' is the longest run in the area. It's off the Vista Express and thanks to snowmaking facilities you can hit this one all winter long. If you consider yourself among expert skiers, you should not miss out on the Backside trails with loads of bumps and well-groomed runs.

Longest Runs

Length: 2.5 miles
Vertical Drop: 2283.5 ft


Seize the Season at Northstar California
Destination: Northstar
The Backside is skiing well with Burnout


The village of Northstar has a ton of things to do apart from skiing. You can rent roller skates for a small amount of money, for example. Bungee Trampoline, ice-skating, watching a movie at the local movie theater or just strolling around town and the cute little shops are a blast for everyone. If your muscles are sore from all the skiing, you can pay a visit to Balance Holistic Health Spa. Here you can get relaxing massages, body treatments and facials. Yoga classes are available as well.

On the mountain you have the possibility to go tubing on the 200 yard hill. You could also book different kinds of snowshoe tours like the 'Star Gazing Snowshoe Tours' or the 'Twilight Snowshoe Tour'. Get more information about it at the Cross Country, Telemark + Snowshoe Center right next to Vista Express chair.


Après-Ski and Nightlife

Tons of bars line the village of Northstar, like Tavern 6630 right at the Big Springs Gondola, which is a great place to bring your kids as well. TC's Pub is more of a sports bar with huge Flatscreen TVs to catch up on main sports events and enjoy some real American food. The name of The Chocolate Bar speaks for itself: On the menu you'll find all kinds of dishes with white, milk and dark chocolate. But it doesn't stop there, it is also a good place to come for cocktails and mixed drinks. The Outdoor Cabana Bars at the ice skating rink and the Overlook Bar above the ice Skating Rinks are also a good hangout for happy hour.

You will find options mid-mountain as well. The Lodge at Big Springs with a huge outdoor deck is one example. Here you can enjoy the good old combo of beer and burger and it is usually pumping by 4 pm.

Dining and Restaurants

Northstar Village is a true paradise for foodies with high standards. The Chocolate Bar is a great place for après-ski but also for special desserts. Mikuni Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar has all your Asian favorites on the menu and you'll get the best sushi in town. Petra boasts a comfortable atmosphere and a huge wine card. Tapas and Mediterranean specialties are a great match to the fantastic Californian wine.


Getting here

By car
From Sacramento it's just 111 miles, from Reno 37 miles, and from San Francisco 194 miles. Parking is available close to the trails and you can choose between limited free parking, valet parking and fee-based parking.

By Public Transportation
From the San Francisco Bay area you can take public bus lines like the Bay Area Ski Bus or the North American Charter several times a week and guaranteed on the weekend.
From South Lake Tahoe you can also take a Northstar Shuttle and pay $15 for a roundtrip per person. Between December and February you can also book a bus between Reno and Northstar.
From North Lake Tahoe you can easily call a shuttle at any time you desire and it costs only $4 per person.

By plane
Reno-Tahoe Airport and Sacramento Airport are both fairly close. The Bay Area airports are also an option. Shuttles and taxis are running between the airports and Northstar.

About the author
last update on Sep 1, 2023
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Village at Northstar Information
5001 Northstar Drive


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Mountain Stats

Elevation6329 ft - 8609 ft
Opening DayNov 17, 2023
Closing DayApr 14, 2024
Capacity 35502 Persons/Hr.
Hours9:00 AM - 4:00 PM


Total 20

Skiable Terrain

3168 acres
Green Circle
Blue Squared
Black Diamond
Double Diamond
Overall Slope Area 3168 acres
Number of Slopes 100

Weather (7700 ft)

Open Lifts & Trails


1 day adult $269
1 day youth $221
1 day child $159
All rates & fees