DOVER- As you ascend to the peak of Mount Snow, through the blue dome of the Bluebird Express the summit lodge comes into view, and a strange sight greets you as you reach the last leg of your journey. A large wooden bullwheel sticks out above the lodge’s entrance, a visual precursor to the completely reconstructed look of the lodge’s second floor restaurant.
The former Double Diamond bar opens this weekend as the Bullwheel Pub, a Belgian-Bavarian-themed restaurant that sports an industrial look, mixed with a new menu of hearty and wholesome food and a rotation of Belgian and German beers. With its new attitude and menu, those involved with its creation believe the Bullwheel Pub will become an iconic spot on the mountain, a place that skiers won’t soon forget.
“It’s going to be a mix of the location’s 360-degree views, the renovation the facilities guys did, which is pretty incredible itself, and the beer and food combination,” said Mount Snow director of food and beverage Jason Palmer. “It will distinguish us as a resort.”
The menu will feature a collection of sandwiches made from local smoked meats and sausages, along with cheese platters and soups. The beer selection will feature a collection of bottled beers, as well as a rotation of 10 German and Belgian beers, along with a specialty rye beer brewed just for Mount Snow by Harpoon Brewery. While the Bullwheel won’t be a table-service restaurant, it will feature a mug club, a special society of those who buy a specially handcrafted mug, which only they can use. The Bullwheel’s menu is designed to create what Palmer describes as a European-Alpine pub feel.
As you walk up one flight of stairs, the first thing you notice as you turn the corner to the restaurant, is a large half-bullwheel. Entering the dining room, you notice the tables are all glass-topped, handcrafted wooden bullwheels, and there are bullwheels on the ceiling rafters. The other half of the bullwheel you saw sticking out of the building is actually a half table, situated at a window looking south as far as the eye can see. This is one of the many tables where window space was expanded, for obvious reasons.
For those wondering, a bullwheel is a large wheel on which a rope turns, and is often found on chair lifts, or in farm equipment attached to the prime mover, which is called the drive bullwheel, with the other known as the return bullwheel.
Mount Snow facilities services director Guy Lewis says the Bullwheel Pub, as well as its distinct logo, is designed to be an iconic brand synonymous with the name Mount Snow. But more than that, he believes it’s a place at the resort that offers everyone the best seat in the house.
“I think we achieved something special,” said Lewis. “No matter where you sit you feel special and can say you have the best spot. People are going to identify with it and say, ‘You need to come to our ski area and check out our bar,’ and ‘Our bar, you have to take a lift to get to.’”
The Bullwheel held a soft opening at this year’s Oktoberfest, which garnered a packed house and congested travel on the Bluebird Express, a very promising sign for business to come. According to Lewis, constructing the Bullwheel Pub was a special moment in time, a collaborative effort fueled by enthusiasm, camaraderie, and hard work. The bullwheel theme came to fruition late in the summer when Lewis, Palmer, and Mount Snow general manager Kelly Pawlak joined forces on the idea of an industrial-themed design. Lewis then assembled a team of builders from all walks of resort life, including a ski patroller, a ski rescuer, and a resort retailer. To Lewis, enthusiasm and hard work made the bullwheel a reality.
“They were people who came off the mountain from other walks of life,” said Lewis. “There isn’t anything that crew couldn’t do and that one (job) will be recorded in their minds as a really special time. It was camaraderie, it was fellowship, it was hard work.”
It was also down to the wire as the crew, along with Pawlak and resort operations manager Dave Moulton, found themselves at the summit until the wee hours of the morning the day before Oktoberfest, vacuuming, cleaning tables, hanging the last shingles, and banging in the last nails.
The remote location made construction challenging as the crew loaded up an old electrical truck and drove it up the slopes, a process that took an hour, and allowed no time for leaving tools behind.
“The whole concept of the bullwheel was born out of the enthusiasm of an idea, then working with people who bought into that idea and believed that they were building something that was unique.”