Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Broadmoor plans rustic retreat atop Cheyenne Mountain

RICH LADEN Updated: March 21, 2013 at 12:00 am

The Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs is adding a second rustic retreat — planning to build an 8,000-square-foot lodge and up to 20 cabins on top of Cheyenne Mountain where hotel founder Spencer Penrose’s historic lodge once stood.

Cloud Camp, as it will be known, will offer hiking, biking and other outdoor activities for individuals, families and corporate groups in a scenic setting on the mountain’s 9,200-foot summit, just west of the hotel. The property also will accommodate weddings, family reunions and other gatherings.

The nearly 9.5-acre project will be developed on 369 acres owned by COG Land Development, the hotel’s development arm.

The hotel wants to start construction in June and is targeting an opening date of May 1, 2014, said Broadmoor President and CEO Steve Bartolin. The camp will operate from March through November, depending on weather.

Cloud Camp will be similar to The Ranch at Emerald Valley, which The Broadmoor plans to open Aug. 1 about 20 minutes west of the hotel. The Ranch at Emerald Valley sits on Pike National Forest land that The Broadmoor is leasing from the U.S. Forest Service; the hotel is remodeling several buildings on that site, which will have 10 cabins and similar outdoor activities.

Cloud Camp and The Ranch at Emerald Valley are designed to offer a “wilderness experience” that can’t be matched by resorts in Arizona, Florida or elsewhere, Bartolin said.

The Broadmoor expects to attract outdoor enthusiasts, people who enjoy a healthy lifestyle and “adventurous” travelers, all of whom will enjoy spectacular views and surroundings along with Broadmoor-style service, accommodations and amenities, Bartolin said. Cloud Camp and ranch guests also will have the chance to return to the hotel, where they can golf, dine or shop, he said.

“To be able to have guests enjoy a true Colorado wilderness experience — the beauty of the Pikes National Forest or the vistas and views from Cloud Camp — and then tie that into all the amenities and resources at The Broadmoor at the same time is pretty unique,” Bartolin said.

Both projects were envisioned by Broadmoor owner Philip Anschutz, whose Anschutz Corp. bought the hotel in 2011. Anschutz Corp.’s Clarity Media Group also acquired The Gazette late last year.

A fitness buff and outdoor enthusiast who visited Emerald Valley Ranch and hiked several times to the top of Cheyenne Mountain, Anschutz was struck by their beauty, scenery and views, Bartolin said.

Anschutz also wants to preserve The Broadmoor’s history and legacy, and Cloud Camp will tie into Penrose’s original vision for the mountain property, Bartolin said.

Penrose opened his Cheyenne Mountain Lodge in 1926. The facility, which was open to the public, had four guest rooms, a restaurant, servants' quarters and a third-floor suite for the owner, according to Broadmoor historian Beth Davis. The lodge was closed in 1961 and, after years of vandalism, was torn down in 1976.

Cloud Camp’s lodge will have a great room, a family-style, communal dining area, a bar, fireplaces and timber decks with views of Pikes Peak and the city. The lodge also will have six guest rooms and a honeymoon cabin perched on a rock outcropping adjacent to the building.
Eleven cabins are planned in the first project’s first phase, with the potential for nine more.

The cabins — all of which will have sleeping facilities and bathrooms, but no dining areas — will be a short walk from the lodge.

Getting to Cloud Camp could be an adventure by itself. Hotel employees will drive guests by jeep or other vehicle up the Cheyenne Mountain Highway, which was built by Penrose and leads to the summit. It’s a 25-minute ride — a circuitous route in which the road zig-zags about 20 times before reaching the top.

Guests also can hike to the top along the road or even ride mules that will be guided by Broadmoor employees. A dozen picnic areas are being established along the road for guests who aren’t traveling by car.

The highway already has been upgraded to accommodate vehicles, said Terry McHale, The Broadmoor’s director of facilities who will oversee construction of Cloud Camp.

Bartolin and McHale said several measures are being put in place to guard against fire danger.

On an around-the-clock basis, hotel officials will monitor a national service that provides information and predictions about weather conditions, humidity levels and potential fire danger, McHale said.

Video cameras will allow hotel officials to constantly monitor the area, while a fire tower will be built and manned by employees to observe, monitor and detect fires. Thirty Broadmoor employees also will have training as wildland firefighters.

Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen
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