Discover the world through travel & beyond!

9 Cool Things to Do at Northstar Ski Resort with Kids at Lake Tahoe

Travel Mamas sometimes receives compensation and/or hosted travel and sample products related to blog posts. This story may include affiliate links for which we receive a small commission at no extra cost to consumers.

Skiing may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you picture a California vacation, but maybe it should be. Northstar California at Lake Tahoe offers a wintry wonderland of fun for the whole family. Check out all there is to see, do and eat at Northstar Ski Resort with kids in winter.

9 Cool Things to Do at Northstar Ski Resort with Kids

1. Nordic Skiing and Snowboarding

Of course, the primary reasons to visit Northstar Ski Resort with kids in winter are nordic skiing and snowboarding. Northstar boasts over 3,000 skiable acres – with trails for skiers of all skill levels. Hate waiting to hit the slopes? Pay an extra $150 per day for Platinum Access to skip the lift lines.

Even if you’re an expert skier, I recommend signing your kids up for at least one day of lessons. Whether it’s their first time on the slopes, or they’re seasoned skiers, lessons from the patient and knowledgeable Northstar instructors will help them get their ski legs and confidence. Plus, kids tend to take direction better from adults who are NOT their parents!

Love the complimentary carts at Northstar for transporting skis and...other stuff!

Love the complimentary carts at Northstar for transporting skis and…other stuff! (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Beginner, intermediate and advanced ski and snowboarding lessons are available for adults as well as children. You can choose private or group lessons. For smaller group sessions, choose Ultimate Four, for which the maximum group size is limited to four students. There are even special group sessions, called Her Mountain, just for intermediate and advanced adult women skiers and boarders. You can book lessons online, but to make sure you book the right class for you and your family members, I suggest calling Northstar 800-GO-NORTH.

If tricks and jumps are your family’s thing, you’ll flip for Northstar California’s terrain park. It was named the third best in the nation by USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice survey.

Skiing Northstar Ski Resort with kids

Uncle Mike skiing with my kids at Northstar Ski Resort (Photo credit: Travel Mamas)

2. Cross Country Skiing, Telemark Skiing & Snowshoeing

Mid-mountain, your family can explore cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Equipment rental, trails and lessons are available at the Cross Country, Telemark and Snowshoe Center.

For a different snowy activity, try snowshoeing at Northstar Ski Resort with kids

For a different snowy activity, try snowshoeing at Northstar Ski Resort with kids (Photo courtesy of Northstar California)

3. Fat Biking

The latest snow sport craze is fat biking. Large tires enable riders to explore the mountain on two wheels. You can rent fat tire bikes from the Cross Country, Telemark & Snowshoe Center. Want to learn more? Read this Huffington Post article that sings the praises of biking on snow.

Take the gondola to mid-mountain for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking at Northstar Ski Resort with kids

Take the gondola to mid-mountain for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

4. Snow Tubing

Snow tubing provides the exhilaration of soaring down the mountain, without skis. Northstar Ski Resort offers lift-accessed snow tubing for riders 36″+. Be sure to call in the morning (530-562-2013) to check to see if conditions are good for snow tubing. The tubing hill may shut down if conditions are too icy or slushy.

 

My son warming up by the fire at the ice rink in the Village at Northstar

My son warming up by the fire at the ice rink in the Village at Northstar (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

5. Explore the Village at Northstar

There’s something so whimsical and quaint about exploring a ski village, especially one as pretty as North Star’s. There are 15 shops to explore at the Village at Northstar. Most appealing to children will be Ambassador Toys, which overflows with games and goodies for kids. Kids will also appreciate the Villager Candle Shop, Pottery & More, where families can make their own candles, paint pottery and even stuff their own teddy bears. Be sure to stop by Copper Lane Cafe & Provisions to stock up on snacks and waters to keep in your cabin or hotel room. The Village Cinemas movie theatre offers movies for the whole family, too.

 

Poutine makes a tasty apres ski treat from the Frites stand in the Village at Northstar with kids

Poutine makes a tasty apres ski treat from the Frites stand in the Village (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

6. Ice Skating

An ice rink serves as the focal point at the Village at Northstar. Skates are available for rent for kids and adults alike. Or, grab an après-ski beverage and snack and watch the skaters twirl as you warm up at the fireside cabanas.

The beautiful Village at Northstar with kids

The beautiful ice rink at the Village at Northstar (Photo courtesy of Northstar California)

7. Yoga at Tahoe Yoga & Wellness

Tahoe Yoga & Wellness is a short drive down the mountain in Truckee. Get your zen on and keep your muscles stretched and limber for the slopes during daily yoga classes here.

