December 01, 1999

Tour Day (Indoor that is)

It was another warm and gloomy day today, although there was a bit of white on the trees farther up the mountain and a few inconsequential snow squalls blew through during the day. All in all it was a perfect day to get invited for a tour of the new Lizard Creek and Cornerstone Lodges. I suspect this was prompted by my last report in which I was skulking about peering in windows, but my guide, Gord Graham - chief pooba at Hurst construction, long time Fernie skier and patroller and all round good guy - has been suggesting this for a while and I have certainly been curious to see what they are up to.

I had heard that Lizard Creek was pretty upscale, but I wasn't quite ready for what I saw. I kept feeling like I should be asking Toto if we were still in Fernie. Certainly I don't think anyone a few years ago would have imagined such well appointed establishments in the rustic old Elk Valley. What is really amazing is that this first phase only has 14 (if I remember correctly) rooms, so the folks who are staying here this winter will hardly feel crowded as they lounge around in the leather chairs of the great hall.

Next summer the enormous second phase will open. They are just finishing the roof and top floor of this behemoth which boasts something like 27000 square feet on each of its 3 floors, plus a parking garage. What's more there is a third phase coming as well. The mind reels.

Gord also gave me a tour of the Cornerstone Lodge, which consists of a main floor of commercial space and two floors of rental condos above. About half of the commercial space will be taken up by a Kelsey's restaurant, but it is obvious it will be a while before it is open. The good news is that I hear the infamous Dave Wall will be running it. This should ensure that it won't be just another facsimiled franchise.

The day care center will also be on the main floor of Cornerstone. Gord assures me will be ready for Christmas and the suites will be ready for rental customers by December 18. In the mean time the hill tells me they will be operating the daycare out of someplace in the Wolf's Den.

There will also be a coffee shop (some sort of Starbucks clone) and two or three other shops in the building and one of those shops will be the Carosella folks from downtown. Way to go Deb and Joan! It is good to see local businesses getting in on the gold rush. :-)

At ten to seven it is a balmy 2 C outside and while it isn't raining, everything around the house is melting and dripping. :-(

The base area as seen from the second phase of Lizard Creek. Lizard Creek Lodge and its swimming pool are at the left (looks like comfortable snowball range from the Elk chair line). Cornerstone is in the upper right, with the day lodge, the Wolf's Den and the Green Griz Inn counter clockwise from it.

Part of the decidedly upscale Great Hall of Lizard Creek lodge, with its cool four sided stone fireplace.

The dining area in Lizard Creek.

An apparently unintentional, but neat, symmetry, between the window braces and the Decline ridge.

Need a rub down? They have a specific massage room, with whirlpool tub. Afterwards get your hair done and grab a pedicure in the room next door. Is that the sound of the Griz in cardiac arrest?

Perhaps he should consider a few workouts in the exercise room.

This shot from the second phase construction shows the completed (well almost - it opens tomorrow) Lizard Creek lodge and the funky army tent used by the log dressers.

Hate to walk to the lifts? Perhaps this room in the new Cornerstone Lodge would appeal to you. I wonder if you can get a caddy for your skis and poles? ;-)