Scan the crowd around the ice rink at the handsome Village at Northstar and you can see this place is all about families—happy families—sliding around on the ice, sprawled on comfy outdoor sofas, sipping cocktails and frothy hot chocolate. They just had a great day on the mountain, a place with some of the region’s best terrain parks for all abilities (including a massive half-pipe designed specifically for gold-medalist Shaun White). Experts love Northstar’s snowy acres of endless trees off legendary Lookout Mountain and access to miles of piney backcountry. Intermediate and beginner skiers cruise on wide groomers, enjoying Instagram-worthy views of nearby Lake Tahoe. And every day at 2 p.m., skiers and riders can kick off après-ski at mid-mountain with Northstar’s daily “tōst.” Guests are invited to raise a glass and sip bubbly, then zip through a dozen more laps before the lifts close for the day.
And of course there’s that village, where kids test their balance on the ice rink, then take breaks at the rink-side firepits with mom and dad. End-of-day fatigue is easily abated with roasted marshmallow treats—ready-made s’mores kits, complete with toasting sticks and all the sweet ingredients, are sold at rink-side. Parents take turns hitting up the Village shops or chaperoning the kids at the Village “Hike and Tube” tubing hill.
Solo travelers and romantic couples have options, too. Après-ski doesn’t get much classier than at The Ritz-Carlton at Lake Tahoe, where soaring windows offer views of the snowy runs, and you can choose from an innovative list of artisan cocktails. After a day in ski boots, try the 80-minute “Après Recovery” treatment at the Ritz-Carlton’s swanky spa. Rehydrate with cucumber water, then steam, soak, or swim in a heated lap pool (included with all treatments), before showing up for your reservation at the lodge’s signature restaurant, Manzanita.
Insider tip: If you ski more than a few days per year, consider getting an Epic Pass for all-season access to Northstar California, Heavenly, and Kirkwood.