Gently rolling hills where skiers once schussed down have taken on a new identity, thanks to the group which is refurbishing Clear Fork Adventure Resort.
The 40-acre area is going to be a year-round resort, where people will be able to enjoy downhill tubing, explore the mysteries of “Zorbs,” paddle board, hike, camp, bird watch, and eventually use zip lines.
Clear Fork Adventure Resort had an official opening July 2, where bands played, people could try the sports, and hamburgers were grilled.
Jennifer White, a spokesman for the resort, said she and the owners and co-workers “want the experience here to be everlasting.”
She said everyone working there “wore multiple hats” to get various types of work done.
When you drive into the Clear Fork resort, it can bring back memories to those old enough to remember the days, back in the 60s, when it was a ski area and people in the know felt they could go there for a good time.
The angular building is still the same, and the chair lifts remain. Various out buildings have been turned into cabins, and the lift areas will be converted into zip lines, said White.
To the left of the ski lifts, as you face the hill, are runs people can use for things like the “Zorbs.” These are inflated globes jumpers can get inside and use to take a 600-foot drop.
The three new owners of Clear Fork Adventure Resort, who took possession in June 2015, are from Utah.
Luke Loveland, the project administrator, has been at the site for a month doing much hands-on work.
Loveland said he feels “this particular property” is vital to the community. He said it had been a winter resort, which was the thing back in the 60s and 70s.
But that resort model, of having to make snow to keep lifts running, isn’t something the new owners believe in doing.
It’s important that it be a “year-round resort” that distinguishes itself from Mohican State Park and Pleasant Hill Lake, he said.
He said he and his partners, CEO Dale Munson and COO Kellen Jones saw an opportunity to take over the Clear Fork resort, and want to capitalize on its potential.
He said it will be taking it “from nothing to something.”
It is not the business model of Loveland and his partners to “take the property back.” They want to be “pro-active,” he said.
The resort has items people can purchase to make their adventure more comfortable, like life vests, towels, shirts and sleeping bags. People can camp, but it will be a primitive camping arrangement, she said.
Workers are tweeking a number of things at the resort so peoples’ stay there can be without frustrations, she said.
She personally handed out 500 flyers to people in Cleveland, to inform them of the resort. For the opening, she pulled the band schedule together and made sure food operations went smoothly on opening weekend.
White said the food service there will not be the usual hot dogs and chips fare. A woman who owned a restaurant in Mansfield is going to be in charge of food service at the resort.
Cabins at the resort, some of them former service buildings for the old Clear Fork, have new names. One had been a first aid station, and another was one where people could rent skis.
There are two cabins that have more than 24 bunk beds, and a separate room. These are intended to house scout troops, and provide a station for a scout leader who might want to sleep separately, she said.
The owners have sought support from Butler officials, and recently appeared before a council meeting to elicit aid with health department and traffic officials.
White said they sought support in dealing with licensing and permits. They also want a change in signs that lead into the resort so that speed limits are correctly stated. The idea is that the speed should be 15 to 25 mile an hour, so people know they have to protect children who will be using the resort, she said.
For now, the resort will be open daily from noon to 6 p.m. On weekends, it will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
White said all working there are “treading” through operations set-ups. They want to be sure they have arrangements done completely so people will have good experiences, she said.
The resort should be available for wedding and corporate events, churches, scouts, and father and daughter dances, according to White.
A few difficulties the previous owners had are things the new owners are cleaning up, White said.
The new owners “picked up their baggage” and are moving on, she said.
The owners experimented with using tokens on opening day, but that will be changed to wrist bands, she said.
People can go downhill tubing for $5 for two hours; play knocker balls for two hours for $15. The fee for water boarding is $20 an hour.
One person can try all events for $79, and a family of four can try all for $299. Camping is $129.99 a night.
The entire park can be rented for $1,500, for two hours. The fee is $2,500 for four hours.