NEW LODGE DEFINES THE "NEW LOOK" FOR DEVELOPMENT ON MT. WASHINGTON
Mt.Washington?s newest lodge, which will be the base for the ski resort?s west side expansion, now stands sentinel over the snowy alpine meadows at the mouth of Paradise Meadows.
Built just to lock-up stage this summer, the lodge will feature a stunning wood and natural stone exterior when completed, next summer, Mt.Washington General Manager Peter Gibson said. The deck opens up to show the expansive Strathcona Park, with Mt. Albert Edward in the starring role.
"Our goal is to be up and running later in the summer," he said. "We?re looking at putting in a pathway that will connect the base area with the new lodge."
The new lodge will be a nordic centre in the winter; "but it?s also the start of the west base," Gibson said. "It will be a multi-seasonal, multi-functional facility which will have a separate identity than the main lodge. It will have separate programs ? there will be a blending of downhill and cross-country skiing, once a new chairlift is built."
The new lodge is a departure for Mt.Washington in terms of design, Gibson said. "The previous buildings we built are bunkers, built to withhold snow loads. While this structure is being designed to snow load code, it fits in with the natural surroundings."
The sturdy exterior beams were milled on site. The stone work for both the exterior and interior will be done next spring, using local stone.
"There?s lots of planning to be done in terms of engineering and interior design," Gibson said. The interior hasn?t been developed, yet. Bydzine interior designers from Campbell River will be working on the new lodge, Gibson said. The same company designed the interior of both Fireweeds and Fat Teddy?s Bar and Grill.
"Inside, when you look up, the sky light is magnificent," Gibson said. "It?s been called cathedral-like. When you walk in you get a feeling of height."
The first view visitors to the new lodge will have is a breathtaking panorama of Mt. Albert Edward, through bay windows that rise in a towering peak, echoing the majestic mountains of Strathcona Park.
The resort has been talking with the Ministry of Transportation and Highways about access to the new lodge, and has agreed to bring the road up to sub-grade status. The gravel road that stretches from the old nordic lodge to the new one - about half a kilometre -- will be widened, straightened and brought to pre-paving standard.
The resort is working with BC Parks on a number of issues regarding the new lodge and development, Gibson said. "We have an obligation to work together. Over the last several years we?ve impacted greatly on Strathcona Park and we have a responsibility to lessen that impact. So we?re working together with Parks on ways and means to protect the park," he said.
One such way will be from the educational aspect. The mountain is looking at creating an interpretive centre at the new lodge, to educate visitors on the park?s sensitive eco-system.
During the construction process, the contractor preserved the natural vegetation as much as possible on three of the four sides. That means very little reclamation next spring, Gibson explained. Once the snow is gone, crews will go back to areas that have been logged off and clean it up.
"I think our staff, in spending the next few years ?cleaning and greening?, will set an example," he said.