“The building we’ve developed is world class,” Mt. Washington General Manager Peter Gibson said. New nordic terrain has also been developed as part of a 600-acre expansion project.
The lodge opened in mid-December after two summers of building. The post-and-beam construction, soaring windows on the main floor and use of cultured stone on the exterior has created an ambience in the lodge that blends well with the natural surroundings, he said.
Some of the wood used in the finishing construction was milled on site, too. The upstairs features a huge stone fireplace with a seating area, a cafeteria, retail space and spectacular view of Strathcona Park.
Downstairs, the rental area features wheeled racks for ease of use, drying racks, lockers, bathrooms and shower stalls, and even a laundry. Gibson felt it was important to point out the whole lodge is equipped with a sprinkler system, in light of the devastating fire Sun Peaks Resort suffered when one of its hotels went up in flames before construction was completed.
Two parking lots have been cleared and packed with gravel; the trailhead into Strathcona Provincial Park will eventually be moved near Raven Lodge, although Gibson said an exact location has yet to be determined.
The upper parking lot has uprooted the biathlon range, forcing the Strathcona Nordics Ski Club to move its facility a kilometre further along the road. Mt. Washington cleared a space for the new range, which is now forested at one end – for better security.
Biathlon coach Glenn Rupertus is ecstatic about the move. “It’s in a great new location because of the trees,” he says. The site is less than half the size of an Olympic range, but there is room to expand. There are four targets set up for this winter, but next year that should increase to eight or 10 targets. And Rupertus hopes the range will be improved enough in the next three years that the club can host international events.
“It’s a work in progress,” he says. There are approximately 320 members of the Strathcona Nordics, which concentrates on cross-country and biathlon skiing training and events. To a one, they are excited about what Raven Lodge will mean to their sport.
“I expect to have quite an increase in biathlon with the new facilities,” he says.