SHARECOMMENTMORE

CLEVELAND -- A $5 million investment in the local ski industry should be ready to open when there's enough snow.

Construction workers were putting the finish touches on Brandywine's new Base Lodge, a 48,000 square foot, two story facility witha long row of largewindows that look out on the ski slopes.

"Our previous lodge was a little older and we're excited to get this," said Steve Mackel, Marketing Manager for Boston Mills/Brandywine.

"People are just going to be blown away when they get here and see how nice this area is. We just want to provide the best product we can for our guests."

The base lodge has been under construction since three smaller buildings were demolished earlier this year. It represents one of the largest investments ever in the local ski industry, which has a limited season.

"Skiing here in Northeast Ohio is maybe two, two and a half months of good skiing," Mackel pointed out. "So we want to make sure in that two and a half months we provide the best product that we can."

The second floor of the lodge featurescafeteria style food service and an adjacent lounge and seating area which canaccomodate up to 600 guests.

Brandywinehas also included a 24-tap bar, which was carved out a huge tree which hadfallen into the river on the grounds ofthe resort.

The rental facility on the first floor containsall new skis and boots, hundreds of pairs, and a vastly improved an enlarged area for fitting.

"We can get everyskier fitted quickly and perfectly right on the spot," Mackel told WKYC.

Nearby Boston Mills, which has also made significant improvements, and Brandywine are both owned by Peak Resorts, a national company which recently bought Alpine Valley in Geauga County.

"For Peak Resorts to make this major committment with a new state-of-the-art base lodge shows how much it values this resort, and the guests who have been so loyal to it for decades," said Vinnie Lewis, General Manager of Boston Mills/Brandywine.

The lodge was expected to be ready to open as soon as the weather cooperates with snowfall, or temperatures low enough to produce snow. It was hoped that would happen before New Years Day.