Ski & Snowboard Club Vail clubhouse comes down, making way for new building (photos) | VailDaily.com

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail clubhouse comes down, making way for new building (photos)

VAIL — A feeling of nostalgia blanketed Golden Peak on Monday, as Ski & Snowboard Club Vail's clubhouse was torn down.

As Ski & Snowboard Club Vail prepares to tick another major goal off of its strategic plan with the construction of a new $25 million clubhouse, the current clubhouse, which has served the club faithfully for the past 40 years, is now nothing more than a memory.

The building was first erected in 1977, when the club had fewer than 100 members. Since then, it has seen many different iterations, but one thing that never changed was the clubhouse's ability to draw skiers of all kinds through its halls.

Skier Lindsey Vonn and snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington both came through Ski & Snowboard Club Vail before winning Olympic gold medals in their respective sports. World Champion skicross racer Chris Del Bosco called the club home for a number of years, and recently Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumnus Aaron Blunck became an X Games gold medalist after spending a good amount of his formative years in the clubhouse at Golden Peak.

Moguls skier Toby Dawson, with his unique story of being born in Korea and becoming separated from his mother before finding himself in the states skiing for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, helped bring the club international fame in 2006 when he placed third at the Olympics. Recently in the moguls scene, Morgan Schild has helped return the club's mogul prowess to the top of the World Cup podium, notching wins in 2015 and 2017.

'GRACED THESE HALLS'

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Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alpine race coordinator PJ Jenick said names like those, as well as veteran racers, 10th Mountain Division heroes, Masters Champions and even World Cup champions have helped the building survive, but it has been the energy of youth which has really kept the clubhouse functional.

Ski & Snowboard Vail now serves more than 650 athletes and employs more than 100 coaches.

"The kids that have come through the building, along with their parents, from far and wide — nationally, internationally, locally, regionally — have made this work for so long," Jenick said from the demolition site on Monday. "It's wonderful that we're going to have this great new facility, but at the same time, it's a bit of a soft spot."

Former U.S. Ski Team racer Karen Ghent was herself an athlete in the clubhouse before becoming a coach and watching the alpine program grow to the best in the nation, as named by the United States Ski & Snowboard Association in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

"When I was an athlete, it was only one level," she said on Monday. "We've had to walk through the building many times and say 'what about this space becoming an office, or this place becoming a locker room.'"

Local coach Ben Roy said while the building was falling apart, he still loved every minute.

"The character of the building … I felt at home," Roy said from the demolition site on Monday. "It's reminiscent of the great old competition buildings from around the country, like Sugarloaf's old building back in the day, or Franconia Ski Club, this is one of those buildings where people whose names are very recognizable in the sport have graced these halls."

TRANSITION PERIOD

An expanded three-lane driveway and enhanced snow mitigation for the building is expected to reduce traffic on Vail Valley Drive during busy pick-up and drop-off times.

The top two levels of the property will be occupied by luxury residential real estate, which will help pay for the project. The lowest level will consist of an underground garage, plus two affordable housing units.

While local skiers and snowboarders will be without a clubhouse this season, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail said it has a plan in place to make the transition as seamless as possible.

"This vacancy has always been a planned necessity of the project," said club communications manager Geoff Mintz. "SSCV leadership has been extensively preparing for the prospect of a winter without a clubhouse."

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail CEO Kirk Dwyer said it was a true team effort.

"I want to emphasize the outstanding leadership effort by members of our clubhouse committee, which is comprised of current and former SSCV board members," Dwyer said. "Of special note is the exceptional commitment of Jeff Kirwood in leading the committee and helping make this dream a reality."

Construction on the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail's new five-story clubhouse will begin in September, with the building expected to be ready by the start of the 2018-19 ski season.