Winter Park’s old Idlewild Lodge scheduled to be burned down Saturday
July 30, 2008
A piece of Winter Park’s ski history will be going up in smoke and flames Saturday morning, as the old Idlewild Lodge is put to the torch and burned down.
The burning of the old ski lodge will be under the supervision of the East Grand Fire Department. A fire truck and crew along with a bulldozer and backhoe will be on hand to control the fire and ensure it does not spread to nearby woods.
“Fire Chief Todd Holzwarth and his firefighters will be starting the fire,” said Regis Dahl, owner of the Idlewild property. “His firefighters will be using the burning as training. He wanted everybody to know the fire was being deliberately set and controlled so people wouldn’t be surprised Saturday morning and start calling 9-1-1.”
Dahl said the firefighters plan to begin the burning of the building about 6:30 a.m. The bulldozer and backhoe will push the debris into smaller and smaller piles until all the flammable material is consumed.
The burning and demolition of the Idlewild Lodge will end the history of what was Winter Park’s second ski resort. The lodge and its adjacent ski area were built and opened in 1958 by Dwight Miller. The ski area, which offered both alpine and Nordic skiing, continued operating its chairlifts until the mid-1980s.
The lodge remained open until 2002, when Dahl bought it from a church organization that was using it as accommodations for Christian groups coming to ski at Winter Park.
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“When I bought it, it was in state of disrepair,” Dahl said. “It had molding and rotting timbers, and I didn’t even contemplate keeping it open. It’s remained closed since 2002.”
Dahl said his reason for purchasing the 22-acre Idlewild property is to prepare it for future development.
“Once the burning of the lodge is finished and the debris hauled away, we’ll start putting in infrastructure right away,” he said. “We’ll grade a road through here and put in water and sewer.”
The new road, which will be paved, will extend from the bridge over the Fraser River, through the middle of where the lodge currently stands and continue up to the Idlewild property’s northern boundary with the Rendezvous subdivision. Dahl said Rendezvous and the adjacent Arrow Subdivision have plans to build paved roads that will connect with Idlewild’s paved road.
In addition to building infrastructure, Dahl said Rendezvous and he will jointly donate land for a town park that will be located at the base of Idlewild’s old ski runs. Hiking and mountain biking trails are also planned.
Dahl, who is the developer of the 7.5-acre Lake Trail Village in Winter Park, which opened in 2005, said he has no plans to personally develop the property. After installing the infrastructure, he plans to sell it.
The Idlewild property is zoned residential/commercial for 317 units plus a 70-room lodge/hotel. It is being offered for $9.1 million.