from a tahoe skier's blog:
Base Elevation: 6330'
Vertical Rise: 2280'
Snow Conditions: (530) 562-1330
Information: (530) 562-2286
Reservations: (800) GO-NORTH
25% advanced, 50% intermediate, 25% beginner
Northstar is an outstanding area for advanced beginners and intermediate
skiers because it offers a large number very long "blue" runs. In my
opinion, many of the "black diamond" runs at this area should really be
considered "blue" too. (Some locals refer to Northstar as "Flatstar".)
If you like long, well-groomed cruiser runs, this is the best place to go
in the Tahoe area. The cruise from the top of Mt Pluto down to the village
is real thigh burner (~2 miles long.) Advanced skiers will find the best
runs on the backside of the mountain, where they've recently upgraded the
old triple chair to be an express quad lift.
Northstar is considered the best place to go in bad weather because it is
well sheltered and has lots of trees which help visibility on the slopes.
Base Elevation: 6883'
Vertical Rise: 1500' to top of Mt. Lincoln
Snow Conditions: (530) 426-1111
Information: (530) 426-9000
45% advanced, 40% intermediate, 15% beginner
Sugar Bowl is very popular with skiers from the San Francisco and
Sacramento areas because is is about 1/2 hour closer to home than the
three large north Lake Tahoe resorts (Squaw, Alpine, Northstar.) It
is also cheaper to ski here than at the larger resorts. Sugar Bowl
often has the best snow conditions in north Tahoe and despite being
smaller, it offers more than enough terrain to prevent any skier from
becoming bored for at least one full day. Sugar Bowl has a good
reputation for providing a friendly, family-oriented atmosphere.
The best advanced skiing at Sugar Bowl is usually directly below the
upper half of the Silver Belt chair lift and, if you're willing to
hike just a little bit, off the east face of Mt Disney. The best
moguls are usually on the run called Market Street, accessible from
the Disney chair. Intermediate runs, which tend to be very well
groomed, are available off every chair lift at the resort. Beginners
can have a great time skiing the green and blue runs off of the
Christmas Tree lift.