Summit Nordic Ski Club could soon have first clubhouse in the historic Excelsior Mine Office
April 12, 2018
The Summit Nordic Ski Club is wrapping up a strong season, with 140 athletes, seven junior national competitors and 490 coached sessions. But the state's second-ranked Nordic club still doesn't have a physical home in Summit County, where it has operated for more than three decades.
That could soon change. Earlier this week, the club floated a plan to remodel and take up residence in the historic Excelsior Mine Office, which has been sitting unused on the Frisco Peninsula since it was moved from town last year to make way for development.
"In the past few years we've seen absolutely tremendous growth, but the one thing we keep coming up against is that we do not have a physical home here," club director Whitney Hedberg told the town council on Tuesday. "We need a clubhouse. We need a place that we can call home."
The plan suggests moving the Excelsior to a new spot near the Frisco Nordic Center adjacent to the so-called stadium, an open field that serves as a staging point for races and connects to several trails.
Frisco is an ideal headquarters for the club, Hedberg said. The Peninsula Recreation Area is home to the Frisco Nordic Center's network of groomed trails, which have begun attracting large events. In December, for instance, the Nordic Center hosted a junior Olympic ski qualifier with snow moving help from SNSC.
"For us, it's a no-brainer — this is where we need to be," Hedberg said. "As we continued to think about this idea, this little building appeared at the top of the peninsula. We drove by it every day, and a few of us started thinking: could this potentially be this clubhouse that we're thinking of?"
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The building was erected in 1895 as the office of the Excelsior Mine, which briefly turned up silver riches and provided Frisco with electricity for the first time. The building was moved down from Tenmile Canyon in 1938 and shuffled around again last December, when developer Larry Feldman loaded it on a truck and gifted it to the town.
Despite its old age and frequent relocations, the building is in good shape structurally. Its interior is a different story, but SNSC has drawn up plans to remodel the building and turn it into a clubhouse.
"The idea is to create a showcase for this historic building but also making it functional for the team," said architect Andy Stabile, who drew up renderings of what the new clubhouse could look like.
Hedberg said that the club would look for ways to cut costs on the project, which town staff estimate could cost $250,000. People like Stabile, for instance, can offer professional services on the project.
Under the plan, the town would retain ownership of the building and lease it to SNSC. If the club's current trajectory is any guide, it could soon outgrow the space, but that wouldn't stop the town from finding a different use for it.
In the meantime, the club says the Excelsior House could provide sorely needed space at the Nordic Center and two additional bathrooms.
"We think this will really help with the pressure that the Nordic Center is feeling right now, which is enormous on some days when we have literally hundreds of children trying to use that building at the same time as tourists and locals," Hedberg said.
Council was generally receptive to the idea, although some were concerned that the club would soon need a bigger space.
"I like the concept of creating a kind of Nordic village there, and I like the historical aspect and keeping that visible," Mayor Gary Wilkinson said.
The club expects to return to council some time in May with additional information and estimated costs for remodeling and moving the building, town manager Randy Ready said.
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