Four Points Lodge construction at Steamboat Ski Area weathers mud season just fine
May 17, 2013
Steamboat Springs — Construction on Four Points Lodge is on schedule, and despite appearances from the valley floor, the site is dry and firm. But the early construction season above 9,000 feet didn't begin that way.
"You can plan, but we're all familiar with Steamboat in April, and it was really firing it at us from the start. It was dumping and it was 5 degrees," Calcon Constructors Project Manager Jim Kohler said Thursday afternoon. "But that turned out to be the perfect temperature. Once we got the snow plowed off there, it dried right up."
The new Four Points Lodge will comprise 13,000 square feet and replace the old Four Points Hut, which began service as a ski patrol shack at the upper terminus of the Four Points chairlift in 1967 and was expanded to 1,000 square feet with bathrooms and food service in 1992. The new lodge will have seating for 200 diners. The goal is to open it to skiers in time for the December holidays.
Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Diamond formally announced the project was a go March 28 and acknowledged the goal of opening in time for holiday skiers in late December was ambitious.
On Thursday afternoon, Ski Corp. Vice President of Resort Services Jim Snyder, who has the extra title of project owner for the $5 million-plus Four Points building, emerged from a two-hour meeting on the project and said the construction is on time right down to the hour.
"I can ask Jim Kohler if we're on schedule, and he'll say, 'What time is it?'" Snyder quipped.
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He agreed that the cold, spring conditions have provided an unexpected blessing.
"We really got lucky with the way the weather has been," Snyder said. "Initially, we dropped the building (beginning April 15), and the temperature stayed cold. We scraped the site, and it never got muddy like you'd expect with a runoff. We got rain on May 9 and 10, and we could still get cement mixers up, but we couldn't get them down, so we had to stop, but we're still right on schedule."
Michael Gumbiner, who heads Ski Corp.'s engineering group, is its project manager on Four Points Lodge.
The contractors' ability to get heavy equipment to the 9,700-foot elevation on the ski mountain while snow lingers all around is noteworthy. The plowed road, where it switchbacks up ski trails like Twister and Nelson's Run, is plainly visible from the valley floor.
Kohler said one of the first things Calcon did was to use a dual-axle pickup to haul a 35-foot construction trailer to the site. And Native Excavating has trailered a full-sized track hoe to the job.
Soon, Calcon might widen the last switchback before the top so it can use 40-foot tractor-trailers to haul steel to the site, Kohler said.
The choice of a steel frame facilitates building for heavy snow loads on the upper mountain and also will aid in the goal of sticking to a tight schedule, he added.
"The steel should go up pretty quickly in the next two to three weeks," he predicted.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com