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Nostalgia Meets Innovative Progress New Holiday Valley Chalet Sure to Impress

by Jeff Cole

About 50 years ago, the Clubhouse Chalet at Holiday Valley opened its doors to the public for the first time.

As time went on, the chalet was expanded six times and other beautiful lodges, such as the Tannenbaum Lodge and the Creekside Lodge, “raised the bar” for other buildings at Holiday Valley as conference planners began to require larger, more efficient year-round facilities. And as stated on Holiday Valley’s website, “There comes a time when all good things must come to an end.”

For the Clubhouse Chalet at Holiday Valley, that time has come.

The chalet was demolished in mid-March and work began soon after on the construction of a new $12 million, 66,000-square-foot lodge with a soaring 32-foot cathedral ceiling. The new lodge’s design also includes tongue-and-groove cedar decking, thick wooden beams, a two-story stone chimney with fireplaces on both floors and a natural stone and cedar exterior.

The new lodge will be even more aesthetically pleasing than the Clubhouse Chalet, according to Jane Eshbaugh, marketing director for Holiday Valley. This is just one of the reasons why the old building was torn down in favor of a new one.

“With the new lodge, we are going to have meeting space year-round, which is important because we had a limited amount of meeting space in the winter before and you kind of lose momentum. So, if you have meeting space available, it’s just more conducive to being able to host meetings and larger meetings and be more flexible with what we are able to offer the meeting planners,” she said.

At 66,000 square feet, the new building will be larger than its predecessor and will have a larger guest seating area in its cafeteria, as well as more seasonal locker rooms for guest equipment storage. The daycare center will be incorporated into the new lodge, which will mean fewer steps and easier transportation to and from the Creekside Lodge. The old daycare building will be torn down to make way for a plaza area, where a seating area will be and outdoor functions will be held.

A lot of work has been done on the new lodge so far, according to Mel Duggan, president of Duggan and Duggan, which is the general contractor for the project.

“We have a new structure up, the roof’s on and the metal studdings and drywall are proceeding along with the mechanical work inside the walls, so we’re well into it,” he said.

Duggan said much of the work still left to be done is on the inside of the building, such as framing and tile work.

“That’s what we’re doing every day. We’ve worked many seven-day weeks. Generally speaking, the largest workforce is working five days, but there are portions of it that do go on six, sometimes seven days. Depending on if it’s something critical that will free up work for the next week, we’ll work through the weekend,” said Duggan, who is confident that the project will meet its Dec. 15 completion date, which would be just in time for the 2012-13 winter season.

Of course, the end of anything good evokes some heartfelt reflection, tinged with sadness, though mostly full of pleasant reminiscing. Ron Kubicki, director of Holiday Valley’s Snowsports School, said the tearing down of the old chalet means that “there’s nothing left from when I started here” 24 years ago.

“Every building, every lift, everything has been changed at least once,” he said.

While Kubicki said the changes are evidence of Holiday Valley’s commitment to remaining a top East Coast resort, he noted the demolition of the old chalet does bring “a touch of melancholy” to his heart.

“I got hired out of there. There was a lot of business done through the main lodge and a number of employee parties and retirement parties were done through there,” he said.

Bob McCarthy, a broadcaster who has worked at Holiday Valley for 35 years, said he was at Holiday Valley competing in a ski race the year the old chalet opened. He recalled a much smaller building, one that required skiers to remove their ski boots upon entering and that possessed an even tinier food service area.

“It was a charming building,” he said.

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