My friend had some comps for Northstar, so we went there today. It was... Amusing. Northstar is a very manicured mountain. It's kind of like a skiing theme park. Once we found the place, the fun started with looking for parking. There's paid parking for $25. Of course we opted for the free parking, which is a bit of a walk away from the Village. Which is the next amusement - it was hard to find the mountain past all the stores. Sugarbowl's village consists of various shops, condos, etc. scattered around the main lodge, but not too closely. For the most part, you walk around on snow to get to things. As the snow level rises, there are fewer steps to the front door. Sometimes there are steps cut down from the surface of the snow. Northstar has cobbled streets, front doors at street level, and no clear route for snow removal.
After navigating all the retail, we found the gondola that goes from the Village to the base lodge, which has some kind of cute name. Slow ride, but we got there eventually. Then up two more lifts to get to the top of Mt. Pluto, Northstar's main peak. The first run was a black diamond called "The Chute." It was broad, flat, and short. Then we moved on to the backside and my friend and I did a couple laps on the groomed runs there, passing everyone else. She was using a 90cm ski board today, and didn't get passed by anyone. I was on my snowboard, and didn't get passed either.
My friend's boyfriend was having some binding issues, so they went to go deal with that. I saw a banner at the lift line for the backside advertising Lookout as the steepest terrain at Northstar. Figured I'd give it a look. After one failed attempt, I found the Poma lift leading to the top of lookout. As a snowboarder, I hate surface lifts.
Lookout turned out to have one groomed run. I did it twice. The very top was so icy that my board slid out from under me and I slid down most of it. The main part was very steep, but quite short. Also fairly icy, so it was hard to get a clean turn past all the chatter. Then I had to get the heck out and go to work.
On the way back, along the run from the mountain to the village, I passed the entrance for a terrain park area called "The Mine Shaft." The entrance gate was made up to look like the entrance to a mine shaft. That really brought the whole Northstar experience into focus for me.