The Mountain Times

°F Wed, April 23, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Peak Lodge opens

KILLINGTON - Three years in the making, the new 15,000-square-foot, two-story $7-million Killington Peak Lodge is scheduled to open this week, pending final inspections. If all goes as planned, season pass holders will be invited up Dec. 26 and it will open to the public, Dec. 28.
The before and after photos tell the story.
What was an amazing facility in its day had become a dated 'bunker' and at 40 years was showing its wear and tear - some even say falling down. Which is entirely possible given the harsh weather conditions a building at the peak must withstand!
The state-of-the-art building will feature the highest-elevation dining in Vermont. With an abundance of natural light and amazing views, the lodge also offers a full-service bar, lounge areas with couches and coffee tables, seating for up to 300 guests, and an upscale dining experience featuring creative fare from Chef Eric Rusch.
From sketch to drawing boards,
a lodge at long last
When built in the late 1960s, the peak's lodge was a dual function facility that provided the top terminal for the original Killington Gondola and a replacement lodge for a rustic warming hut. It offered roof-top viewing as well as a restaurant and bar.
But since the replacement Skyeship debuted (stopping at the Skye Peak terminal), the building no longer served that purpose. A decision was made to replace it in 2010. Plans for the new lodge were launched in 2010 with an architect taking a sketch and rendering architectural plans calling for a three-story $7 million facility with 'bells and whistles' like an indoor waterfall and glass elevator.
During the summer of 2011 the historic old lodge was torn down and survey work began. Then Tropical Storm Irene struck in August, so lodge construction plans were put on hold as attention turned to urgent matters like replacing the attached bar at the K-1 Base Lodge that was wiped out by the raging Roaring Brook.
Work resumed on the Peak Lodge in 2012 with footings, foundation, and bottom floor walls put into place. However, the original lodge plans were modified as an increased price tag made the three floors impractical at the time when huge snowmaking investments were being made. The plans were revised and construction took place this year.
Killington's photo gallery and live webcam allowed those interested to watch the progress of the building construction.
Architects Dan Pratt and Jay White of Robert Carl Williams Associates in Pittsfield designed the glass and concrete building to blend in with the mountain landscape and fit the original building's footprint as well as to withstand the weather - including Category 3 hurricane force winds (reaching 200 mph).
Plans for the Peak Lodge call for hosting functions as well as evening dinners at this top-of-the-world location - not hyperbole as it's the highest lift served skiing in the state - and now offers the highest dining experience as well.
Good things are worth waiting for and this lodge promises new peaks for experiencing the mountaintop.
Chef offers upscale cuisine
Chef Eric Rusch has moved up the mountain from Ovations at the Grand Hotel. Previously, he had traveled coast-to-coast exploring his culinary passions: From 10,000 feet up in Vail, CO down to the lake in the World's Fishing Capital of Montauk, NY.
For this upscale lodge experience, patrons will find fresh fare featuring ingredients sourced from local farms and dairies. Director of Hospitality Scott Harrison notes, "We've crafted a unique, high-end scramble-style restaurant. Once you enter the building, casual seating with leather couches and an assortment of table styles will greet you. Every table will have panoramic views of the Green, White, and Adirondack Mountains."
For lunches, there will be chef-served stations and a custom salad station with a host of local produce and house-made dressings. From fresh pasta with steamed vegetables and Vermont maple cream sauce to flank steak from the in-house carvery, to burgers and herb-marinated sirloin from local farms and a deli with more choices, there will be a host of options "crafted with full flavor and healthy mountain living in mind," Harrison notes.
The Peak Bar will offer fine wine, signature hot cocktails and local drafts as well as a small menu, including a custom Vermont cheese plate - great accompaniments for relaxing by the fireplace.


*photo 1-1