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Lookout Mountain grand opening this Saturday

LARA MULLIN, Sierra Sun

While the opening of Northstar-at-Tahoe’s Lookout Mountain and new high-speed quad came as news to many locals recently, it has been in the plan since the resort’s inception.

The original proposal for the mountain, crafted in the 1970s, detailed utilizing the Lookout Mountain area, planned for a lift to service the challenging terrain, and imagined an entire village, which is currently in the works.

Last week, part of the master plan of Northstar was realized, as the resort opened more than 200 acres of new advanced terrain. Recent snowstorms and improved snowmaking abilities allowed the resort to open the area to the public for the first time briefly on Friday, and its first full day of use was on Saturday.

This is the resort’s largest terrain expansion since opening the backside in 1983 and is part of more than $25 million in improvements that have been made on the mountain in the last five years.

“We are very excited to open Lookout Mountain and share this incredible terrain with skiers and snowboarders,” said Northstar’s general manager Tim Silva. “Lookout Mountain offers terrain unlike any other at Northstar. Additionally, this terrain expansion signifies the beginning of a new and exciting Northstar.”

Northstar-at-Tahoe’s parent company, Booth Creek Ski Holdings, has guided the formerly intermediate and beginner-oriented mountain since it purchased Northstar in 1996.

The Lookout Mountain project cost $3.5 million, $2 million of which was spent on the new Lookout Mountain Express chairlift which will service the area. Additional employees were also hired this season in preparation for the Lookout opening, to operate the new lift and maintain the runs and snowmaking equipment.

With five new black diamond runs (Prosser, Stampede, Gooseneck, Boca and Martis), families and individuals will have increased terrain options.

For the last three years, the Lookout Mountain terrain has been used for snow-cat tours and has been slowly cleared of hazards to prepare for the area’s opening to skiers. Selective logging in the new terrain below the peak at Lookout Mountain provides tree runs down to the new Express chair and a vertical drop of 1,200 feet will add a new dimension of difficulty to the mountain.

The resort will be celebrating Lookout Mountain’s official grand opening Saturday, Jan. 20 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that begins at 10:30 a.m. at the top of the new Martis run. A torchlight parade and fireworks show will also commence at 6 p.m. and can be viewed from mid-mountain.

A lift ticket will be required to watch the ribbon-cutting ceremony, but access to mid-mountain for the torchlight parade and fireworks is free via the gondola after 3:30 p.m. A commemorative gift will be given to the first thousand people to ride the gondola on Saturday.


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