A historic mountaintop stone cabin that was gutted by an accidental fire caused by the sons of a snowboard company founder almost a year ago has been rebuilt and will be ready for guests soon.
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The state-owned stone hut was built in the 1930s on Mount Mansfield by the Civilian Conservation Corps as a warming hut for crews working on ski trails on the mountain, the state's tallest. It has been rented out by lottery in the winter, accessible by a chairlift at Stowe Mountain Resort.
Construction on the new stone hut started in mid-summer. The family of Jake Burton Carpenter, founder of Burton Snowboards, donated $150,000 toward its restoration, and other people fond of it chipped in a total of $12,000 plus services and materials.
"It was a just a terrific testament to how important this place is," said Michael Snyder, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation.
Police say the snowboard company founder, also known as Jake Burton, asked his two adult sons to get the cabin prepared for a friend on Dec. 23 by stoking a fire in the wood stove. The sons placed wood against the stove to dry and left the stove door open with a log against it before leaving.
The guest didn't show up, and the hut, which had a wooden roof, wooden interior walls and wooden platforms for beds, caught fire. A lift mechanic reported the fire early the next morning. No one was hurt in the fire.
The state was able to salvage the stones. A local contractor and area craftspeople have worked on the new hut.
The building wasn't damaged too much by the fire, said Matt Parisi, of local company Parisi Masonry, who worked on the hut on Wednesday.
"Just openings like where the windows are and where the vents were, places where the fire came out," Parisi said. "That was the part that got compromised. But a majority of the building is very, very good, actually."
The project is expected to cost $276,000 and likely will be covered by insurance money and donations, Snyder said.
Barring unforeseen construction problems, the hut will be open for overnight guests on Dec. 1, he said.
The hut, which offers four single beds and four full-size beds on wooden bunks, rents for $225 a night.
The state is taking reservation requests in the lottery through Nov. 14. The first phase of the lottery will be for people who had made reservations last season but didn't get to stay because of the fire. A second round will be for other entrants. If openings exist after that, reservations will be taken by phone.
The process will no longer give preference to people who want to reserve the hut for a number of days.