For family-oriented skiing plus tons of non-skier options, Northstar is a winner. An impressive village complex offers a 9,000-square-foot outdoor ice skating rink surrounded by cabana bars and outdoor fire pits, a bevy of upscale restaurants and shops, and the adjacent $300 million Ritz-Carlton hotel with 170 rooms, a 17,000-square-foot spa, and its own gondola to whisk skiers to the slopes. The mountain’s stats are impressive: 3,170 skiable acres, 100 trails, two gondolas and 20 lifts, and the largest snowmaking system in North Lake Tahoe. In summer, Northstar is all about snow, but in summer, it morphs into a mountain biker’s mecca. With more than 100 miles of trails, it's the largest mountain-bike park in Northern California.
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I'd like to say that's me tearing up Northstar's new 420-foot superpipe, but I'd be lying. I was on the sidelines watching competitors pull off double flips and other crazy tricks at the recent North Face Park & Pipe Open contest.