Steamboat Springs From the deck of Catamount's newly built Lake Clubhouse, a visitor can stare out at a 500-acre lake and the preserved green pastureland that surrounds it.
It is a view much different than what the county had slated for the area in the1970s a new ski area with 3,000 residential units, 1,000 hotel rooms and 250,000 square feet of retail space. But after a long public battle, the land was turned into the Catamount Ranch and Club with 40 lake view homes scattered around 3,200 acres.
The newly opened Lake Clubhouse is intended for the use of the Catamount's growing club membersship and their families. It offers everything from a miniature golf course to a restaurant that serves up Dungeness crab cakes and barbecued baby back ribs.
Catamount spokeswomen Jody Patten said the Lake Clubhouse is planned as an informal gathering place for its members after spending a day on the lake or by the pool.
"We needed a place other than the golf course for people to connect," she said. "It's building a sense of community as a gathering place. It's a spot for members to congregate. It houses the heart of the club."
Located four miles from the Catamount golf course and at the entrance to Catamount Lake, the Lake Clubhouse sits to the side of the club's 22 lakeside cottages. The two-story building measures little more than 7,000 square feet and has a wide wooden deck looking out on Lake Catamount.
It offers an extensive gym with fitness machines and free weights, men's and women's locker rooms, an outdoor, year-round swimming pool, a kid's wading pool, a hot tub spa, two clay tennis courts, outdoor basketball and volleyball courts and an outdoor grill area.
Erik Dargevics is one local who has been using the Lake Clubhouse frequently since its soft opening over Memorial Day weekend. Owner of one of the 22 completed cottages, Dargevics said he uses it about three or four days a week when he is in town. And he noted the restaurant's meat loaf with pork, veal and beef has been a particularly favorite amenity.
"It's just a very nice environment. When you are out here you feel like you are on vacation," he said.
"The fitness center is outstanding, the clubhouse dining environment is great, the food is delicious and the price is at a value."
Last summer, construction began on a pair of Catamount clubhouses, one for the lake and the other for the 18-hole golf course. Expected to open by the end of the summer, the golf clubhouse is intended to offer a much more formal feel with an 80-seat, full service restaurant and private members' lounge that will be opened year around.
The Lake Clubhouse has a more informal eatery with wood tables spilling out onto the deck, wooden benches in nooks and couches creating a cozy environment in the main hall.
"This gives members the ultimate flexibility in choosing how to spend their time," said Gerry Engle, who is chief operating officer of the Cordillera Group and managing partner at Catamount. "At the lake, members can enjoy an impromptu family lunch or supper after a day on the lake, watch games on television, or share cocktails at sunset with their neighbors. There's no need to dress up or sit through a full-service dinner."
Because the Lake Clubhouse has a liquor license, Patten said the public is welcomed to dine there, but it will not be a well-advertised eatery.
But both clubhouses are seen as meeting areas for Catamount's 215 members.
The club has a goal of collecting 100 more members this summer, but will stop accepting members when it reaches 375.