A $2.5 million expansion underway to one of the region’s top lodges is providing the perfect prelude into what could be the best season ever in their 12-year history.
Construction is well underway at Baldface Lodge near Nelson on the new, 9,000-square-foot two-storey east wing building, said Marina Moroney, Baldface’s guest services manager.
The old east wing — which contained the dormitory and staff quarters — collapsed on Mother’s Day last year due to the unusually heavy snow loads (from la Nîna).
The main lodge building that housed the dining area, bar, recreation area and general congregation was not damaged, however, nor were the seven timber frame chalets located to the west of the main lodge.
When it is complete, the new lodge will include single occupancy rooms, queen lodge suites with ensuite bathrooms, three private massage rooms, a guest drying room, a business centre, a home theatre, a ski tuning centre and a new sauna with a view.
It will house the staff — 20 people at a time — and 12 guests.
It is expected the new two-storey building will be able to accommodate more off-season traffic, be completely off the grid and will eventually be wheelchair accessible.
And as the lodge’s total of 50 staff settle in for the snow they will be operating at near capacity, with the lodge already booked at over 85 per cent, said Moroney.
“We are confident we will maintain our loyal client base through the next few seasons,” she said.
Baldface is working with local architect Steven Kaup from Studio 9 Architecture, and general contractor Terry Maglio from Maglio Installations in Nelson.
With over 32,000 acres of skiable terrain, open bowls, peaks, perfectly spaced trees and over 500 inches of snow there is no wonder Baldface has become a leader in snowcat skiing in the West Kootenay.
Located just north of Nelson in the heart of the Selkirk Mountains, Baldface is a 10-minute helicopter ride for those looking for three- to four-day all-inclusive, guided snowcat skiing and boarding trips. Their winter season typically runs from mid-December through mid-April each year.
Accommodations at Baldface range from basic lodge rooms to slope-side chalets. At an elevation of 6,750 feet, the lodge is the centre, with a fine cuisine restaurant, fully-stocked bar, recreation area, games, professional massage services, equipment rental and a demonstration shop.
Baldface’s ski and snowboard guides are all professionally certified with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) or Canadian Ski Guide Association (CSGA) and the CAA (Canadian Avalanche Association.