Saturday, August 28, 2004

Ski Lodge Dream

Last week I was fairly sure that I wanted to buy a beat-up old ski lodge on ten acres, ten minutes outside of Princeton. I'm not sure where the money was supposed to come from, but $107,000 for the top of a mountain with a lodge that could be made funky with minimal cash seemed to be an unbelievable bargain. Even the ski shop was still intact.

So aside from the obvious coolness of owning your own ski hill, I did do some thinking about other benefits. It would seem like a wonderful place for a bed and breakfast or eco-tourism home base, near the Trans-Canada Trail and Manning Park. The lodge itself is smack-dab in the middle of a trail network, which certainly enhances the lifestyle/tourism factors. In my dream, I saw us converting most of the lodge to a living space with two suites for visitors and paying customers, living in paradise with no neighbours, and riding various recreational vehicles every single day.

The downsides? No power or phone lines, although it has cellphone coverage. Converting the lodge into something livable would probably be a huge project. But the real problem was that the property already had two accepted offers on it, making it highly unlikely that a new bid would be successful. Never mind the logistics of figuring out how to pay for it while working in Kelowna and living in Summerland. We should probably still go see it...I think this one is going to haunt me forever.

Next Day's Update: I guess writing about it yesterday pushed us over the edge, because this morning we drove the hour and a half out to Princeton to visit the lodge. It's about five km's up a twisty gravel road from the town, pretty much at the top of China Ridge. It's really gorgeous and quiet up there, with a panoramic view, clean air and trails everywhere. The lodge itself was pretty ramshackle, showing signs of having been hastily assembled without much care, but it was still oozing with potential and I had no trouble envisioning an extreme makeover on the property.

It was fairly clear that it would have to be a recreational purchase, though -- you wouldn't want to live there until it had been significantly overhauled -- and we're not exactly in the market for a 2500-square-foot cabin on an acreage, no matter how cheap or cool it is. And the sold sign out front helped give me some closure.

We made a decent Sunday road trip out of it, meeting my parents for lunch at a neat little cafe/deli in Princeton and stopping at Bromley Rock to wade around in the Similkameen River and have a snack. Tonight we made a pasta feast, and I took the girls to Powell Beach for a sunset swim while Tannis tamed Cartwright Mountain on her bike.

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