Grant match needed to launch construction
The fundraising drive to support the replacement of the Wolf Lodge at Loup Loup Ski Bowl with a new building is in its crucial home stretch.
The Loup Loup Ski Education Association, the nonprofit that operates the ski bowl, launched a campaign last October to raise $1 million for a new day lodge.
Craig Howard, a fundraising consultant, and foundation board member Jeff Brown said this week that an anonymous donor has pledged $50,000 toward the project — if the foundation can raise a matching $50,000 by July 1. Brown said early this week that the fundraising effort to match the grant was about $20,000 short of the goal.
The foundation intends to carry through on its plans to demolish the existing lodge and build a new one this summer and fall if the fundraising is successful, Howard and Brown said.
Fundraising slacked off after coronavirus containment measures were imposed earlier this year, Brown said — but lately, the contributions have started to come in again. The response from grassroots donors “has been really good,” he said.
Brown said the foundation is waiting for a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assessment by the U.S. Forest Service, which was expected this week.
Larger, more amenities
The existing Wolf Lodge at Loup Loup Ski Bowl is more than 50 years old and well past its life expectancy. The new building will be 50% larger and offer more amenities — “a lodge for the next 50 years,” Howard said in an earlier interview.
The existing lodge “was not built to last this long,” Howard said earlier, and maintenance alone for the structure “is overwhelming.”
Howard said the push to build the lodge this year is urgent because of the need, and that the project will employ local people through the fall. He said the project has drawn substantial in-kind support such as site preparation work and reduced-price building materials.
Support for the project has come from both sides of Highway 20, Howard said, citing contributions from donors in the Okanogan Valley.
The existing administration building will remain, and will be connected to the new lodge. 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.
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.
The foundation’s fundraising effort was jump-started last year by an earlier $50,000 contribution that was then matched by a friend of the donor.
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 http://www.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.