Snowy Mountain Lodge, located just up the road from Snowy Range Ski Area, has served as a base for exploration in the Snowy Range since it was built in the 1920’s.  The Lodge, which now includes 18 additional cabins, was originally built as a science camp for the University of Wyoming and although it is no longer used by the University it still serves as a base for those spending extended time in the Snowy Range.  In recent years, ownership of the Lodge has changed hands many times and has not been operational during the last few winters.

In the fall of 2011 The WEST Institute, a Christian based organization out of Laramie Valley Chapel, purchased the lodge with the intent of both renting cabins to the general public and also providing an affordable retreat center for businesses, organizations and ministries.  With winter looming, the new owners set out to repair the damage that came as a result of the facilities sitting vacant for two years.  Clayton Schultz, director of The WEST Institute had the following to say:

When we bought the lodge we knew we had our work cut out for us.  Last winter the lodge was completely buried in snow, so we knew we had to replace the whole roof before it started snowing again. Every water line in every cabin and the Lodge had frozen, so we re-plumbed most structures and installed tank-less water heaters in all large cabins and the lodge.  By the time we open for business in December, we will have spent over $120,000 just on repairs to simply make the facilities inhabitable.

Traditionally, the Lodge and cabins have been rented out all winter to snowmobilers and skiers coming from all over the country.  This service will once again be offered, although it may take time to find customers again. Clayton mentioned:

We did our homework on the Lodge, and we know that it did not always meet people’s expectations.  We read old blogs, and we know there were issues, especially with cleanliness.  We decided to go with the same prices that have traditionally been used, and we have great staff already on site who are working on preparing the facilities to ensure that everyone has a great experience.  We have six cabins that have their own kitchen and sleep 6-8, and twelve smaller cabins that we are renting at very affordable prices that just provide small groups a warm place to sleep.

Previous owners of the Lodge have always had a hard time finding people to use it during the Summer months.  The WEST Institute believes they have found a solution that will benefit all of Laramie.  Jimmy Carter, the Assistant Director of the Lodge, says:

We have been talking to several of the churches in Laramie about them working together to offer a week long camp for kids this summer and they seem to be excited about the idea.  There are already tentative plans for a High School camp in August, and there has been talk of doing a camp for younger kids as well.  We will also use the Lodge to host classes for our Seminary Program at The WEST Institute, and we have already had several ministry groups from Wyoming and Colorado contact us about using the facilities to accommodate different retreats.  Overall we are just excited to be able to offer such a great facility to the community and the different ministry groups.

Although much work has been done to this point, the Lodge is still under construction and will not open for operation until December 15th.  At least for this season the restaurant will not be open. However there are already plans for future construction and new improvements to the lodge says Clayton Shultz:

We already have plans for five new large cabins and new bath houses.  We have many other items we would like to implement going forward, but we will have to wait until next summer now that winter is here. 

While the Snowy Mountain Lodge is still under construction you can take a look at their offcial website to book cabins and see what is being offered. You can also listen to our interview with Clayton Schultz below for more information: