Northstar, CA

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8 thoughts on “Northstar, CA

  1. Collin Parsons February 19, 2019 / 6:01 pm

    What happened to the Aspen Express? Why was it removed so soon and where was it relocated?


    • Bryan South February 28, 2019 / 10:24 pm

      I myself have no memory of it myself, but it was basically between Vista and Arrow, and the top was near Rendezvous. I guess it was just a mistake to put it there for some reason, because they upgraded Forest (old Vita) and created Arrow. Also I don’t know about the dates, but this is supposedly a map from 1997.


      • Donald M. Reif March 23, 2019 / 8:33 pm

        In that alignment, the lift didn’t seem like it was just for getting to Comstack. In fact, that’s kinda the reason why Comstack has the earlier UNI terminal design while the other DS high speed quads (Arrow, Vista and Backside) have the later generation UNI terminal.


    • Donald Reif October 3, 2019 / 2:48 pm

      Aspen Express was built alongside the Comstock Express. Together they were first-generation UNIs. Aspen ran from the bottom of the Vista Express and ended at the bottom of Rendezvous, like Bryan said. After 5 years though, they must’ve decided there was a problem, as Aspen Express in that alignment was a lift-to-nowhere you only used to get to Comstock or Rendezvous, and only accessed one trail, Lumberjack. Unlike the adjacent Forest double, which served that entire run pod that Aspen Express skirted.

      So in 1994, they decided to take Aspen Express out and used parts from it to build the Vista Express that replaced the Forest lift. Whatever wasn’t used on Vista Express was used to build the shorter Arrow Express, running on a shorter alignment from the Aspen Express that instead ends at the bottom of the Comstock Express lift. Nowadays, Tahoe Zephyr, Arrow Express, and the Vista Express can all be used to get from the main village up to Comstock, but on Vista Express or Tahoe Zephyr, you can get an actual run in first.

      (Looking at their stats, though, part of me thinks it would’ve made more sense to just extend the Comstock Express down to the village instead of build a separate feeder lift, as the two lifts combined would amount to an alignment about 8,850 feet long, almost as long as a lift like Breck’s Beaver Run SuperChair. On the other hand, leaving Comstock as is means that skiers/boarders lapping the main face of Mount Pluto aren’t taking a long runout back to the lift after every run)


  2. Donald Reif October 3, 2019 / 2:50 pm

    The Martis Camp Express lift’s stats are incorrect. Those numbers still reflect the lift’s length before it was extended, and its current length is more like 5,280 feet.


  3. skitheeast May 29, 2020 / 9:57 am

    Northstar’s 2017 Master Plan included plans and approvals for a number of new lifts.

    -A gondola from the Castle Peak parking lot to the Village
    -A lift from the base of Highlands Gondola to the top of Lookout Mountain
    -A second lift on Lookout Mountain with a top terminal adjacent to Martis Camp and bottom terminal west of Lookout Glade
    -A lift east of Vista with an adjacent top terminal and a lower terminal east at Sawmill Lake
    -Three lifts west of The Backside on Sawtooth Ridge


      • skitheeast October 15, 2020 / 9:20 pm

        Northstar said the timeline was up to 15 years for completion when they first announced the plan in 2017, so they set a 2032 deadline for themselves. I like that it is ambitious, definitely more so than many other Vail Resorts. A Castle Rock parking gondola (likely a cabriolet) would be awesome; it works really well at Park City and it could work well here as well. I also like the Sawtooth, Lookout, and Sawmill expansions to help give Northstar a wider variety of terrain. The one thing I am unsure of is the proposed J lift. Yes, Northstar needs more out of base capacity, but this will be on the opposite side of the village from where the majority of skiers are. Upgrading the gondola with new 12 person cabins (for a higher capacity) and extending the top terminal farther up the hill with a second stage (replacing Arrow?) or upgrading Village Express to a six-pack with a higher top terminal to enable skiers to head directly over to the future Sawmill lift would do much more good in getting more skiers out of the village and spreading them around the mountain.


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