Northstar use to be one of my favorite resorts but has been extremely disappointing the last couple of years and I'm considering alternatives from now on. Here are my reasons:
The emphasis has shifted from being a family-oriented ski resort to a pothead snowboarder haven. About 75% of the intermediate ski runs that use to be located off of the Vista ski lift have been fully dedicated to snowboarders with the full gamut of rails, jumps, parks, and pipes. This has killed the experience for average skiers who are left with the overcrowded Comstock and Backside lifts - so overcrowded that they have "Mellow Yellow Slow Zone" signs everywhere because they don't want people going so fast that they run into other skiers/boarders. I think this makes it pretty obvious that there are too many people on the hill. The Comstock and Backside "Express" lift lines are ridiculously long. It's not uncommon to wait 20 minutes in line. It's clear that Northstar needs to invest in some more 6 person high-speed lifts to get people up the mountain. I mean, Rendezvous lift is about as worthless as they come. The backside needs another lift bringing people up to where Zephyr comes up the front side, and they need a 6 person lift bringing people from the middle village up to the peak rather than having both Arrow and Comstock. I'm not saying that Heavenly and Squaw aren't crowded too, but at least they mitigate the issue by putting in the best lifts they can. Lookout Mountain was a nice addition, but unfortunately with the lower elevation there's less snowfall and coverage. It would be nice if the hill was 1000 ft higher in elevation.
Northstar is trying to be something it's not. The hill isn't that big, but this hasn't stopped massive construction projects of condos, stores, and restaurants. I feel like in the last 15 years that I've been skiing there the mountain has grown by about 25% and the development has grown about 200%. Don't you think that they would have tried to correlate the increase in the mountain with the increase in development a little better? The ski-in/ski-out condos located off of the Village run use to be nice as they didn't get in the way of anything, but now, condos located throughout the entire village and up into the old parking lots have become too much.
That brings me to another point: the parking situation is horrendous. Arriving at the resort after 8:30 am on a busy weekend will place you way out by the Gas Station where you have to be bussed in. Being bussed in can be very hard for families with children.
On Northstar ski trail maps, they show where they're going to develop "in the future". What's the time scale on this? Is this in the next 5 years or the next 50 years?