Now that the snow has melted, action has resumed at the
4,210-foot elevation on Killington Peak with phase two of the new
Workmen return to the newly re-designed 15,000-square-foot,
two-story facility in June. President and General Manager Mike
Solimano noted that another $5.1 million is being spent on the Peak
Lodge, which is slated for completion in December.
Solimano explained the reasons for the design changes, noting
"the original $7 million budget and design concepts called for a
basement support level capped off with two floors, one with a food
court area and one for fine dining and a deck area similar to the
Robert Carl Williams Associates in Pittsfield designed the new
15,000-square-foot facility to include seating for 300 guests, a
food venue featuring a selection of fresh fare, and a full bar in
addition to lounge areas with couches and coffee tables.
Solimano went on to explain that the bids on the original
concepts topped $9.5 million, which was $2.5 million more than
planned. (The total for the lodge will amount to about $7 million
with previous years work - the original 1968 structure was removed
in 2011 and new foundation, footings and bottom floor walls were
completed in fall, 2012.)
So, after a long process of guest feedback, design changes,
delays fostered by Tropical Storm Irene, and the sharpening of
pencils, there is "a sleek new design that follows Killington's
long-term commitment to the mountain environment," he said.
Solimano, a former controller and CFO at Dynastar and Killington
Director of Finance for ten years before becoming president and GM
last year, openly stresses that "capital resources are not
infinite" and that Killington adheres to a carefully thought-out
plan that makes financial sense and has enabled it to be
continuously profitable while also being a leader in the ski
"The more we spend on one project, the less that is available
for others. Instead of the 'bells and whistles' approach
incorporated in the first design, the team was re-assembled to
digest input from all sources and to re-look at the needs of this
venue. We decided that the best use of our resources were to focus
on providing the best all-around building to the most guests
"As a result, we decided to combine two smaller floors into one
large floor and move the kitchen facility to the lower level. This
new design will allow for a real multipurpose facility that will
allow us to host weddings, sit-down dinners as well as provide a
more casual lodge feel during winter," he said in a posting to
readers of The Drift, Killington's e-newsletter.
A peek at Peak Lodge
"This lodge will be completely different from any other lodge at
Killington. A lobby with large, convenient restrooms will lead you
into a room sprinkled with couches and seating area for a relaxed
feel," Solimano said.
He described the dining experience as one that will range from
the farm-to-table to creative food options developed by in-house
chefs. He notes a "Starbucks" feel for the multifunctional dining
area for another new experience at Killington. "Food offerings will
be much more upscale than our current base lodge menus (no fried
foods), and a very comfortable bar area will include a gas
fireplace and couches for late day chats," he added.
Solimano also explained that as part of better communication
efforts, he was both laying out the evolving changes as to the Peak
Lodge design while at the same time explaining the need to balance
capital funding for other continued resort upgrades.
$9.8 million to crow about
Those millions to be spent in other improvements are also
noteworthy. In addition to the $7 million lodge investment,
Killington has another $2 million in infrastructure projects, which
include the installation of sewer lines and snowmaking pipe at
Killington and Pico.
The K-1 Gondola upgrades - planned for the year Irene struck -
are also on tap this summer. This project includes a new heated
deck for the lift maze with a canopy overhead. The canopy will
consist of the latticework from the Skyeship Gondola entry area
(being removed and rebuilt at the K-1) and the addition of a
covering for it. It will still be open to the sides.
More glades are being cut at both Killington and Pico with some
existing glade work being undertaken as well.
Jeff Temple, director of mountain operations for Killington
Resort and Pico Mountain, said, "Due to the storms of the past
year, there will be extensive pruning and trimming on existing
gladed trails at both resorts and a new gladed trail at Pico."
Plans also call for creating a new food and seating venue at
Pico Mountain to help offset busy times for the main lodge
cafeteria and lounge. The small eatery will be located in a space
previously used by Vermont Adaptive, Solimano said.
Further resort expenditures are being made on four new grooming
machines, including a park cat, new rental equipment, snowsport
school uniforms, and lift maintenance, bringing the total of all
investments for the 2013-14 season to $9.8 million, the largest in
recent history at Killington.
AML Lodge makes it $11+ million
Also at Pico, work is underway on the Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge, a
joint project between Pico Ski Education Foundation (PSEF) and the
Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports program. The two organizations are
collaborating to build the $1.3 million, 6,000-square-foot,
two-story building, designed by NBF architects of Rutland, with
each having a floor to serve their respective programs.
Located between the retail sports shop/office building and the
existing Pico Ski Club facility, it is being built on land donated
by Killington-Pico Resort to the two groups.
The two organizations are close to their $1.1 million current
fundraising goal. The target completion date is Thanksgiving.
With Pico's AML Lodge added to the other upgrades and facilities,
the total investment for Killington and Pico comes to over $11
million - a significant portion of the state's total $55 million
construction projects happening at ski areas in 2013.
Photos courtesy of Killington Resort