So, as most of you know. The Reindeer roof has caved in due to snow load and decades of rot.
The early history of the Reindeer Lodge (40’s and 50’s) is cloudy at best and it has been known by various names like Miquels, the Rosemont, the Sundowner and probably a few more lost in antiquity. Until the last couple decades it was a Party Palace as retired patrollers and others report all nighters were a common occurrence and that the proprietor at the time would save a room just for the patrollers who couldn’t walk, to crash onsite until the rudeness of early morning struck once again and they staggered back to the mountain. When Gary Schmidt took over he brought in some pretty big name bands from his Bay Area concert promoter connections and it has been reported that Elvin Bishop, Elton John, Bo Diddly, John Lee Hooker, Leon Russel, Tommy Two Tone and many others demonstrated their musical talents at the Reindeer.
The last two decades however it has witnessed a hiatus in any action, in fact the only action has been the further slow decay of an older cedar building in the mountains. The only time I’ve been in there was a night when 431 was closed at Galena during a blizzard and when I came around the corner the “Open” sign was lit. I just had to pull over and had the toughest Buffalo Burger I have ever put my teeth into… my guess is it had been in the freezer for since Elton John had graced the stage. But, the beer was cold and the pool table fairly flat and we had a good time. The interior was a museum and very very cool with everything from a typewriter collection to muzzle loaders with six foot barrels and dozens of musical instruments. It has been about 20 years since that night and I haven’t seen it open since with the exception of what I call the “Rusty Nail Auction” where there were probably a 100 lots to be actioned off and Lot 69 was a 100 lb wooden crate of rusty nails. Most of the other lots were similar. Junk and lots of it.
With the Christmas Tree Restaurant and the Galena Lodge closed and the Reindeer falling into decay, folks returning from skiing have virtually no Apres Ski opportunities once revelers are kicked out of the Timbers Bar an hour or so after the chairs stop spinning. This is truly a sad state of affairs as we have no place to come together after a powder day a tell our lies about the cornices we jumped and face shots we enjoyed…
So now you know a little more about the Reindeer Lodge hopefully. Schmidt does vow to rebuild, but for what its worth, who cares? If its never open and an eyesore to boot, I can’t see rebuilding the lodge as a step forward. I keep hoping the Christmas Tree will return to its former splendor and there is a small chance the Reindeer could be dozed and rebuilt and returned to its glory days… and monkeys could also fly out my butt… but I kinda doubt it.