New Lodge, More Snowmaking At Killington; Pico To Open Lawrence Lodge
An investment of $9.8 million on snowmaking infrastructure, along with the opening of a 15,000-square-foot Peak Lodge at Killington, Vt., is on tap this winter. Meanwhile, just a few miles down Route 4 at Pico, the new $1.3 million Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge for persons with disabilities and young racers, will debut Nov. 8-9.
First to Killington: A new Peak Lodge will hold 300 guests, offer a restaurant with fresh fare and bar, and lounge areas with couches and coffee tables.
The overall financial outlay is the most since Powdr Corp purchased the two ski areas in 2007. A long, profitable 2012-2013 winter led to a 22 percent increase in skier visits over the previous year, but that apparently was just coincidental.
“Obviously, the better the year, the more cash flow that is typically available to re-invest in our resorts,” Mike Solimano, Killington and Pico president and general manager, told SnoCountry.com.
“Our focus has been on the guest experience as the main driver in growing our revenue. I think our results show that guests are appreciating the improvements we have made at our resorts in both capital assets as well as a more guest focused approach to everything we do,” he said.
Located at 4,100 feet on Killington Peak, the new lodge will accommodate weddings, meetings and conferences on a year-round basis. The venue will be surrounded by a let-there-be-natural-light theme providing views of the Green and White Mountains.
Peak Lodge, at a cost of nearly $5 million, will be included in Killington’s Cow Power program, a renewable energy concept which was introduced last fall to propel the K-1 Express Gondola.
On the surface, the casual observer might get the impression that the improvements are an attempt to remain clear of Vermont competition. Solimano, however, takes take a more global view.
“Our goal is not to steal market share from other Vermont resorts, but to try to help grow the overall market,” he told SnoCountry.com. “We are focused on initiatives to help grow the sport such as our program where if a new skier takes a four-day lesson, on the last day they are given (free) a pair of Elan skis and bindings.”
When those newcomers arrive this winter, they will find facilities that have invested $2 million in snowmaking and related projects; trail clearing; $800,000 in groomers; $450,000 in its rental fleet; $150,000 in heating the maze at the K-1 Gondola; lift maintenance; and more.
Pico Facility To Open
Pico Lodge To Open
Back at Pico, plans are for a ribbon-cutting Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. and public open house Nov. 9 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge. A wine and cheese reception is at 4 p.m.
Vermont Adaptive is the state's large nonprofit, offering daily, year-round adaptive sports programs for persons with disabilities. The lodge will serve as headquarters for the group as well as for the Pico Ski Education Foundation.
“The outpouring of support for creating this facility has been amazing,” says Erin Fernandez, Vermont Adaptive executive director. “We can’t even begin to thank everyone who has been involved in the project.”
The 6,000-square-foot Lawrence Lodge is located between the existing Pico Ski Club building and the Pico Base Lodge.
The late Olympic Champion Andrea Mead Lawrence is a Pico legend. Sarah Will, a former U.S. Paralympian, also got her start at Pico and the “Access for All” elevator in the building is named for her. More than $900,000 has been raised in the past 18 months and $150,000 remains to be raised. Bode and Kyla Miller and their family’s Turtle Ridge Foundation donated $100,000 to the cause.
Pico will also expand dining options adjacent to the base lodge.
Illustrations: Peak Lodge (Killington Resort); Andrea Mead Lawrence Lodge (Pico Mountain)