The fire came days after ski season closed in April at Sun Valley Resort.
Fire, water and smoke extensively damaged the resort’s Warm Springs Lodge at the base of Bald Mountain. The fire – still of unknown cause – started outside the rear building and consumed the roof.
“If you looked at the front of the building, it looked like nothing happened,” said Kelli Lusk, the resort’s corporate communications manager.
Instead of bemoaning the damage, the resort moved swiftly to have the 16,000-square-foot Warm Springs Lodge ready for the upcoming ski season. By May, work was already underway to reconfigure the uses within the stone-and-timber structure built in 1993.
“In true fashion, this is what we are going to do to take something tragic and make something better,” Lusk said.
Most crucial was adding 100 seats to the dining area that frequently has been plagued with insufficient seating to give the room 282 seats.
“People would like to go to lunch, but there was no (more) seating,” she said.
The middle entrance to the lodge was eliminated to create more seating, and the ski school desk was relocated to the ticketing area for more seating space, Lusk said.
The revamped Warm Springs Lodge will also have a new Konditorei Express, a junior version of the Austria-themed Konditorei café at Sun Valley Resort’s village.
The fire also gave the resort a chance to reconfigure the bar to face out to the mountain. Previously, people at the bar had their backs to the rest of the room.
The resort is aiming to have Warm Springs Lodge reopened in time for, or within days of, the mid-December expected opening of Bald Mountain.
Meanwhile, Sun Valley Resort is also in the second season of renovating all the rooms at the 105-room Sun Valley Inn. The first 25 rooms were completed in December 2017, and renovations started in September on the remaining 80 rooms with completion expected in January. The room count was reduced to 97 in the renovations.
Sun Valley Resort is also building two new employee housing structures to replace the housing at the Moritz Builidng, originally built as a hospital in 1961.
The new employee housing near the village will have one building with 111 dorm-style quarters complete in early December and a second building with 62 apartment-style one- and two-bedroom units complete in mid-May. In all, the housing will accommodate about 575 Sun Valley Resort employees, Lusk said.