QUEENSBURY – West Mountain officials want to build a yurt-like structure as a short-term expansion of their lodge.
“There is just not enough room in our lodge,” General Manager of West Mountain Racing Sara Montgomery said in a presentation to the Queensbury Town Board Monday.
And although the company is planning a lodge expansion – an architect was on-site working on a design this week – it will not be done before the 2019-2020 ski season.
“This is a short-term fix,” she said.
It would be a temporary structure, but it would not be portable. While yurts often use canvas, like a tent, this would have a metal frame to support its fabric sides. It is often used at ski mountains and holds up in bad weather.
“It’s a big open structure,” Montgomery said. “It’s a beautiful structure and it potentially could be used for weddings in the off-season.”
It would be built between the lodge and the race building, she added.
She wants to put lockers inside, which season pass holders could rent, and add seating for those coming to ski races, as well as for the ski school. On weekdays, it could be used for ski programs.
It would cost about $50,000, and another $50,000 to install. She asked the Town Board for $25,000 in occupancy tax funding towards the project. Board members made no decisions Monday but seemed in favor of the idea.
“I’ve never seen the lodge as packed as it was this year,” Supervisor John Strough said.
Montgomery agreed with him.
“I would say, if there’s one thing we could address, it would be our over-crowding,” she said.
It’s a good problem to have. The company is expanding rapidly: this year it redid its cafeteria to allow for twice as many food orders, and it is now replacing a ski lift in the off-season. Despite global warming, the mountain used less water and power this year while increasing its snowmaking and grooming. Skiers are responding, with more racers and casual skiers coming to the mountain.
That all adds up to a lodge without enough room to turn around. Strough said it was sometimes so packed this year that he felt crowded just trying to put on his ski boots.
The temporary structure, from a company called Sprung, would not replace a full expansion of the lodge.
“The lodge expansion is in the works,” Montgomery said. “Probably next season (in 2020).”
Right now, the company is focusing on replacing one of its ski lifts, which will begin this week.
“This year our goal is to get the new lift in,” she said. “That’s all disassembled and all the pieces are in.”