Located in the Village, Tahoe Spa & Wellness is the sister property of Tahoe Yoga & Wellness down the mountain in Trukee ~ Northstar California with kids

Located in the Village, Tahoe Spa & Wellness is the sister property of Tahoe Yoga & Wellness down the mountain in Trukee (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

8. Spa Treatments at Northstar

Check the kids into ski school one day to enjoy a spa day. For a therapeutic massage to recuperate from a long day on the slopes, I highly recommend a visit to Tahoe Spa & Wellness. Massage therapists here specialize in dealing with ski injuries. Other facial and beauty treatments are offered as well. Located within the Village at Northstar, this is the sister property of Tahoe Yoga & Wellness.

If you’re looking for a luxurious spa experience, book a massage, facial, body treatment or beauty service at the gorgeous and serene Spa at Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe. Bonus: there’s no charge to ride the gondola to the Ritz.

The luxe spa at The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe

The luxe spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

8. Marshmology Après Ski

For an après-ski the whole family will love, take the free gondola to The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe for their afternoon Marshmology sessions. Handmade marshmallows are offered for roasting in a different flavor each day. (We sampled mandarin orange when we visited.) Traditionalists will enjoy standard marshmallows, too.

Warming up by the fire at Marshmology at Northstar California with kids

Warming up by the fire at Marshmology (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Warm up your tootsies at the fire and grab complimentary graham crackers and chocolates to make s’mores. Marshmology is free to hotel guests, but no one asked for our room number. Drinks with or without alcohol as well as snacks and meals are available for purchase at the outdoor Backyard Bar & BBQ.

Marshmalogy at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe makes a wonderful apres-ski treat at Northstar Ski Resort with kids

Marshmology at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe makes a wonderful apres-ski treat (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

9. Dining with kids at Northstar

For incredibly tasty pizza, take the family to Rubicon Pizza Co. As a gluten-sensitive eater, I was blown away by their delicious, crispy gluten-free crust. (Traditional crust is offered as well, of course.) You can order your pizza, pasta or salad to go if you’d rather snuggle up in your hotel room or cabin.

Rubicon Pizza Co.'s gluten-free crust just may be my favorite ever ~Northstar Ski Resort with kids

Rubicon Pizza Co.’s gluten-free crust just may be my favorite ever (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Tavern 6330 serves California farm-to-fork cuisine. Think salads, burgers, sandwiches, and roasted chicken. Two outdoor fire pits make this place a good choice for après-ski.

Fuel up at Tavern 6330 salads, burgers and sandwiches like this generous lobster roll at Northstar Ski Resort with kids

Fuel up at Tavern 6330 salads, burgers and sandwiches like this generous lobster roll (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

For a glorious splurge, make reservations at Manzanita at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. Delectable dishes like Durham Ranch Filet Mignon “Steak Oscar” or Sonoma Duck Three Ways will be long remembered. Book a sitter for date night, or bring the kids along. Children are welcomed and can choose from their own menu, with standard kid offerings like chicken fingers as well as more refined options like Pacific salmon or wild caught shrimp.

My Organic Farm Egg starter at Manzanita served with wild mushroom ragout, Brussels sprout, sorghum "popcorn" and truffle

My Organic Farm Egg starter at Manzanita served with wild mushroom ragout, Brussels sprout, sorghum “popcorn” and truffle (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Where to Stay at Northstar Ski Resort with Kids

Although my family didn’t stay at the The Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe, after experiencing their incredible spa, outstanding Manzanita fine dining restaurant, and their fun Marshmalogy après-ski, I would definitely recommend a stay here. The service was consistently top-notch and their steaming outdoor pool beckoned to me. Plus, this hotel offers the luxury of a ski-in, ski-out experience. Read reviews of the Ritz and book via TripAdvisor now.

How'd you like to go for a dip in this heated pool at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe at Northstar Ski Resort with kids?

How’d you like to go for a dip in this heated pool at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe? (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Northstar California provides all sorts of lodging options from hotels to condos to private homes. Click here to find accommodations sortable by distance to lift and amenities (pool, hot tub, kitchen, etc.). My family loved staying in a Northstar Lodging rental home with a kitchen for easy breakfasts, separate bedrooms for all family members, and a fireplace for cozy rounds of cards and travel board games in the evenings. It was just a few minutes down the hill from the Village via complimentary shuttle.

You can also find an array of home and condo rental options via HomeAway.

