That’s the amount of money Intrawest Corporation is pumping into West Virginia’s Snowshoe Mountain Resort this summer, in its continuing effort to mold Snowshoe into a world-class resort. After purchasing the resort in 1995, Intrawest immediately began making improvements, starting with the installation of the resort’s first high-speed quad, the Ballhooter. Last summer, Intrawest followed up with the installation of a second high-speed quad, the Western Express, and a new 1,500-foot vertical trail to keep it company, expert Shay’s Revenge. In the past two summers alone, Intrawest has invested $52 million into capital improvements.
Construction began last summer on Rimfire Lodge, the first phase of an aggressive plan to add a new mountaintop village to the resort. The slopeside Rimfire Lodge is set to open this fall with 142 residential units and 9,000 square feet of retail space. This summer, the resort broke ground on Highland House, its second development project. Highland House will offer 77 ski-in, ski-out units adjacent to the Skidder slope, as well as 13,000 square feet for retail and restaurant space. The new facility should open during the summer of 2000.
Amidst the construction, numerous other improvements are being made throughout the resort. Skiers and boarders will find a new full-service restaurant at Rimfire Lodge, Eli’s Tavern, which will be overseen by Robert Wong, an Executive Chef formerly employed by the prestigious Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia.
A 2,200 square foot Kids World facility has been added to the Silver Creek area, providing child supervision and a central location for parents to buy lift tickets, rentals, and lessons. Kids will also get to try out the new Magic Carpet, a surface lift. Bonfires, scavenger hunts, snow sculpting, and other activities will periodically be offered to keep the kids happy.
The rental equipment fleet has been expanded with an additional $300,000 in equipment for the upcoming season, including 1,000 new pairs of shaped skis and step-in bindings for the entire snowboard inventory, consisting of 500 snowboards.
The abundant natural snowfall at Snowshoe has prompted the resort to add guided snowmobile tours this winter. Over 40 kilometers of cross-country and snowshoeing terrain will also open up when the natural snow cover allows.
The new Sunrise Backcountry Hut, accessible via the Cheat Mountain Ridge trail, will remain open this winter for those wishing for a backcountry adventure. The rustic cabin sleeps 12-14 and is overseen by a full-time caretaker, who prepares breakfasts and dinners for guests. Private and shared rooms, including linens and blankets, are provided.
Several food facilities are receiving touch-ups. Arbuckle’s, which provides snacks at the bottom of the Western Territory, will receive a deck extension and an outdoor grilling area. The remodeled Shavers Food Court will offer more food and beverages, and the Comedy Cellar has been moved to the Conference Center level of the Mountain Lodge. The Boat House, a new on-slope eatery, will welcome skiers and boarders at the base of the Ballhooter lift.
What do visitors think of recent enhancements to Snowshoe? The answer may lie in the numbers: the resort reports receiving over 432,000 skier visits during the 1998/99 season, placing it in the top five percent of all North American winter resorts in terms of skier visits. With visit rates like that, you can expect to see continued improvements and expansion to Snowshoe in the coming years.
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.
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