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Officials consider Arrowhead lodge lease

  • Arrowhead Recreation Area in Claremont, N.H., is busy with tubers, skiers and snowboarders on Dec. 30, 2010. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 12/7/2022 9:37:56 AM
Modified: 12/7/2022 9:37:35 AM

CLAREMONT — Making Arrowhead a unique and more inviting four-season spot for skiing, tubing, mountain biking and other activities is the city’s goal of the city as it considers the possible lease of the Arrowhead lodge to The Wheelhouse Bike shop, now located at the Claremont Junction.

“We want to make sure it is a destination for winter and summer operations,” City Manager Yoshi Manale said last week. “That is better for the town. No one wants to see winter operations end. The city has no interest in closing winter operations.”

Some members of the Arrowhead Recreation Club have said a lease of the lodge would close the facility to the winter operation and could lead to its demise, which city officials insist is not their plan.

How both the bike shop and Arrowhead Recreation Club, which has run the tubing and skiing at the hill for more than 20 years, can operate successfully together remains unanswered, according to the city manager.

“That is still up in the air,” Manale said, adding that any agreement reached between The Wheelhouse and the city would be brought before the City Council for approval. “We are examining all options.”

City officials declined to specify what the ARC and the winter operations would look like if the lodge is leased, other than to say the goal is to enhance all activities on the hill.

Rob Walker, co-owner of The Wheelhouse, said last week there is a proposal before the city but declines to provide specifics at that time. However, Walker said he shares the goal of maintaining and improving winter activities.

“The goal is to maintain ARC and create something amazing on the hill for the future of recreation,” Walker said.

Walker and others at the bike shop have put in a lot of volunteer time building trails at Arrowhead. Those efforts have made the hill a destination for mountain bikers from New England and beyond. The last two years, Arrowhead has been a stop on the Maxxis Eastern States Cup races series.

The Arrowhead Recreation Club, which was started more than 20 years ago, has been run mostly by a small group of volunteers who have operated the skiing and tubing hill in addition to making several capital improvements. It also rents the lodge for functions during the spring, summer and fall.

Chuck Allen, along with his son Spencer, has been the face of Arrowhead since it was brought back into operation. In a series of emails, Chuck Allen said he does not view the possible lodge lease as a benefit to the ARC and fears it will effectively end the traditional winter operations. Allen has said he welcomed the expansion of mountain biking on the mountain but did not believe it could possibly mean the loss of the lodge, where tickets and concessions are sold and people come to warm up.

“This would totally close the lodge to public access for both winter and non-winter use,” Allen said. “They proposed having a ‘warming hut,’ ticket sales and food trucks outside for the winter, this will not work. You can put a bike shop most anywhere, but a lodge within (a) city park has no such option.”

Planning and Development Director Nancy Merrill has been involved in the discussions and reiterated what Manale said.

“We want to figure out a way to make this work for everybody’s benefits” Merrill said this week. “We think we can provide other ways for the recreation club to make more revenue. So for the public it would expand opportunities.”

Arrowhead will hold its regular winter schedule this year, weather permitting. Any lease arrangement would not take effect until next spring.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at

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