Northstar’s long-term improvement plan generates limited public feedback |

Northstar’s long-term improvement plan generates limited public feedback

Margaret Moran

KINGS BEACH, Calif. – Few attendees provided input at an Environmental Impact Report scoping meeting last week regarding multi-year proposed mountain improvements at Northstar California.

Of the nearly 25 attendees at the Nov. 28 meeting, only two commented, one about power consumption and the other on identifying various parcel holdings within and near Northstar.

“They’re proposing several new lifts, so there must be a power consumption table or something that compares what exists today and what would be a result of power consumption under the plan,” said Dave McClure, president of North Tahoe Citizen Action Alliance.

“That’s a great comment, and I know it’s a great comment because our consultant nodded his head,” said Gerry Haas, senior planner with Placer County, who led the meeting at the North Tahoe Event Center.

Ann Nichols, president of the North Tahoe Preservation Alliance, said it would be nice to have a map that shows the Northstar ski area boundary, timberland production zone (TPZ) parcels, adjacent parcels and their uses (such as Sierra Pacific Industries), the proposed California Pacific Electric Company power line relocation and Northstar’s Habitat Management Plan.

“All of this because it all seems to be connected,” she said. “… just so we can kind of see everything at once.”

The proposed project outlines Northstar’s proposed mountain improvements over the next 10 to 15 years, which are based on guest feedback with the intent to enhance overall guest experience and the environment, according to the resort.

“This is the master plan, so what we’re looking at are program-level requests for improvements and also project-level,” said Haas, adding the difference between the two is project-level requests are short-term projects, while program-level requests deal with the long-term vision.

The proposed project-level improvements include:

• Additional ski trails on the eastern and western slopes of Mt. Pluto, the northeastern slopes of Sawtooth Ridge and Lookout Mountain. New terrain will include traditional, tree island trails and gladed tree skiing.

• Five new ski lifts labeled C, J, V, W and Z.

• Five skier bridges across streams.

• Skier service site improvements at the top of Mt. Pluto with a summit deck and grille expansion and a warming hut on the backside.

• Implementation of a Habitat Management Plan through a protected conservation area in the northwestern extents of the resort.

• Relocating two areas designated as commercial.

• Zoning amendment that would allow ski lifts and trails within TPZ lands.

The proposed program-level improvements include:

• An additional ski lift – Q – on Lookout.

• Castle Peak Parking area gondola.

• Skier service sites to provide restrooms, enhanced food service and additional seating as well as additional non-skier recreation activities at Mid Mountain.

“There’s a lot going on here,” Haas said. “A lot of little components, but basically, when you start stripping everything away and you take a look at what each one of them is, it’s not too complicated.”

The cost of these proposed improvements hasn’t been determined at this time, said Jessica Van Pernis, a senior communications manager with Vail Resorts, which owns Northstar.

Comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Thursday, and can be sent to Maywan Krach, Environmental Coordination Services, at the Placer County Community Development Resource Agency, 3091 County Center Drive, Suite 190, Auburn, CA 95603 or emailed to

Haas said it could take months between Thursday and the circulation of the draft EIR, which will have a 45-day public review period.

More information about Northstar’s proposed mountain project can be found at and


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