Mt. Baker Ski Area will debut a $3.5 million lodge this season that will seat about 300 guests with about 10,000 square feet.
The lodge, called Raven Hut, is set to open around the first week of December at the location of the former Raven Hot Cafe and will be accessible by ski or snowboard only. It will feature a full-sized kitchen, two fireplaces and the 1920s Cascadia-style architecture of other lodges at the ski area.
“There are many great features for people to see inside and out,” said Duncan Howat, president and general manager.
Local craftsmen and artisans joined in the effort to provide custom detail to the lodge. The logs for the lodge came from Deming, the shingles are hand split, handles are made out of cables from chair lifts and the fireplace is made from a native stone from the ski area.
Howat’s favorite part of the lodge is the outside entry with 9-foot doors and bronze sculptures of ravens on each door in addition to the fireplace and kitchen.
The kitchen will start off with a standard menu and will delve into specialty items such as pasta dishes, possibly some Mexican food, custom sandwiches and, of course, homemade french fries, Howat said.
Construction began on the lodge in July with a sewage and water system after having to plow about 12 feet of snow out of the way.
“It was a very cold spring and early summer,” Howat said. “It made it very difficult to get started.”
Between 20 to 50 people from local subcontractors worked on the lodge throughout the summer, he said.
The existing White Salmon lodge was becoming overcrowded, Howat said. As the lodge reaches completion, Howat is looking to hire an additional 20 employees for the weekend shifts.
Ticket prices will remain $51 for adults on the weekends.
Congress passed the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act in October, allowing eight Washington ski areas to expand summer operations. Mount Baker, though, is currently not looking into adding additional activities to the summer season.
“We are not in that mode right now,” Howat said.