Lodge makes major repairs after big 2016 snow

By Don Benjamin


What began as a roof repair quickly evolved into something bigger for Mike and Rose Wenner, owners of Grand Mesa Lodge. Unlike lack of moisture during the current dry spell, last winter's snowfall on Grand Mesa was heavy -- especially at the lodge which is situated at 10,500 feet in a rustic area adjacent to Island Lake.

For the month of November 2016, the lodge recorded a snow accumulation of 69 inches. In December 2016 the figure was 77 inches. Then came January 2017 and 115 inches of snow fell, and not just any snow, but wet stuff with water content measuring over 12 inches -- a figure more than twice the water content of previous January storms. Eventually the weight of last winter's wet and heavy snows strained the historic lodge and caused its 60-year-old roof to fail.

The lodge was constructed in the late 1950s. It was originally composed of two A-frame structures -- one served as a restaurant and the other as a store. Later a partition was added joining the A-frames into a single structure. When last year's snowpack damaged the partition, the original plan was to repair the partition roof. But when repair work began, additional damage was discovered. Joists and other structural supports were badly cracked, requiring more extensive repairs.

Mike and Rose have spent six years operating the lodge and they are determined to, as Mike puts it, insure that the facility is "restored, safe, and functional." The building's foundation is sound, as are structures on either side of the damaged partition, so work has focused on repairing weakened portions of the structure. The Cristee-Meade Building Company out of Cedaredge is handling the repairs which should be completed by February 2018. During repairs, Grand Mesa Lodge remains open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week. The lodge is located atop Grand Mesa on Highway 65 near mile marker 28 -- look for the red canoe.