MARS HILL – After a five-year hiatus, officials with the local ski area, Big Rock, are bringing back the apres-ski lounge so adults can kick back and relax after a day on the slopes, according to General Manager Travis Kearney.
The ski area used to have a bar on the third floor of its main building, but it was converted into office space when the Maine Winter Sports Center took over management of the facility in 2000.
Officials are re-establishing the lounge at the request of customers after they secured approval last week from the Mars Hill Town Council for an amusement permit to host dances and a license to sell beer and wine at Big Rock.
Mars Hill Town Manager Ray Mersereau said last week that the Town Council approved the license and permit in a 4 to 1 vote.
Kearney said recently that a lounge is historically part of skiing.
“Some people like to have a drink in the afternoon, or apres-ski [after-ski relax time],” Kearney said. “This is just an extra, added service for our customers. We don’t expect it to be a big part of our business.”
The general manager said the lounge would have limited hours of operation, probably about four hours a day in the late afternoon to evening, and for special functions.
The lounge will be set up in a 20-by-25-foot existing room on the second floor of the main building. Kearney said officials wanted the spot to be segregated from the public to “make sure we maintain our family atmosphere.”
Officials began interior work, including plumbing, on the lounge about a week ago. Kearney said it will feature a bar, rustic tables, and instead of standard chairs or bar stools, it will have double chairlifts for seats.
The general manager said the decor in the room will center around a vintage ski theme. A TV will be tuned in to ski races and outdoor living programs. Food will be served from the snack bar on the first floor of the building.
Officials anticipate that the lounge will serve no more than about 25 people at one time.
“If somebody wanted to relax and get away from the busy crowd, this would be available to them,” Kearney said of the lounge.
Officials anticipate that the new spot will help them to promote new activities planned for this ski season, including snowmobile hill climb racing.
Kearney said Big Rock hasn’t held such races for about six years. They will be hosting the events about twice a month this winter season.
Kearney said the lounge will be ready to serve customers when Big Rock opens for the season in December.