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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Log lodges construction at Chatter Creek Vertebrae Lodge and Solitude Lodge
Welcome to Chatter Creek's Solitude Lodge construction project. Solitude Lodge is a bedroom annex to Vertebrae Lodge that accommodates 12 guests in double occupancy bedrooms, each with a private bathroom. It also provides a large drying room for outside clothing and boots for all guests. In addition, there is a small lounge and a hot tub for guests, quarters for staff and special visitors, an office, storage rooms, extra showers and powder rooms. It also has a ski shop for ski repairs and waxing.

Please browse through our photo journal for this project and watch the growth of this mountain lodge. We will be adding new posts as the lodge progresses. The lodge will be in full operation for the 2004/05 ski season.

This is part of the "Chatter News" photo journal about skiing and lodge construction at Chatter Creek. Use the links at the top of the page to view our collection of photo galleries. For the last word on Chatter Creek, refer to their Web site at:

Chatter Creek opens Solitude Lodge

Vertebrae Lodge and Solitude Lodge
Ready for the 2004/2005 winter cat skiing season, Solitude Lodge stands on the right, with it's roof overhanging the front deck of Vertebrae Lodge.

For a view of the interior of the Chatter Creek lodges, look at the Lodge Life photo gallery. Also, we have extended the "Outdoor Furnace" photo gallery to describe the heating system for Solitude Lodge.

A key component in the construction of both of the Chatter Creek lodges has been our Wood-Mizer sawmill. Have a look at the Chatter Creek sawmill.

The entryway and shared deck between Solitude and Vertebrae Lodges. A hot tub sits in the far left corner of the deck, close to bar service. At some future date, this space may be enclosed.

Four stories above the common entry deck, the roof of Solitude Lodge overhangs the roof of Vertebrae Lodge. In time, the rafters will be covered with spruce paneling to give the ceiling a more finished appearance.

All of the dimensioned lumber was milled on site by our Chatter Creek sawmill

The finished building from the rear showing the fire escapes from four floors. The upper two floors have staff bedrooms, the second floor has a small lounge area and six double-occupancy guest bedrooms, each with private bathroom. The lower floor has a large drying room, an office and a ski workshop.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Solitude Lodge at Chatter Creek
Almost completed exterior of Solitude Lodge. The focus has moved indoors. Scrool down for some new interior shots.

Entryway and first floor of Solitude lodge and new drying room for all staff and guests. The old drying room in Vertebrae lodge will be converted to an expanded bar.

Stairs to the thrid floor containing staff bedrooms. This second floor contains siz bedrooms and baths for twelve guests.

Fourth floor owner's quarters. Paneling for the ceilings might not get completed this year.

New furniture stored on the commone deck. This will be for the expanded bar or perhaps for the sitting area in Solitude lodge.

Windows and doors sit at the entrance of Solitude lodge ready for installation

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Solitude Lodge Construction at Chatter Creek
The roof is on! Bedroom window openings start to appear. The crew handily beat the snow with this project. No sign of the white stuff yet. However, with all the rain in September, folks are hopeful for a "big" winter.

Solitude Lodge Construction at Chatter Creek
The common entryway is covered and will remain open on the sides. A second hot tub will be installed here. Solitude Lodge is on the left, Vertebrae Lodge on the right.

Solitude Lodge Construction at Chatter Creek
A view of the new roof from the side. The roof overlaps Vertebrae lodge so the common entryway is covered. The buildings are settling and shrinking at different rates, hence the gap between the roofs. Vertebrae lodge has been drying out since Oct. 2002. Solitude lodge is soaking wet. There will be a lot of shrinkage in the first year.

Solitude Lodge Construction at Chatter Creek
Steel sheeting complete on one side. That's a big step! Window openings will be cut after the finishing starts. First priority is to get dry.

Solitude Lodge Construction at Chatter Creek
The strapping is on over the rafters, over the purlins. The steel is next and then the building can start the long process of drying out.

All of the dimensioned lumber was milled on site by our Chatter Creek sawmill

Solitude Lodge Construction at Chatter Creek
Rafters on at last. It has been a rainy month and slow "going". Wet logs are always slippery. The roof will have to be "strapped" and then the steel can be applied.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Solitude Lodge Construction
A hint of the lodge appearance with the new building in place. The roof of the new lodge is now on and we are waiting for photos. The deck between the lodges will have a second hot tub. The first tub is located behind the bedroom wing of Vertebrae Lodge, on the deck visible at the left end of the building. Click here to put the lodges in context.

