New ski lodge nears completion

by Nathan Senge | 10/23/00 5:00am

After 10 years of planning the Dartmouth Skiway is expected to announce the completion of a long-anticipated modernized ski lodge Nov. 29 to coincide with the opening of the ski season.

The new lodge, built on $3.5 million in donations raised outside the College's typical fundraising venues will accommodate the increase in skiers that the skiway has experienced over the past years.

According to Skiway manager Donald Cutter, the number of skiers has grown from a mere 5,000 to more than 46,000 since the inception of the Dartmouth Skiway in 1956, a substantial increase that alone has rendered the diminutive Brundage Lodge inadequate for the mountain it serves.

Exceeding 16,000 square feet in surface area, the new edifice is more than four times the size of the old lodge and accommodates up to 400 people, compared to the old lodge's capacity for only 120. In addition, an enlarged rental shop and an expanded retail store will be located on its ground floor.

Men's Alpine Ski Team coach Peter Dodge '78, who monitored the construction of the project until September, said, "The old Brundage Lodge was definitely obsolete. It needed to be enlarged and updated. When it was built, the Skiway had only one mountain and a limited capacity pommel lift and no snowmaking. Now it has two mountains, a double and quad chairlift and a J-bar."

Throughout its construction, the lodge has progressed steadily and smoothly thanks to its successful fundraising campaign. Begun by a group of local Hanover alumni affiliated with the skiing industry, and sustained by management in the College development office, this campaign has exceeded its objectives by garnering over $3.5 million for the lodge itself. An additional $1 million will go to an expansion in snowmaking to be put into effect next season.

The lodge was primarily funded by Andrew McLane '69, for whom the lodge shall be officially named at its dedication Jan. 20, and received the rest of its benefits from dedicated skiers, alumni, and winter sports enthusiasts in both Hanover and throughout the area.

Jack Wilson, who supervised the construction phase under the auspices of project manager Bill Ulinski, said, "This is the first time I have been involved in a project at Dartmouth when all funds would need to be raised without College aid. It's wonderful to see how much support there is among the alumni body for this project."

To address the needs of the modern Skiway, the new lodge's expanded dining facilities employ completely reorganized traffic lines to reduce the congestion caused by the previous layout. Furthermore, the bathrooms, an aspect of the old lodge widely criticized for small size and grimy conditions, have been greatly enlarged and redesigned to improve sanitation.

The new lodge also houses a gathering space for the ski patrol, and a new meeting room for the ski team, the Macomber room. The latter will serve as a changing room and storage facility in which members of the team may view videos and use computers complete with Ethernet access.

There will also be a general meeting room on the main floor to provide all skiers with an ambience conducive to study and relaxation.

In addition, the lodge possesses many capacious function rooms available for rent all year round, including the new Chizers room, named in memory of Howard Chizers, who managed the skiway from its creation for nearly 30 years afterwards. In fact, the Skiway has already scheduled eight functions, including class reunions, departmental gatherings and various other conferences and forums, for next year's offseason.

Wilson said, "The whole project will be a wonderful facility; it has the potential to be used at different times in the year by various groups for purposes other than skiing. It will be a valuable resource for the College."

First envisioned and designed by Stuart White of Banwell Architects in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and Edward Levin '69, the new lodge not only epitomizes the contemporary demand for efficiency, but also harbors a tranquil and homey atmosphere due to its unique timber structure.

Thanks to the demands of the building committee, composed largely of current students and alumni, and the efforts of more than 60 construction workers, the new lodge consists of an upright timber frame constructed with interlocking wood pegs that resemble a log cabin's structure.

Most of the wood that ornaments the exterior frame and the interior trim is hard maple harvested either on College property in Corinth, Vermont or the Dartmouth College Grant. Furthermore, the construction crew has put every effort into making the lodge as energy-efficient as possible.

Thus, the new lodge at the Dartmouth Skiway both surpasses expectations for efficiency while still retaining the charm and coziness of its older counterpart.

As Skiway manager Donald Cutter said, "We've been working on this project for 10 years. It has already exceeded our highest aspirations, and for that we know it will be wonderful."

Hinging on weather conditions, the new lodge should open in early to mid-December. Season passes will be on sale at Alumni Gym from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Nov. 1-3.

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