Fundraising campaign underway to support project
The Wolf Lodge at Loup Loup Ski Bowl, now more than 50 years old and well past its life expectancy, will be replaced by a new facility in 2020 if the nonprofit organization that operates the ski area can raise the necessary $1 million in donations for the project.
The Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation is now fully engaged in a fundraising campaign, said Craig Howard, who is acting as a consultant to the foundation.
If all goes according to schedule, the existing day lodge will serve for one more winter, then be demolished next spring and replaced by an entirely new building that will be 50% larger and offer more amenities — “a lodge for the next 50 years,” Howard said.
The existing lodge “was not built to last this long,” Howard said in a recent interview. Maintenance alone for the structure — including dealing with dry rot —“is overwhelming,” Howard said.
“Time has taken its toll on this much-loved facility, and repairing it was becoming a nearly impossible — and growing — annual burden,” Howard said in an email. “The [foundation] board considered all possibilities, but it boiled down to two choices: repair or replace the lodge. It became clear that repairing was just not in the cards. …They were ending up with new repairs on top of old repairs.”
Chris Stern, chair of the fundraising campaign, said in an email that “the board has been working on this project since a donor came forward, unsolicited, pledging $50,000 and suggesting his buddy would match that (which he did). It has been several years since that pledge and we’ve gone through several plan renditions, from a wonderful ‘put everything in’ it plan for a lodge, to a plan that has what we need and will serve our community for the next 50 years. What the Loup Loup Ski Education Foundation is proposing is straightforward, functional and will be a strong base from which it can grow.”
Taking care of basics
As for planning, Howard said in the email, the board was faced with many decisions: “For example, how about snow-making equipment? Or a washroom at the top of the lift? Maybe a lounge in the lodge? Summertime activity uses? So many good ideas, each with merit, but the board realized that there were some core things that simply had to get done before anything else could.”
The existing administration building will remain, Howard said, and will be connected to the new lodge. Howard said the U.S. Forest Service, which owns the land and has an operational agreement with Loup Loup, wants to see some demonstrable progress on a new facility.
The adjacent “bus” ski repair facility is four years past its usage agreement, according to the foundation’s campaign brochure, and will be replaced.
The restaurant will be much improved with an upgraded kitchen. Jon Brown of Arrowleaf Bistro will be working with the Loup to develop a dining plan, Howard said.
Seating and gathering spaces will also be expanded, the rental and repair facility will also grow by 50%, and there will be more space for the ski school.
What’s a lodge without a fireplace? “One potential significant donor looked over the plans and said flatly that they would not be involved in the campaign unless there was a replacement fireplace,” Howard said. “So this generous anonymous donor has made a separate commitment to fund the fireplace, knowing that many other people would feel the same way.”
Barb Preston of Pinto Design has completed designs and specs for the new building. Jim Salter of Blackcap Builders Collective will be the contractor. The new lodge’s profile will be similar to the existing building. It will have cedar board and batten siding.
Howard said some “substantial gifts” have been lined up to jump-start the fundraising campaign. The Loup will also be reaching out to the public for support, he said, with an aggressive social media campaign.
To learn about donating to the campaign, visit skitheloup.com/the-next-50-campaign. According the Loup Loup website, about $350,000 has been raised so far.
About Loup Loup Ski Bowl
• Located on Little Buck Mountain between Twisp and Okanogan on Highway 20.
• 1,240 vertical feet; 10 cut runs; highest elevation, 5,280 feet; 23 kilometers of groomed Nordic trails; 50 kilometers of groomed Nordic trails at nearby South Summit; tubing hill; terrain park.
• Quad chair lift, platter surface tow, rope tow.
• Ski school, snowboarding lessons, Nordic lessons, tubing hill, luge sledding hill equipment rentals and repairs, day lodge with food and beverage service, first aid room, snowshoeing and fat biking, some designated dog-friendly trails.
• The Loup typically plans to open by mid-December, or whenever enough snow has fallen for safe skiing.
• Season passes and day passes available For information about rates, rentals and snow conditions, call (509) 557-3405 or visit skitheloup.com
The Loup: a timeline
• 1959, Kiwanis starts clearing Little Buck Mountain for a potential ski area.
• 1967, the Wolf Lodge is constructed; poma lift installed.
• 1982, Loup transferred to nonprofit status.
• 1998, quad chair installed.