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Getting to Know Your Neighbor: Holiday Valley hosts grand opening of new main lodge

WARM AND COZY — A ribbon-cutting of Holiday Valley’s new main lodge was held on Saturday, Dec. 15, before the ski season opened about a week later. Photos by Jeff Martin.
ELLICOTTVILLE — A grand opening of the new, 66,000 square-foot Holiday Valley Lodge was held Saturday, Dec. 15 at Holiday Valley Resort.

Jane and Michael Williams of Bradford, Pa. drove to Western New York for their first ski of the season and were there for the lodge’s ribbon-cutting.

The three-level, $12 million facility serves as the resort’s base lodge and includes a locker room, rental facilities, conference center and day care facility. It also offers two bars, a coffee shop and views of the slopes.

“There were good views before,” Michael Williams said, “but this is awesome.”

Although the ski season did not arrive until Christmas Eve, visitors to the lodge opening could warm themselves at one of the fire rings, located on the lodge porch, or tour the interior of the building.

“We love coming here,” Jane Williams said. “We hope they add something, every year.”

[photo2]Dennis Eshbaugh, president and CEO of the Ellicottville ski resort, called the Dec. 15 opening a “significant step in offering local ski enthusiasts – and the nation – the best possible snowy getaway. It’s been a remarkable journey,” he added.

Although the project was expected to take as long as 14 months, hundreds of workers logged thousands of hours to complete the lodge in approximately nine months.

Eshbaugh credited the weather, in part, for the swiftness of the project’s completion.

The lodge, aided by an incentive package from the County of Cattaraugus Industrial Development Agency, replaced the 50-year old main lodge, the Clubhouse Chalet.

The project was designed by the Olean office of Clark Patterson Lee Design Professionals, while Duggan & Duggan of Olean served as the general contractor. Kyle Duggan called the project “one of the largest” Duggan & Duggan has ever worked on. “It was a huge effort,” he said.

Holiday Valley Vice President of Operations Bonnie Koschir said the nine-month journey was long, but added that it was worth it. “Mother Nature was kind to us,” she said.

Holiday Valley visitor Mark Painter of Olean said that he especially enjoyed the lodge’s high cathedral ceiling and views.

“Fireplaces on both floors are pretty cool, too,” he said, adding that he has been coming to the Ellicottville resort for years. While he said that Holiday Valley has not changed, “in spirit,” he added that he is concerned about recent weather patterns. “It makes you wonder about the whole global warming issue,” he said.

For more information on the lodge and resort, visit www.holidayvalley.com.
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