Solitude Lodge Construction
The Solitude Lodge roof overhangs Vertebrae Lodge so the common deck is fairly well protected. One day, an encolsure may be added to further weather-proof the deck, which will hold a hot tub.

Care had to be taken to allow for differential shrinkage between the two buildings. The logs in the new lodge are green and very wet, whereas Vertebrae Lodge has had three years of drying. When the steel sheeting is complete on the new buidling, it will almost rain inside on the first few sunny days.

Solitude Lodge Construction
Dale drilling a ridge pole member for a seating pin. All of the posts and beams and other dimensioned lumber was milled on site by our Chatter Creek sawmill

Solitude Lodge Construction
Part of the ridge pole is already set. A second section has been built on the ground and will be easily lifted into place by the crane. It's a huge time-saver.

Solitude Lodge Construction at Chatter Creek
Going up

Solitude Lodge Construction

Solitude Lodge Construction
It easily clears the first section of the ridge pole.

Solitude Lodge Construction

Solitude Lodge Construction

Solitude Lodge Construction
Done. Ridge pole is set into place.

Solitude Lodge Construction
The butt ends of the logs will be trimmed and chamfered when the building is complete. The metal jacks (rods) on top of the log posts will be adjusted as the building shrinks. Most of the space allowed will be taken up as the wood dries.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Solitude Lodge Construction
The two lodges stand face to face. When it is complete, the roof of the new lodge will extend to cover the common porch. Log beams that support the second and third floors can be seen extending from the walls. Window openings will be cut after the roof is complete.

Chatter Creek Mountain Lodge Construction
The Wood Mizer 'LT 40 hydraulic' band mill, with it's 45'ft bed, has been hard at work since the snow melted. It has milled joists and deckings for three floors, 2x6 studs for partition walls, 2 in boards for decking, 1 in boards for panelling, 2x12 rafters and a variety of beams and posts.

The old excavator is still giving yeoman service after many years of hard work. It now has a lot of help from a newer and much larger machine. The building to the left of the lodge is the workshop and occasional bunkhouse for staff.

Chatter Creek Mountain Lodge Construction
Dale inspects newly sawn timbers for the roof. These may be part of the ridge pole. Vertebrae Lodge stands in the background. On the left can be seen the woodshed and the chimney of the outdoor furnace.

Chatter Creek Mountain Lodge Construction
After about six weeks, the walls are now finished and the roof structure starts to take shape. The walls rise three courses (rounds) higher than in Vertebrae Lodge, so that third floor staff rooms will have some wall space for windows for light and ventilation.

Solitude Lodge Construction
The view from the new lodge showing the home run hill and the beginning of the road to the Vertebrae glacier and many other points in the tenure. Under two meters of snow, this slope provides a wonderful finish to a day of skiing or riding.

The new excavator sits ready to tackle the road expansion program planned for the fall. The roof to the left is the generator shed. A hydro electric plant is planned for future years.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Solitude Lodge Crew

Solitude Lodge Construction
Pow Wow
The crew working on the lodge are:
Dale McKnight, Chatter Creek partner
Dan Josephson, Chatter Creek partner
Marc Beleyme, a Chatter cat driver. Marc worked on Vertebrae Lodge
Scott Taylor, a Chatter cat driver. Scott worked on Vertebrae Lodge
Christoph Lauder, one of Chatter Creek's chefs
Stephan Forsman, a carpenter working with Chatter Creek for the summer.
Mike McKnight, part time labour, support and expert advice

Click here to meet some of the members of the Summer Crew.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Solitude Lodge Construction
Gently does it! Dan runs the crane to lift logs into place and to support them while Dale, on top of the wall, scribes and trims notches.

Water Source for Chatter Creek Lodges

Solitude Lodge Construction
A branch of Chatter Creek runs beside the lodges. First passing close to Spruce Lodge, it runs nearby  Solitude and Vertebrae Lodges as it makes its way down the slope to join Chatter Creek, just below the lodge site.  The stream flows all year and provides the lodges their  water.

Taken from a point not far above Spruce Lodge, the lodge water flows through a 4 inch main that lies on the surface.  A 2 inch bleeder located near  Vertebrae Lodge terminus is supposed to provide enough flow to "guarantee" the water main never freezes.  Or at least, so said the engineer.  Mother Nature had another plan and the water main has frozen at some time each winter.  On those occasions, the bleeder was used to supply Vertebrae Lodge and life went on.

There is a plan to use the creek to drive a pelton wheel so as to generate a portion of the electrical power requirements.  This environmentally friendly approach will save diesel fuel and reduce wear on generators.