ZANESFIELD – No matter what Mother Nature has in store for Logan County this winter, there are over 6 million reasons Mad River Mountain’s 55th season will be one for the record books, as the tourist attraction unveiled its new 46,000-square-foot lodge during opening day Friday.
Built at a cost of $6.5 million by Thomas & Marker Construction of Bellefontaine, the two-story structure is a rebirth of sorts for Ohio’s largest ski and snow tubing resort following the events that unfolded on the evening of Sept. 16, 2015, when a fire ripped through the resort’s historic lodge, erasing 50-plus years of memories. The Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office concluded the result of the blaze to be undetermined, although it couldn’t rule out an electrical issue or a discarded cigarette as possible culprits.
Mike Mihnovets, marketing manager for Mad River Mountain, said construction on the all-in-one lodge began shortly after the two Sprung structures – temporary buildings used during the 2015/2016 season – were torn down in mid- to late-March.
“We’ve about doubled the available space for our customers,” he said. On average, Mihnovets added, the resort sees 150,000 skier visits per season and 40,000 tuber visits.
To make room for the new structure, company officials elected to demolish two buildings that escaped the fire – the old motel that housed guest services and administration offices, and the Mountain Annex House, which contained seasonal lockers, lift operations, etc.
“Every consumer need is now in one building, except for rentals as that building is still remaining,” Mihnovets said.
As the Mad River Mountain faithful return to the resort this winter season, they will notice one of the iconic symbols from the old lodge incorporated into the new facility.
“We’ve brought back the stained glass, which is on both the parking lot side and slope side,” Mihnovets said.
In addition, the first-floor cafeteria is more extensive than the previous one and can seat over 800 people. The main level also features a large retail space, guest services, ticketing and ski school programs.
The gem, however, just may be the second-floor loft bar, which can accommodate over 300 guests. Not only does it feature a fireplace, unlike its predecessor, but it also contains a piece unique to the lodge and its surroundings – a massive concrete bar top that can’t be missed.
“The aggregate in the concrete is rocks from the Mad River that we incorporated into the bar top,” Mihnovets said.
For guests wanting to take in the sights of the mountain, the lodge features 180-degree views.
Information on rates and hours for the 2016/2017 season can be found on Mad River Mountain’s website at skimadriver.com.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.