(COLORADO SPRINGS) — While it may seem like ski season is coming to an end, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Lemon Lodge Ski Bar is getting ready to open its doors in the month of May bringing rustic lodge traditions into the Southern Colorado community.

“This is a legitimate, next-generation ski and snowboard simulator,” Lemon Lodge Ski Bar Owner, Melanie Hexter, said. “This is what’s at Park City at U.S. Ski and Snowboard Training Center for both freestyle snowboard and skiing.”

Lemon Lodge Ski Bar expects to open its doors for a soft launch on May 8th.

When it comes to skiing, Hexter’s love for the sport has been shared from her husband to her kids.

“So, my husband learned to ski as a kid in the Appalachian Mountains in the Midwest, New York, West Virginia, Pennsylvania area,” Hexter said. “We have a picture of him with his mom when he was probably five or six, is the earliest I’ve seen of him on skis. So, yes, he taught all our kids to ski and they’re pretty avid during the winter.”

Photograph of Hexter’s husband skiing at a young age. Courtesy of Melanie Hexter.

On the machine, you have the choice between snowboard or skiing and can decide on the level.

“So we’ll have a greeter there to say, ‘Hey, did you have an appointment?’ ‘Yes, I did.’ ‘Super. Did you bring your boots or not?'” Hexter said. “They’ll walk you over to the assistant snowboard or ski instructor. Think of that as a 15 or 20-minute slot to get your boots on and to do some dry land training and then when it’s your turn to hop on the skier’s snowboard simulator, that’s another 20 minutes.”

When visiting the lodge, you will be able to reserve the machine online to book a time slot.

Father and son inside of Lemon Lodge Ski Bar discussing ski boots.

Hexter said Lemon Lodge Ski Bar received a grant to add an adaptive platform to accommodate people with motor disabilities.

What makes Lemon Lodge Ski Bar extra special is how it is a family-run business.

“So the son that said why don’t you get a snowboard simulator has since gone out and gotten his PSI, a level one ski instructor certification,” Hexter said. “So, he’s one of our lead instructors. So it’s really fun to make a whole team.”

Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC shared the positive impact of bringing family businesses into the city.

“Legacy businesses are the heart of every community and so just knowing that we have one of those… coming into our downtown area and one of the efforts that we work on so much is retaining our young talent,” Vice President of Economic Development, Theresa Metcalf, said. “So to know that this legacy business could provide opportunities to retain talent in the community is just a great story.

Metcalf recognized the growth of Southern Colorado and how businesses play a crucial role in the city.

“I think it’s really important to note that Colorado Springs and El Paso County, we are experiencing some unprecedented growth and we’re excited to be a part of that,” said Metcalf.

Last year, the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC worked on ten projects last year which created over 2000 jobs and above $750 million in capital investment.

“So in 2022, we did announce ten projects and those are they were in our primary industries or sectors,” stated Metcalf. “And so they were either aerospace and defense-related and they were in the semiconductor manufacturing sector. As well as some great software development and cybersecurity companies.”

With the new addition of Lemon Lodge Ski Bar, the love for skiing will remain in Hexter’s family while also bringing alpine skiing traditions into the city.

Lemon Lodge Ski Bar cowbell on display inside of the lodge. Courtesy: Mike Duran.

“So now you have these cowbells that you use as the skiers are flying by on the mountain for races because you can’t clap and mittens clapping isn’t heard,” Hexter said. “So, the cowbells take the place of like a megaphone. So, we’ve gotten our cowbells from the lady that does the cowbells for the Olympics, for the World Cup, for the Tour de France, all those things. So, we want to be as authentic and real to the Alpine community as we can. It’s fun.”