Brundage Mountain, ID, Reports Progress on $30 Million Improvement Plan

SnowBrains | | Industry NewsIndustry News
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Concrete footings are installed for the new bottom terminal and towers at Brundage Mountain, ID. | Photo: Brundage Mountain

Brundage Mountain Resort, ID’s most ambitious construction season ever, is underway, with major progress reported on three key projects that are part of the resort’s $25-$30 million improvement plan.

Projects include the upgrade of the Centennial Chairlift, construction on the base area Mountain Adventure Center (MAC), and the installation of key infrastructure in the new Northwoods residential area.

Centennial Chairlift Upgrade:

Brundage Mountain Resort is replacing the Centennial Triple Chair with a Doppelmayr high-speed detachable quad. Work to dismantle the old lift infrastructure began immediately after the close of the winter season in April. The 32-year-old bottom terminal has been completely removed, and the concrete for the new terminal and several tower foundations has been poured.

The haul rope and carriers (triple chairs) have been removed, and the Brundage Mountain Lift Maintenance team has dismantled all lift towers that can be accessed from the ground. The remaining towers will be removed by helicopter later this summer. Helicopters will also be used to pour the remaining concrete tower footings and install 16 new lift towers.

The new high-speed quad – which will cut the ride time from 16 minutes to six minutes – will be in use for Winter 2023-24, giving Brundage Mountain a total of two high-speed quads to better disperse guests across the front side of the mountain.

“Brundage Mountain has so much stellar terrain on the south side of the mountain, and this new, faster lift will make it easier for skiers and especially snowboarders to reach that terrain,” said Brundage Mountain Resort General Manager, Ken Rider. “On top of that, the loading experience is going to be much smoother for all guests, including families with kids.”

New Mountain Adventure Center:

The concrete foundation has been poured for the new Mountain Adventure Center. This 17,000-square-foot building will provide efficient access to tickets, guest services, reservations, rentals, retail, the Mountain Sports School, restrooms, and a coffee shop – all on one level.

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Brundage Lift Maintenance team members dismantled the towers that could be accessed from the ground. | Photo: Brundage Mountain

Construction on the MAC, which began in early May, is expected to take approximately 18 months, and the building is expected to be in use for the start of the 2024-25 Winter Season.

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New Mountain Adventure Center Foundation. | Photo: Brundage Mountain
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The former Kids Center is being rebuilt into a year-round Mountain Sports School that will be open for the 2023-24 season. By Winter 2024-25, it will connect directly to the new structure, creating a single 17,000-square-foot MAC building. | Photo: Brundage Mountain

The thoughtfully laid-out building will provide a more seamless guest experience. The new MAC structure, built by Boise-based CSDI Construction, will include 12,000 square feet of brand-new construction, which will connect to rebuilt Mountain Sports School facilities which will contain an additional 5,000 square feet of space.

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The mountain modern design of the Mountain Adventure Center will offer a more convenient guest experience without a distracting visual impact. | Photo: Brundage Mountain

“It’s gratifying to see the pieces of our new base area facilities come together,” says Rider. “The new facilities will be coming online over the next two winters and we know our guests will be blown away by the new layout and easier arrival process.”

Northwoods Residential Area:

Adams County granted final plat approval for the 37-acre ski-in/ski-out development on Monday, June 26, 2023. The Northwoods neighborhood consists of 21 single-family home sites and 11 cottage lots tucked into the woods just off the Lower Rodeo ski run.

Boise-based RSCI Construction is installing the road, water, and sewer infrastructure for the Northwoods neighborhood this summer. The next phase of residential construction includes 45 townhomes built in a contemporary mountain modern style, designed to blend in with and preserve the natural beauty of the nearby Payette National Forest.

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The mountain modern design of the Mountain Adventure Center will offer a more convenient guest experience without a distracting visual impact. | Photo: Brundage Mountain
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Northwoods Residential Area – Looking North. | Photo: Brundage Mountain

About the 10-Year Improvement Plan:

These three cornerstone projects are part of a comprehensive 10-Year Resort Improvement Plan developed after Brundage Mountain Holdings acquired ownership of the resort in November of 2020 after the passing of longtime owner Judd DeBoer.