Building a snowman at our vacation rental home at Northstar Ski Resort with kids

Building a snowman at our vacation rental home at Northstar Ski Resort (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

What Makes Northstar Ski Resort Special

Skiing Northstar with kids is a whole lot of fun. A Northstar winter vacation, however, is about so much more than skiing and boarding. Even if you don’t ski at all, there are plenty of snowy and cozy activities to enjoy. The best parts of my family’s trip were connecting on the slopes, laughing over meals, and bonding over board games.

A family selfie at Northstar Ski Resort with kids

A family selfie at Northstar Ski Resort (Photo credit: Michael Lanin)

A vacation focused on outdoorsy activities makes for such great memories, especially when traveling with extended family. Having my brother, “Uncle Mike,” along made this trip all that more special. We loved it so much, in fact, that we’re dreaming of an even bigger summer multigenerational vacation at Northstar California!

For information on other fabulous ski resorts for families, check out our tips for snow activities in Park City and Keystone’s Kidtopia.

Have you ever visited Northstar Ski Resort with kids or without? Let us know your questions or tips in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: My family and I were hosted by Northstar California. We paid for our own airfare to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and some meals and activities. I did not receive any other compensation related to this story. All opinions are mine, as always.

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. Wow… you are making me want to book my vacation tomorrow. All of these looks amazing!

  2. Veronica Solomon says

    Wow! Looks like a fun way to spend a winter vacation

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Since my family lives in the desert, we love visiting snow destinations like this in winter!

  3. So fun! This looks awesome. Our kids would LOOOOOOVE this!

  4. SO many awesome things to do there! The marshmallowgy sounds so fun and it is so great how many things there are to do for non skiers too.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      My sister-in-law has decided she doesn’t want to ski anymore, but we’re still hoping to convince her to come along the next time we go to Northstar since there really was so much to do both on and off the slopes!

  5. I’ve always wanted to visit Lake Tahoe in winter! It looks so family-friendly and that food looks pretty darn tasty too. And I would sign up for a stay at that Ritz-Carlton Hotel, anytime!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Oh, Claudia. That meal at Manzanita at Ritz-Carlton was SO CRAZY GOOD! I hope you get a chance to visit (and taste!) all there is at Northstar someday!

  6. Marshmology? Add some hot chocolate and I am down for that. That sounds amazing. I’ve been wanting to take my daughter tubing, so I’m glad it starts at 36”. This looks like a perfect winter getaway! I miss snow living in Southern California, and I keep forgetting how close we are to mountains. Thank you for reminding me!

  7. TraveLynn Family - Jenny says

    I didn’t know you could ski in California! I can’t wait to take my boys. Next year may be the year!

  8. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says

    Northstar sounds like a great resort. We’ve been planning a ski trip, and I think Northstar could be the place. Thanks!

  9. Allison Cooper says

    This looks like so much fun for the whole family and a beautiful resort to spend time at! MY family and I are longing for a winter getaway!

  10. Lake Tahoe is one of those places I hope to visit. These all look like so much fun to do with kids, especially snow tubing!

  11. Northstar looks like a fabulous place to visit. My daughter and husband would be on the slopes all day long.

  12. I am amazed at the wide range of activities there are to do at Northstar Ski Resort. I know my entire family would find plenty of things to do that everyone would enjoy.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Northstar really is such a great option for families with so much for different ages and personalities to enjoy!

  13. Chelley Martinka says

    Skiing… plus amazing food, fire pit, pool. YES PLEASE! What a fabulous family vacation!

  14. Lisa Bristol says

    Wow it looks amazing at the Northstar Ski Resort. I would love to treat my family to a fun vacation there. It looks like they have something for the whole family.

  15. I’m not even a skier and still I think Tahoe looks like so much fun. There are so many things to do that would appeal to my whole family.

  16. I learned to ski in Lake Tahoe as a kid! Northstar was one of our favorites. Although it looks like it’s changed quite a bit, your pictures remind me of all that Lake Tahoe has to offer. I’d love to take my kids one day!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      That would be so fun to share Northstar with your kids and tell them about your childhood experiences there!

  17. Oh this sou ends so so fun!!! we really wnat to go on a vacation like this.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Ski trips are so fun for my desert-dwelling kids. Hope you can book a trip to Northstar soon!

  18. Toni | Boulder Locavore says

    This looks so much fun! My kids will surely enjoy here!

  19. Looks fun and so pretty in Lake Tahoe! It’s on the other side of the USA for me, so I haven’t had a chance to go but I’d love too.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      If you ever book a winter trip to Cali or Nevada – you’ve got to squeeze some Northstar time into your trip! 🙂

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.