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Sagamore Hills -- Recent heavy snow has brought winter fun back to Brandywine Ski Resort for another season and now there is a new place for guests to seek warmth and comfort.
Steve Mackle, marketing manager for Brandywine and Boston Mills Ski Resort in Peninsula, said a couple of runs were opened Dec. 28 at Boston Mills and more the next day at Brandywine.
He said about 500 guests who were the first to buy Summit Season Passes were invited to get the first look at Brandywine's new, $5 million lodge Dec. 27.
"We're basically complete. We're just waiting for the snow to cooperate, which it is," said Mackle.
Mackle said that the resort had to wait at least until there was a "good base" of snow, with the large snow making machines available to provide more if needed.
"We would love to have been open before Christmas," he said. "It's just been too warm."
Brandywine Ski Resort is in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, on the south side of Highland Road and west of Brandywine Road.
Peak Resorts, Brandywine and Boston Mills' Missouri-based parent company, announced last February it would replace the old, 1963 lodge and outbuildings with a new facility in time for this season. At the time, Mackle said Brandywine needed a larger facility to accommodate an increased number of guests.
The new two-story structure consolidates equipment rentals, ticket sales, retail shop and restrooms on the ground floor. The upper level is a much larger cafeteria than previously existed with large windows providing a panoramic view of the slopes. There is also an 80-foot deck running along the front of the lodge which is about double the size of what was offered at the old lodge and is accessible both from the cafeteria and outside, via stairs. Total seating on the upper level is about 600, said Mackle.
The project also included the removal of a ski patrol building from the base of the slopes, which Mackle said not only opens up the area for skiers, but also improves the views from the lodge.
Mackle also said that this season, the resort is also offering "hundreds and hundreds" of new skis and boots for rental to go with new snowboards that were made available last year.
Mackle said Brandywine is "really excited" about its new facility.
"We want to provide the best skiing and snowboarding and we're happy to be able to provide a new lodge to do that," he said.