The skinny on Northstar California
Longtime local and Lookout Lodge Winter Operations Manager, Jeff Sarlo, dishes up the inside tips on skiing your local mountain.
The Camp: As someone intimate with all the runs and nuances of Northstar, what inside tips can you offer on how to best tackle the mountain?
Jeff: The first few runs of the day set the tone for me. I start my day on the mountain’s front side, where runs like Upper and Lower Pioneer catch the first sun. From there I head over to the Vista lift. Even though I’m not a terrain park skier I love Pinball! If I’m at Pinball early in the morning, there are no crowds and the terrain — which seems to have the best manmade snow on the mountain — offers up the perfect flow. From there I usually have my groove on and am ready to venture out and mix it up.
The Camp: What are Northstar’s defining characteristics?
Jeff: Northstar is a super friendly place, especially when it comes to delivering great experiences for families. Their ski school really excels at that. Northstar’s also dialed in on the art of making and grooming snow and they’ve got a variety of terrain that will light the fire for any level of ability. Add to that a village that’s nothing short of magic and you’ve got a world-class resort.
The Camp: What do you know about Northstar that might come as a pleasant surprise to Campers?
Jeff: The view from Zephyr Lodge is incredible. I always try to make it a point to stop and just soak in its true high alpine views. It never gets old.
The Camp: If you had only one Northstar run to ski, which would it be? What makes it that “just right” run for you?
Jeff: Let’s say we got 10-12 inches of powder last night. Me, I’m making a beeline for that area between Stampede and the lift line. Here is probably one of Northstar’s steepest runs with its best sustained fall-line. The trees are spaced out perfectly and with its steep pitch, too much snow is never a problem. This run serves up the best adrenalin rush for me, plus the leg burn is always a reward.
The Camp: Aside from the slopes, what else is special about Northstar?
Jeff: That’s a perfect follow-up to the previous question: direct access from Martis Camp. I mean, it’s right there — starting the morning off with a few runs of my favorite powder stash and being able to be back at work in no time flat. That flat out rocks.
Most days, Jeff Sarlo goes by the title of “Manager of Lookout Lodge Winter Operations” at Martis Camp. Nice gig, huh? For the rest of the winter, he’s “Vice President of Getting The Kids on The Slopes.” His wife is the President. Together, they’ve raised two kids who live to ski, a trait Jeff learned from his own parents — an Austrian ski instructor of a father and a mom whose daily duties were to round up Jeff and his sisters for some quality slope time. That experience and drive helped Jeff earn an early career in ski racing. He moved to Squaw Valley in the mid ‘70s and has skied throughout the world, including that mountain he calls his favorite — St. Anton, Austria (his father’s hometown). Closer to home, Jeff has dropped into secret stashes throughout the Tahoe area and has developed an encyclopedic knowledge of the virtues of Northstar California. Have a question? Just ask Jeff.