Pioneer Crossing Restaurant on Peak 7
Breckenridge, Colo.
Best Project, Residential/Hospitality; Judges' Special Recognition

Owner: Vail Resorts Development Co.
Lead Design Firm: Collaborative Design Studio
General Contractor: Hyder Construction
Structural/MEP Engineer: SGM
Subcontractors: C & C Plumbing and Mechanical Inc.; Hunt Electric; Arapahoe Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc.; Garfield Steel & Machine Inc.; Gallegos Corp.; Stan Miller Inc.; Pinnacle Glass; Assurance Fire Systems

Pioneer Crossing Restaurant on Peak 7 at Breckenridge offers a relaxing break for skiers and snowboarders. But there was nothing leisurely about the restaurant’s construction. The contractor had to overcome a late start and wild weather that brought wind, snow and lightning. Site access was limited to a one-lane road, snow cat, ski lift or helicopter. And there was additional scope. Still, the project finished on time and on budget with no OSHA-recordable incidents or lost-time accidents.

The 17,000-sq-ft restaurant is a heavy-timber-and-steel-frame structure with seating for 490. It also includes ski-patrol facilities. Unfortunately, forests around Breckenridge are among areas in the U.S. hit hardest by beetles, but as an homage to the region and a way to embrace sustainable design, the team used beetle-kill pine as trim throughout the restaurant.

The 11,400-ft elevation makes it the second-highest on-mountain restaurant in the country. But the high-elevation work meant significant safety concerns, especially the potential for altitude sickness. The site required constant vigilance to ensure that all workers were drinking water and taking breaks to overcome oxygen deprivation.

Extreme weather shut down the site several times. As storms blew in, a lookout monitored developments so workers would be safe.

After mid-November, deep snow kept workers from reaching the site by road. At that point, all equipment and crews arrived at the job via chair lift or snow cat. Near the end of the project, team members were even skiing some materials down the hill. With the accelerated schedule, workers saw a multitude of long days and seven-day weeks.

The pressure to finish on time was enormous because Breckenridge Ski Resort has relatively few on-mountain restaurants. Pioneer Crossing also offers the resort’s first on-mountain, full-service bar.

Through their gritty performance, crews on the Pioneer Crossing project showed how ingenuity and determination can overcome the challenges of a difficult site. By meeting the schedule, the team helped the resort stay competitive in a business that demands providing skiers with an ever increasing number of amenities.

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