FRANCONIA, NH — Construction is on schedule and on budget at the $3 million Mittersill Performance Center, soon to be the new headquarters for the Franconia Ski Club (FSC).
“This has been a dream for so long,” said Eric Price, program director for FSC, on July 14.
Guests at the governor and executive council’s meeting, held at Cannon Mountain last Wednesday, were invited to tour the site, set to be completed in September, with Tim Tapply, current president of FSC’s board of directors. The super-energy-efficient building, located at the bottom of Cannon’s revitalized Mittersill terrain, will be gifted to the ski area by FSC after its completion.
John DeVivo, general manager for Cannon Mountain and Franconia Notch State Park, spoke about the long partnership between FSC and the ski area, as well as the opportunities the club provides for area children.
DeVivo emphasized that the club helps to make sure ski racing is available to anyone in the North Country regardless of socioeconomic status. In addition, partnerships between FSC, the Holderness School, Plymouth State and the University of New Hampshire help expose local kids in the club to greater educational opportunities.
“They may not be a racer forever, but they will be a skier,” said DeVivo.
The club’s home base used to be Ernie’s House, located halfway across the mountain from their training grounds. The arrangement required hundreds of kids and their coaches to ski “across the grain” up to four times per training day.
According to Tapply, membership in the ski club is now capped at 201.
The Mittersill Performance Center, a “mini-lodge” and training center double the size of Ernie’s House, is located right where it should be: at the bottom of and with views of the Taft Training Slope. The 9,200-square-foot center will be open to the public.
The design and color scheme of the new building was carefully designed to match the nearby Mittersill Alpine Resort.
DeVivo told members of the Cannon Mountain Advisory Commission (CMAC) on July 16 that FSC represents around 500 season pass holders and is a great stimulator of the North Country economy. Once no longer needed, Ernie’s House will become a functional facility or potential restaurant space, if put out to bid.
“FSC takes Cannon to a whole other level,” said Thad Presby, of Presby Construction, Inc. and a new member of the CMAC.
Cannon, an official U.S. ski team training site, has twice been host to NCAA skiing races, as well as numerous other national and international competitions in slalom, giant slalom and super-G. Price said the club expects to host many other high-level races with the addition of the Mittersill Performance Center.
The club broke ground on the center, which includes two levels and a basement, last August. Tapply said that FSC, which has no endowment, rose to the challenge to raise funds for the new building without state funding.