On the slopes of Mount Dainard, high above Kinbasket Lake, rests the Mica Heli Ski Lodge, a new luxury lodge catering to an affluent international clientele of thrill seekers. Mica Heli Guides Ltd. is the leading boutique heli-ski operator in the world. The design for the lodge is a pragmatic response to the site issues as much as aesthetics. The building itself was anchored into the site—hanging off of the edge of the mountain—as to minimize the size of the building and retain the “cabin” feel, and the essence of the original lodge was respected by the provision of appropriately scaled spaces and through the use of natural, locally sourced materials such as stone and cedar. As for location, views from the building were maximized to provide a sense of excitement that foreshadows the customer experience on the slopes.
The new 15,300 square-foot lodge replaces one of the site’s original aging ski chalets and includes 12 suites, staff accommodation, retreat room and business centre, a gourmet kitchen, dining room, lounge, ski shop and fitness centre. The interior features wood, stone, and leather in a rich, natural colour palate, while stone and cedar accent the building’s exterior. Unique to the project was the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glulam for the floor structure and roof which eliminated the need for joists and simplified the building process.
Construction of the multi-million dollar project spanned a total of eight months, from April 2012 to December 2012—a very quick turnaround for VVI Construction so as to kickoff the 2012-2013 ski season. The remote location—160 kilometres north of Revelstoke, B.C., at the intersection of three mountain ranges— also proved an interesting challenge to surmount (the site is only accessible by helicopter in winter; access by summer requires a combination of four-wheel drive and barge). As such, construction materials were barged to the site—(approximately 220 trips in total) This is a project VVI will be proud of completing and will be promoting for years to come.