Park & Ride

Northstar-at-Tahoe, California

The evolution of greatness.

By Blaise Rosenthal

Talk is cheap in the Lake Tahoe area, especially during the long months of late summer and early fall. The rumor mill is running at full power as everyone anxiously waits for the air to turn cold and the snow to fall, but when word got out that Northstar was planning to enlist the services of Chris Gunnarson and revamp its freestyle park, people took notice.

Northstar is the closest resort to Truckee and has perfect terrain for park building—lots of long intermediate slopes just itching to have jumps and obstacles built on them. And Gunny, well, let’s just say he’s built a park or two.

The first impact of Gunny’s efforts was felt opening week. Despite a severe lack of natural snow, the park run had good coverage and a variety of different rails and boxes. As the season progressed so did the parks. Northstar moved the main park to the Pinball run. Three solid jumps in a row made for perfect hucking, and all manner of rails and boxes from rainbows to kinks to flatbars were represented. Northstar had a mini pipe up and running and built a new well-maintained Superpipe. The best part is that the park flowed into the halfpipe so you could ride park and pipe on every run. A scaled-down beginner park was built on the Jiboom run, complete with small tables and jibs for learning.

In March Northstar hosted the TransWorld Team Challenge and built a special park for it that opened up for public consumption afterward. The Team Challenge Park featured another jump combo line and boxes and rails on spines, which also funneled into the pipe for the perfect run. This park kept everyone shredding through the spring.

The freestyle options at Northstar last season were numerous and constantly evolving thanks to a motivated park staff led by Andrew Miller. Because of Northstar’s dedication to providing the right areas and involving the right people, it’s rapidly becoming the premier resort for park riding in the Lake Tahoe area. And if my word isn’t good enough for you, just ask Dave Downing, Travis Parker, Scotty Wittlake, Jake Devine, Robby Sell, Jim Rippey, Sean Tedore, Shannon Dunn, or any of the other pro and talented riders who ride Northstar every day.