$25M Ski & Snowboard Vail clubhouse planned for base of mountain
By the numbers
• 28,000 square feet: Size of building
• $25 million: Cost of project
• 5: Number of floors
• 2: Number of luxury residential units
• 2: Number of affordable housing units
Source: Ski & Snowboard Club Vail
VAIL — The construction fence that now surrounds the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Clubhouse took decades to put up.
The club, which has been in existence since Vail Mountain’s first year of operation in 1962, announced plans this week to replace the aging clubhouse at the base of Vail Mountain with a $25 million, 28,000-square-foot facility.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail provides local athletes with a pipeline to national competition and beyond; this year, more than a dozen athletes with ties to the club will attempt to qualify for the Olympics. The organization’s current clubhouse has been in operation since 1977, and the need for an upgrade has been present since the early ’90s, say those associated with the club.
“This is the third and, thankfully, final iteration of the project,” said former SSCV board member Phil Hoversten, who is among the group of advisers that has led the redevelopment effort from the beginning. “This is absolutely huge for the club. … We like to think of ourselves as the best ski and snowboard club in the country — if not the world — and now we’ll have a clubhouse to match it.”
NO NEW DEBT
The building will be five stories tall, with parking and Ski & Snowboard Club Vail located on the bottom floors. Club facilities will include locker rooms, coaches workstations, administrative offices, conference rooms, athlete lounges, video rooms, warm-up and warm-down rooms, a tuning facility, a gym and a medical treatment center.
“The new clubhouse will go far beyond simply providing more space and enhanced facilities at the base of Golden Peak,” said Kirk Dwyer, the club’s executive director. “It will also serve a critical role in unifying our organization by providing a comfortable space where our athletes, staff and friends will be encouraged to congregate and enjoy the benefits of a slopeside community center.”
The top two levels of the property will be occupied by luxury residential real estate, which will help the club pay for the project. Underneath the facility will be two affordable housing units. Bringing everything together involved a multiyear collaboration among the club, the town of Vail, Viele Construction and Vail Resorts, which donated the additional land necessary to accommodate the expanded footprint of the new facility.
Dwyer said the project’s format minimized financial risk to the club.
“The project is thankfully able to move forward without incurring any new debt for our organization,” Dwyer said. “In fact, by moving forward, SSCV will eliminate more than $1 million of existing debt related to the planning, architectural, legal and permitting processes.”
PROUD VOLUNTEER CULTURE
The project represents one of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s top strategic priorities.
The club received mainstream recognition through Lindsey Vonn, who came through the club before becoming one of the most recognizable female athletes on the planet and is now a Ski & Snowboard Club Vail board member.
A volunteer culture helped bring the club to where it is today, something that was referenced earlier this year at Vail’s state of the town meeting, where longtime locals Vi and Byron Brown were honored as Vail trailblazers for their many volunteer efforts, including leadership roles with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.
“I remember many a cold race day at Gold Peak, with Vi as the race announcer,” recalled town council member Kim Langmaid.
Hundreds of volunteer hours were required in seeing through the new clubhouse plan. Among those volunteers was club treasurer Jeff Kirwood, who saw this deal as an opportunity to lend his expertise in real estate investment.
“In the last six months, I’ve spent 25 to 30 hours per week on this,” Kirwood said. “It has been a very complicated structure, and that’s why it has taken so long. But it’s a game changer for Ski Club Vail, in the sense that we’ve had less than adequate facilities, to put it politely, to support what has been a multi-time winner of USSA excellence awards.”
The club was named gold-certified club of the year by the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association, the highest achievement a club can receive from the governing body of competitive skiing and snowboarding in the United States, in both 2010 and 2014. In 2015, the ski-racing division of the club became the first-ever recipient of back-to-back alpine club of the year awards after also winning in 2014. When it was named alpine club of the year again in 2016, it marked a three-peat previously thought unattainable.
Kirwood said the current clubhouse doesn’t reflect the club’s success.
“This is really the face of our organization, and the face of our organization has been not that attractive,” Kirwood said. “Today, we’re excited to change that, and I think it also creates a tremendous amount of momentum.”
The project is expected to break ground next week and be completed by the 2018-19 ski season.