Northstar California Resort blasts into summer with opening of mountain bike trails
Barreling down a section of single-track trail with a cloud of dust following, blasting past trees and boulders, down narrow sections, carving around corners, and then soaring into the air off a tabletop jump.
It’s a typical summer afternoon at Northstar California Resort, where mountain bikers can take advantage of lift services to reach the top of the mountain, before bolting down one of 42 different trails, allowing for countless options to ride down before doing it all over again.
Northstar opened its summer operations on Friday, June 23, and offers state-of-the-art mountain bikes rentals, and an array of different options for lessons for riders just starting out, up to more advanced bikers.
The resort’s routes include mellow, beginner trails, flow trails, jumps, and some of the gnarliest downhill terrain around.
According to Specialized Academy Instructor Luke Sheppard, Northstar’s signature trail, LiveWire, is the only fully irrigated trail in the country, where riders whip off several jumps, ride berms, and other advanced features.
For those who aren’t ready for a run like LiveWire, the Specialized Bike Academy can get any novice ready to rip the trails.
“The Specialized Academy is in its second year,” Sheppard said. “We run a price for the Specialized Academy (of) $239 (group rate), seven days a week, Specialized bike, lift ticket, all day coaching, so it’s a great deal.”
For two seasons now Sheppard has taught the Specialized Academy, which includes a bike rental, a helmet, body armor, and gloves.
The academy puts riders on one of Northstar’s world-class 2017 Specialized Enduro mountain bikes, which retail in the range of $8,000.
The bikes suspension system gives riders the feeling of biking on a trampoline and can take on any of the trails at the resort.
Whether it be riding over large rocks or coming up a little short on a jump, the mountain bike’s suspension provides a smooth ride no matter the rider’s skill level.
“The technology in these bikes is cutting edge — 2017 bikes,” Sheppard said. “Everything has been tweaked and tuned on the bikes to make it (more fun) and safer for you to ride.”
Before pedaling out on the bikes Sheppard is able to quickly dial in the suspension to perfectly match the rider’s weight, and then it’s off to the gondola for a ride to mid-mountain, before heading up to the summit for an epic trip back to the bottom.
The resort offers several different options for lessons, and because of Northstar’s vast system of trails, Sheppard recommends a lesson for any rider new to the mountain.
One-on-one lessons put riders on the mountain for six hours at a price of $393, and include all the protective gear, a bike rental, and lift ticket. There’s also an option for group lessons which will cost riders $239.
The resort also offers lessons for more advanced riders to hone their skills on the mountain.
This year Northstar will also offer two weekends catering to women riders. The Her Mountain course lessons are made up of small groups, allowing individual attention to each rider. The courses will run on the weekends of July 22-23 and Aug. 19-20 with breakfast and lunch on both days.
“It’s a great way to check it out and get a taste,” Head Female Coach Paige Ramsey said. “In two days you can make a dramatic change in your riding. Your progression is so much more in two full days.”
The two-day sessions are $373 for season pass holders and $429 for non-pass holders.
Northstar also offers a weeklong children’s camp running from July 17-21, tailored for children ages 10-16. The Trail Blazer camps run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and cost $405. The camps include instructor-led sessions and a five-day lift ticket (bike rental not included).
For more information on mountain biking Northstar visit northstarcalifornia.com.
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As another summer heads to Lake Tahoe, residents are finding ways to stay busy and one of the more popular activities to gain traction on both shores is pickleball.