Gunstock deploys the first phase of its plan

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Posted: 02/18/2022 17:45:01

Modified: 02/18/2022 17:44:51

GILFORD – The first phase of a proposed major expansion plan for Gunstock Mountain Resort would take place on the east side of the property and include the construction of a ski-in ski-out hotel.

The concept was presented at the Gunstock Area Commission meeting on Wednesday.

The hotel is considered essential because it would generate revenue for the facility, which would offset some of the $18.7 million project cost.

“Having additional revenue centers takes the pressure off lift ticket revenue and helps keep ticket prices affordable,” said Gunstock President and CEO Tom Day, during the meeting.

The so-called Eastside phase of Gunstock’s overall master plan would involve the installation of a new high-speed detachable quad chairlift to the top of Gunstock Mountain, the creation of 70 acres of new ski terrain with snowmaking throughout, construction of a 10,000-square-foot customer services building and parking lot that can accommodate 400 vehicles.

The cost to complete the Eastside phase is estimated at $18,650,000, the meeting said.

“It’s an exercise in the art of possibilities,” Gary Kiedaisch, the commission’s vice chairman, said during the presentation.

He said the Eastside was proposed as the first segment of the three-phase master plan because the inclusion of the hotel would make it the most lucrative.

The plan calls for a hotel operator to pay approximately $5 million for the rights to build the hotel on land that would be leased to the county-owned recreation facility. The hotel would then pay a percentage of its net revenue once the facility is in operation. In addition to paying the cost of building the hotel, the operator would also pay to build the road leading to the facility.

Commissioner Rusty McLear, who has spent 36 years in the hotel business, said the hotel, which would be built on a site with stunning views of Lake Winnipesaukee, would have huge appeal. He anticipated that it would be heavily booked during the summer months as well as during the ski season. The hotel would set Gunstock apart from other leisure facilities, he said.

Kiedaisch said the hotel would provide Gunstock with its greatest return on investment. He said the money an operator would pay for the building rights to the property would reduce the real cost to Gunstock of expanding skiing to the Eastside.

Commissioner Peter Ness said the proposal would require careful study and detailed financial analysis. Additionally, he said Gunstock management should confirm with the relevant authorities whether any aspect of what is being proposed would require prior government approval.

Commissioner Jade Wood noted that the project would need to be pre-approved by county commissioners and the county delegation.

McLear said the hotel would likely have around 120 rooms. He said there was enough demand for hotel space in the immediate area that the addition of a hotel in Gunstock would not affect other accommodation establishments.

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