The only thing that keeps Northstar from being just a ski area, not a resort, are the rental condos at the base.
Northstar is a small (by Lake Tahoe standards) area that is known for being very family-friendly and has a good ski lessons for the kids. A nice feature is the Parents Predicament lift ticket, which lets mom and dad trade off using the lift ticket while the other watches the kids. There is also a very nice snowboard park.
The mountain itself is not very challenging for upper level skiers, and I would rate most of their black diamond runs as only upper level intermediate.
There is food available at the base and at the quite nice mid-mountain lodge.
All-in-all, I would have to say that if you are staying on the south shore, as I prefer, it would not be worth the trip to Northstar. There are far closer and more fun resorts for a day trip. If you are staying on the north shore, or between here and Squaw, this is a nice, low key, family-oriented experience.