A STAR IS BORN
A Star is Born - Luxury Travel Magazine
A Star is Born
|By: Jenny Caspersonn, Issue 48 – Spring 2011|
|THE WASHOE INDIANS CALLED IT THE “LAKE OF THE SKY” BUT FOLLOWING ITS RE-DEVELOPMENT BY VAIL RESORTS, NORTHSTAR AT LAKE TAHOE WILL BE A SHINY NEW STAR IN THE CALIFORNIAN SKY. JENNY CASPERSONN PREVIEWS ITS US$30 MILLION CAPITAL WORKS PROGRAM THAT WILL BE READY FOR SKIERS BY SEASON OPENING IN NOVEMBER THIS YEAR.|
California is a place Australians generally equate with beaches, surfing and Hollywood. But up in northern California, where the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe meet the foothills of the Sierra Nevada ranges, are some of the most scenic ski fields in North America. Vail Resorts, well known for its glamour ski fields in Colorado, purchased Heavenly Resort on the southern shores of Lake Tahoe where the states of California and Nevada collide, in 2002. Now a shiny new star has been added into the Vail Resorts firmament.
Northstar-at-Tahoe was acquired by Vail Resorts in October 2010. Situated on the northwestern shores of the Lake, Northstar is a glowing addition that is drawing obvious comparisons with its better-known Colorado cousin, Beaver Creek. Although Northstar opened in 1972, substantial development really only commenced there in the mid 1990s. A US$55 million base area village was completed in late 2008 with retail, restaurants and a conference centre. A 9,000-square-foot skating rink is rimmed with cozy fireside conversation pits, perfect for an après get together. The resort’s 3,000 acres of terrain includes 93 ski trails, seven terrain parks and invites a range of snow sports including cross-country skiing, snowboarding, alpine and Telemark skiing, tubing and snowshoeing.
The place has the look and feel of a well-designed, quality resort catering to all levels of skiers and boarders and with a particular emphasis on Ritz-Carlton opened there in late 2009 visitors seeking the deluxe ski in ski out hotel experience were delighted. The hotel features the welcome convenience of a ski valet service and fine dining in Manzanita Restaurant with its delicious seasonal Californian cuisine, while the Ritz-Carlton Spa ensures a premier slope-side spa experience.
The Tahoe region receives massive dumps from the Pacific snowstorms so offers an impressively long season from mid November to late April.
With the promise of 300 days of sunshine a year and the gorgeous Lake Tahoe vistas, it’s a winning combination. This year, seven feet of powder fell in the last week of March. Luxury Travel Magazine’s April visit was perfect blue-sky skiing with snowfalls continuing at night. And while there’s snow aplenty, it’s at a relatively low elevation which is good news for those prone to altitude sickness. Vail Resorts is nearing completion of a comprehensive US$30 million capital works program. By season opening on 18 November, 2011 the improvements will include a new detachable high speed quad chair which will increase the skiable terrain by around 10 per cent with two new trails accessing intermediate and advanced terrain on “The Backside” of the mountain, a region known for its exciting uninterrupted trails and gladed tree skiing. More gladed trails means more skiing as skiers are protected from any weather by the tree cover.
On the top of Mount Zephyr, a new Lodge will provide restaurant seating for 700 patrons. Under the supervision of two-time Olympic medalist snowboarder and skateboarder Shaun White – who recently named Northstar his home mountain and primary training resort - a new 22 foot half pipe will be built this winter. At the base village there’ll be expansion of the existing dining and retail tenants including popular mountain wear retailers Burton and Patagonia.
Lake Tahoe boasts the most concentrated area of ski fields in North America and Ski Tahoe North’s Interchangeable Lift Ticket is accepted at seven alpine ski resorts there including Northstar-at-Tahoe, Alpine Meadows, Diamond Peak, Homewood Resort, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl. Better still, as part of Vail Resorts, Heavenly and Northstar are included in the Vail Resorts Epic Pass that provides unlimited, unrestricted access to seven resorts: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar-at-Tahoe and Arapahoe Basin at only US$649 (about A$626). Visitors to Northstar and Heavenly Resort will also experience EpicMix, Vail Resorts’ award-winning app that provides skiers and riders with a new way to record and share their ski experience with others tracking vertical feet, days skied and sharing photos from the mountain.
The Washoe Indians described Lake Tahoe as the “The Lake of the Sky”. It’s the second deepest in North America with a visibility of 25 metres into its sparkling blue depths. The lake is a standout summer destination with boating, fishing, wake boarding and kayaking. Its 120 kilometres of shoreline and the surrounding Sierra Nevada ranges provide endless opportunities for mountain biking, horse riding, hiking and golf. Festivals celebrating the arts, crafts, music, food and wine continue until the snow starts falling and the winter festivities can begin again.
|Lake Tahoe is approximately 30-45 minutes from Reno and around three hours drive from the Bay Area of San Francisco. From outside Northern California, Lake Tahoe is accessible by any of four airports: Reno-Tahoe International, Sacramento, Oakland or San Francisco.|
United flies direct from Sydney to San Francisco daily, with fares starting from US$1,975 (about A$1,923) return for economy class and US$8,686 (about A$8,457) return for business class fares.
From San Francisco, United runs connections to Reno-Tahoe International with fares starting from US$198 (about A$193) return for economy class.
|For more information visit:|
|northstarattahoe.com, skiheavenly.com, epicpass.com, snowusa.com.au|