A rising star: Northstar’s Lookout Mountain has potential
Northstar-at-Tahoe’s grand opening of Lookout Mountain Saturday, Jan. 20 attracted huge numbers of visitors from all over Nevada and California. Many locals also turned out to be the first to ski more than 200 acres of new terrain.
Long lines at the rental shop and other mountain facilities were omnipresent as crowds gathered around for the ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday morning.
The ceremony, officially scheduled for 10:30 a.m., was delayed due to problems with the new Lookout Mountain Express chair. Due to inconsistencies in spacing between the detachable chairs, the entire lift was shut down and readjusted before the public could catch its first glimpse of the new advanced terrain.
For Northstar, heralded as one of the area’s best family resorts, the expansion of Lookout Mountain will offer more advanced runs with steeper pitches, tree runs and long challenging slopes.
“I am definitely glad they opened this section, it adds a new level of skiing to Northstar,” said Truckee local Craig Dostie. The goal of this expansion is to broaden the variety of skiing at the resort, according to Northstar representatives.
“It spreads people out a little bit more, with something for everyone from the novice skier to veteran visitors,” said Maggie Adams, marketing administrator for the mountain.
While public sentiment regarding the new expansion is overwhelmingly positive, some mountain goers were not pleased with Saturday’s conditions.
Despite the fact that snowfall in the basin area continues to remain below the annual average, Northstar opened the new terrain with the aid of snowmaking machines and trail clearing equipment. Some visitors on the grand opening day, however, were displeased with the coverage and felt that the area was opened prematurely.
Several obstacles remained on the runs, posing a threat to the safety of skiers and snowboarders.
“This could be a great new area, but as of now it is too icy and bare to really explore it,” said Incline Village resident Mike Parra. Parra and his friends came to Northstar, a mountain they usually do not ski, to gauge the new terrain and to watch the fireworks and parade that followed on Saturday evening.
“We had great crowds and all of the events were standing room only,” said Northstar’s public relations coordinator Erin Bernall. While the extra business was a promising sign for the expanding resort, much of the crowd stayed away from the new terrain in favor of the more groomed areas.
The terrain expansion that includes five new black diamond runs was formerly used for snow-cat tours and has been slowly cleared and logged in preparation for opening the area to skiers. With the current low snow levels, the new tree runs posed overt obstacles to skiing upon the area’s opening, and considerable hazards also could be found throughout the Lookout Mountain terrain.
Lookout Mountain will add a new face to Northstar-at-Tahoe, as the mountain moves toward realizing the resort’s initial plans of a village community and expansive skiing terrain. It is without a doubt some of the most exciting terrain on the mountain and the potential is certainly there for great skiing when Northstar receives more snow.
“I will definitely give it another try later in the season,” said Dostie.
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