New Holiday Valley Lodge (roadside view) ready for landscaping. Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley’s marketing director, gives Ellicottville Times a personal tour.

By Jann Wiswall

It’s hard to believe that in less than nine short months, the old Clubhouse Chalet at Holiday Valley was demolished (beginning March 18) and replaced by a 66,000 square foot, $12 million grand lodge that is set to open Dec. 15, 2012.

The new lodge will exceed all expectations with its beautifully planned and crafted indoor and outdoor spaces. Some 100 workers a day are putting the finishing touches on the new building, which was designed with the look of the newer Holiday Valley lodges in mind. To evoke fond memories, the new lodge’s fascia does incorporate the same decorative blue scalloping as the old chalet.

“We used stone and cedar on the exterior to be consistent with materials used at the newer Yodeler and Tannenbaum lodges,” said Holiday Valley Marketing Director Jane Eshbaugh.

The exterior boasts heated decks on all levels and unsurpassed views of the slopes through floor-to-ceiling windows. There is better access to the lodge from more angles and more elevators have been installed in response to skiers’ requests.

The interior features vibrant colors, extensive stone work and gorgeous carpentry finishes. On the ground level, you’ll find an expanded McCarty’s Café, a much larger High Performance and Rental Shop, the Snowsports School desk, two roomy seasonal locker rooms, a spacious daily locker room with credit/debit-card swipe locks, and enormous restrooms with handsome stone and tile work that will be the envy of ski areas across the country! These ground floor facilities will open for skiers on Dec. 1.

On the main level, guests enter into a three-story atrium with a grand staircase and elevators to all floors. Inside, lobby seating areas offer a panoramic view of the slopes and generous access to two decks, one with a fire pit. The new Mountainside Grill features a beautifully tiled gourmet pizza oven, several self-serve food stations and plenty of room to move around. The new Ullr Bar with stone fireplace and 180-degree views will no doubt be a popular watering hole for the après ski crowd. The cheerfully decorated children’s center also is located on the main level, and behind the scenes, there’s a huge main kitchen with top-of-the-line equipment and dedicated elevators to other floors.

Expanded conference and events spaces are on the top level, along with the main bar – the T-Bar – and another kitchen that will be used for catering. The impressive cedar-lined, three-story cathedral ceilings, an enormous fireplace and two more decks make this light-filled area ideal for meetings and activities year-round.

The first and second floors will be ready to open on Dec. 15.

Eshbaugh noted that “the entire lodge is designed for flexibility.” Movable partition-walls allow for spaces on the main and second levels to be set up in multiple configurations for private parties, weddings and meeting rooms.

“Our conference and event planning activities are growing, but the old chalet wasn’t keeping up with that growth,” Eshbaugh said. “The new lodge enables us to offer so much more to conference-goers,” she added.

The existing Children’s Center building, which also houses locker and restrooms for the pool complex and the Mountain Shop/Golf Shop on the lower level, will remain in place. Future plans involve tearing down the top floor and replacing it with a plaza overlooking the slopes.

Grand Opening plans are still in the works, said Eshbaugh, but “Mark your calendars! We can’t wait to show it off.”

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