The new ownership group is a collection of Idaho-based families who came together to purchase the resort in an effort to keep it independently owned and locally operated, as well as to guide future development at the resort in alignment with a homegrown vision. Priorities include maintaining the authentic, uncrowded character of Brundage Mountain, improving the on-mountain guest experience in both winter and summer, upgrading facilities and infrastructure, and bringing lodging to the base area.

“The vision for the future of Brundage Mountain was created by people who love skiing and recreating at Brundage Mountain with a ton of input from our long-time guests. The area is growing and demand is on the rise, we’re working hard to stay ahead of that curve and make sure we preserve the low-key, uncrowded vibe that makes Brundage so special.”

– Brundage Mountain President, Bob Looper

More Key Developments:

June 2023: Forest Service Accepts New Brundage Master Development Plan (MDP)

On June 1, 2023, the Payette National Forest officially accepted an updated version of Brundage Mountain Resort’s Master Development Plan. The new MDP includes proposals for lift and terrain expansion, expanded snowmaking capabilities, and new on-mountain lodge amenities. This plan charts a course for the next ten years of expansion on the mountain. Now that the MDP has been formally “accepted,” Brundage Mountain with work with the Payette National Forest on timelines for scoping and implementing each aspect of the detailed plan.

Projects Already Completed or in Progress:

New Mountain Bike/Hiking Trail: Brundage Mountain Resort partnered with the Payette National Forest, CIMBA (Central Idaho Mountain Biking Association), and the non-profit One Track Mind Foundation to complete a 6.4-mile trail that connects the 30+ mile Brundage Bike Park with the popular Bear Basin Trail system. That trail, called B2BB (for Brundage to Bear Basin) opened to the public in late June 2023.

New Ski Patrol Building:

A two-story, 2,800-square-foot building that now serves as the permanent home of the Brundage Mountain Patrol headquarters was completed in early December 2022. The new and improved first aid facility includes additional bed space on the ground floor and improved ambulance accessibility. It also includes a functional meeting space for employee training.

New Employee Housing Facility:

In early December 2022, Brundage Mountain Resort completed work remodeling a historic 10,000-square-foot schoolhouse in New Meadows into a housing facility that accommodates 17 employees. The dorm-style Meadows Haus consists of eight double rooms, each with its own bathroom and one single, along with a shared kitchen/dining area and a large common room. Brundage housed approximately 50 employees this past winter season, and resort management is pursuing multiple partnerships and initiatives with the goal of increasing that number by 100 or more.

Entrance Road and Parking Lot Realignment:

The entrance road to Brundage Mountain has been realigned to improve safety, streamline traffic flow and maximize parking. The new design improves sightlines and creates a safer, more enjoyable arrival experience. It also paves the way for regraded, redesigned parking lots which will maximize parking space by 2024.

Dead Timber Removal:

Mountain Operations crews are in the process of removing dead timber from a span of 100 feet on each side of the lift lines. This creates additional fire breaks across the mountain and protects lift infrastructure from the threat of fire and falling trees. Dead timber removal has been completed on the Lakeview and Centennial Lift lines, with the BlueBird Express, Bear Chair, and Easy Street lines slated for future improvements.

Whitebark Pine Preservation:

Brundage Mountain Resort has teamed up with the USDA Forest Service, the Youth Conservation Corps, and other local volunteer groups in an effort to conserve the threatened Whitebark Pine (pinus albicaulis). Climate change, white pine blister rust, and the mountain pine beetle have caused the rapid decline of the species across its range, but biologists have found stands of Whitebark Pine located at Brundage Mountain to be among the most blister rust-resistant in the Mountain West. Crews spent several days last summer daylighting the existing stands of trees and planting 600 seedlings that were harvested from cones collected three years earlier. Efforts to conserve the Whitebark Pine continue, and Brundage Mountain is working toward certification as a Whitebark Pine Friendly Ski Area.

Activity Barn Wetlands Restoration:

Brundage Mountain is investing in the future of McCall’s Activity Barn site by planting nearly 1000 native shrubs and seedlings as part of a wetland restoration project. The 115-acre Activity Barn property has been grazed and flood-irrigated for more than 100 years. The carefully designed planting project aims to stabilize banks and soil and increase wildlife habitat across a three-acre wetlands area, and to connect unique spring-fed wetland features to the overgrazed creek channel at the site. The Activity Barn is owned by Brundage Mountain and operated as a recreational site that offers lift-served snow tubing and a dog-friendly Nordic trail about three miles south of McCall.

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