ELLICOTTVILLE - If your idea of a good time in the winter is relaxing in a ski lodge, then Holiday Valley has a new attraction to check out.
On Saturday, Dec. 15, Holiday Valley officials will be a hosting a grand-opening celebration for the new $12 million Holiday Valley Lodge. The new lodge replaces the 50-year-old main base lodge, the Clubhouse Chalet, with the purpose of improving circulation, services and experiences for Holiday Valley guests.
Construction of the lodge began in March, and since then more than 250 tradesmen and women from more than 30 companies have worked on the building. Most contractors were from the local Western New York/western Pennsylvania area. The general contractor was Duggan and Duggan from Olean and the architectural firm was Clark Patterson Lee Design Professionals, which has an Olean office.
The completed Holiday Valley Lodge, pictured above, is the result of close to nine months of construction by more than 250 construction workers.
The 66,000-square-foot building will serve as the base lodge during the ski season and as a year-round conference center. The lodge contains a food service area, two bars, a coffee shop, equipment rental and repair shops, the Snowsports school desk, locker rooms and a day care, to go along with reception and conference rooms.
''Until this building, we had business conferences in the spring, summer and fall, but had to shut down in the winter for ski season,'' Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley Resort marketing director, ''Now with the new lodge we can keep the conferences going during the winter. People like coming in the wintertime because they like to ski too.''
The Holiday Valley Lodge is designed with a soaring 32-foot cathedral ceiling with tongue and groove cedar decking, thick wooden beams, a two-story stone chimney with fireplaces on both floors, expansive exterior decks, and a natural stone and cedar exterior.
Holiday Valley also made on-mountain improvements by installing automated snowmaking systems on the Yodeler, Morning Star and Candy Cane slopes. The automated systems include weather stations that monitor temperature, humidity, wind direction and speed. The goal of automation is to increase efficiency and energy savings while providing the best possible manmade snow. An automated snowmaker was installed last year on Mardi Gras.
''All the guns are controlled by a computer, so all can turn on at the same time and be turned off at the same time,'' Eshbaugh said. ''With the weather, sometimes you only get an hour or two to make snow. With a manual system, it would take so long to turn them all on and then turn them all off.''
Holiday Valley features 58 slopes and trails, 13 lifts, three base lodges, slope side lodging and dining, conference facilities, an 18-hole golf course, a treetop aerial adventure park and a mountain coaster.
For more information, visit the resort's website at www.holidayvalley.com.