$28M Ski Club Vail clubhouse benefiting from the warmer weather conditions | AspenTimes.com

$28M Ski Club Vail clubhouse benefiting from the warmer weather conditions

John LaConte
Vail Daily

VAIL — The warm end to autumn was not favorable for most of Vail Mountain, but it was welcomed at the Golden Peak construction site.

The new clubhouse currently being built for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail has brought a level of slopeside development to Vail unseen in town for more than a decade. When the $28 million project is completed, it will provide the type of amenity one might expect from the club that produced Lindsey Vonn and attracts national teams from around the world to town every fall to train on its skiing surface.

For now, though, it's a construction site, and one that seems to have benefited from the same conditions that caused that November training to see delays and cancellations this season.

Local contractor Viele Construction is building the 16,000-square-foot facility.

"We obviously got lucky with the weather," David Viele said. "We ran into a couple unforeseen conditions with existing utilities that, because of the weather, we were able to absorb into our schedule."

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Viele is himself a Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumnus and has taken a close interest in the project.

"Ski Club Vail is very near and dear to my heart, and I take this project very personal," he said.

The foundation of the five-story building is being installed using the precast method, where the concrete is cured in a different location and transported to the construction site.

"The plan is to have precast completed more or less by the end of January, which will allow us, because we will be covered in the lower levels, to start work on rough mechanical, plumbing and electrical," Viele said. "So the plan is playing out as we hoped it would."

That plan has been underway for much of the decade. It was a complicated idea, involving cooperation and support from Vail Resorts, the town of Vail, Colorado Business Bank and others, but in coming together, it is expected to happen quickly, with the clubhouse open for operations by Thanksgiving.

"It's an accelerated schedule, but I think it was built to be that way," Viele said. "It's always been the plan to have one season down for the club, but we have been working on it in various planning stages for six or seven years, so we were able to come out of the ground running. And I think the means and methods that we picked — how we were going to construct it — will lend itself to being in a position to open it back up again after one season."

VONN: 'PRETTY AMAZING'

For this season, a large trailer has been installed on the property, which, by most accounts, is not much different than the former clubhouse, which was installed in 1977 and identified as outdated in the 1990s.

The trailer has been a saving grace, as Ski & Snowboard Club Vail's 600 members and staff are still in need of a base of operations on Vail Mountain. The club has been recognized as the best in the country in recent years by U.S. Ski & Snowboard, a designation that never seemed to fit in alongside its tattered clubhouse, said former SSCV board member Phil Hoversten, who is among the group of advisers who led the redevelopment effort.

"We think of ourselves as the No. 1 ski-racing organization in the country, but also, we think, in the world, and it was almost embarrassing for me when we would run our early-season training out here with all the World Cup skiers and then they'd come in for a team meeting in that old clubhouse," Hoversten said. "They're all getting their lane assignments saying, 'Lindsey Vonn came out of this place?'"

In a November interview with the Vail Daily, Vonn — who is also a board member at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail — said the clubhouse project was an important one to her.

"I feel like we've been talking about getting a new clubhouse forever — since I was, I don't know, 15 years old," Vonn said. "And finally it's happening, and it's pretty amazing."

jlaconte@vaildaily.com