Magic Mountain

| May 6, 2011 | 0 Comments
Northstar California Resort

Martis Camp members have direct access to Northstar California's Lookout Mountain—and beyond.

Northstar-at-Tahoe’s Lookout Mountain is a “best” for multiple reasons. It’s undoubtedly the “Best Ski Resort Improvement” in Tahoe this century. Now featuring steep and varied terrain served by a speedy lift, the Lookout expansion added teeth to Northstar’s otherwise intermediate fare, as well as enough vert for even the deepest Tahoe powder days.

Although it opened in 2001, the Martis Camp Express lift (formerly called Lookout Mountain Express) was almost doubled in length in 2008, opening up marvelous new terrain and creating a new Martis Camp base area where residents ejoy what has to be Tahoe’s “Best Ski Resort Connection.” Two seasons out, it’s scheduled to get even better with the planned opening of the slopeside Martis Camp Mountain Clubhouse.

Martis Camp Express is a big league lift, transporting skiers and riders 1,722 feet in only six mnutes—more vertical rise than Heavenly’s Gunbarrel or Alpine Meadows’ Summit lift, and only 78 feet short of Squaw Valley USA’s KT-22. It’s also an efficient entrance to the resort, with easy, intermediate access to the main Northstar slopes and a return either via poma lift or down the Lookout Bypass, which meanders through the forest and lands you halfway down the new-ish intermediate Washoe Trail and its entertaining fall lines between treed islands back down to the base at Martis Camp Express.

On the other side of the difficulty spectrum is Lookout’s Stampede run, the steepest at Northstar at 311⁄2 degrees, which is often amazingly groomed by winched snowcats. Stampede is one of the  steepest, longest groomers you’ll ever ski. Its “wow factor” is enhanced by a reveal entrance, pointing straight out over the Martis plains, 2,000 feet below, before careening over to its “don’t slip!” drop-away.
There are plenty of long runs around Northstar—particularly its Backside offerings—but nothing can set fire to the thighs of the young and super-fit like Lookout. If you’re a non-stoppersuper-
fitter, this speedy lift can deliver the equivalent of skiing down Mt. Everest in two and half hours (17 runs and over 29,000 feet vertical). And if you decide to tackle Lookout’s challenge, you (as well as us mere mortals), will be very glad that the chairs here have footrests. By Chaco Mohler. TQ

Category: Best of Tahoe 2011, Outdoors, Winter

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