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Friday, July 23, 2004

Welcome to the site of the Chatter Creek mountain lodges.  Nestled in a valley beside Chatter Creek, it is a remote and tranquile setting.  This photo journal shows pictures around the site and follows the overall progress of the construction project as it moves from bare land in early July, 2002 to occupation on December 27, 2002.

Updates have been added to show changes in 2003, when the summer work program finished interior paneling, the roof overhangs and provided a front deck for the lodge.  In the summer of 2004, Solitude Lodge was added, with a ridge line that continues the ridge line of Vertebrae Lodge, but stepped slightly higher.  From a distance, the two buildings will look like one large structure.

The Chatter Creek Lodge site at the beginning of July, 2002. Over three hundred large spruce logs are on site, about 100 of them having been hand peeled. The sawmill is installed and is operating and the building pad has been leveled. The building in the foreground is a staff bunkhouse.  Vertebrae Lodge will stand immediately behind it. The original Spruce Lodge, seen at the right of the picture, oversees affairs.

July, 2002: the Vertebrae Lodge building site. In about 22 weeks, 24 clients will be sleeping and dining and relaxing on this spot. A bar will be in full service and guests will be playing pool and darts and reliving their day of powder snow skiing.

By the end of July, Vertebrae lodge starts to take shape. The sawmill can be seen between the log dump and the excavator in the background. A pile of scrap from the mill is starting to form to the left of the picture.

Click here to read about logging and log peeling at Chatter Creek. Vertebrae lodge could not be completed on time without the Wood-Mizer Sawmill. Click here to read about the Chatter Creek Sawmill.

Spruce Lodge overlooks the building site. This side of Spruce Lodge is the Bath House containing the first indoor toilets. In the foreground, discarded and neglected is a relic of an earlier time. Its Styrofoam seat was instantly warm on even the coldest nights.

The new lodge is dwarfed by its mountain neighbors. On many ski days at Chatter Creek, this wonderful slope is the end of the last run of the day. Covered by a deep layer of light powder snow, it delivers happy skiers right to the lodge door.

As the roof starts to form, the new lodge dwarfs the staff bunkhouse. The pile of scrap from the sawmill also grows. Come the fall and wet weather, this will take quite a while to burn off.

As the roof progresses, fresh snow starts to appear on the nearby peaks. Will the roof get on before the snow reaches the valley?

The roof is on at last, but it did not beat the snow. The scrap pile from the mill looks to be as high as the staff bunkhouse. The two large septic tanks can be seen beside the bunkhouse, at the left of the picture. There will not be time to cover the roof overhangs. That will have to come next year.

Evidence of Mother Nature having won the snow-before-roof sweepstakes. Quite a few hours were spent clearing the snow out of what would become the dining hall. The roof is on, but it is a long way from a finished building.

There is something new in the view from Spruce Lodge. The old neighborhood has changed.

Some windows appear, but there is still a long way to go and only a short time until opening day on December 27.

Late December, and Vertebrae Lodge is open for business, a warm and welcoming place. The first year of operation is a great success and the new lodge is admired by all clients.

During Vertebrae Lodge's first year of operation, on a changeover day, departing guests wait for the helicopter.

From the air, the completed Vertebrae Lodge as it appeared in the winter of 2004, it's second year of operation. The shed at the rear is a woodshed which covers the outdoor furnace and its wood supply. In the first year of operation, the firewooe and the hahsa were exposed to the weather, which lead to problems when the wood became snowed over and frozen together.

Vertebrae Lodge as it entered its second year of operation. In the summer of 2003, a front deck was added, the roof overhang was extended and a support structure for the overhang was built. Paneling was added to the dining hall ceiling and gable end and the whole building took on a more finished appearance.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Solitude Lodge Construction at Chatter Creek

Solitude Lodge now stands adjacent to Vertebrae lodge, sharing a common porch.

Return to main story Mountain Log Construction or next part: Life on the Chatter Creek Road