History of The Ridge
The Grouse House was originally built in the 1960's. David and Hooker Judson were then the owners and initial developers of Otis Ridge. Dave was a member of the famed 10th Mountain Division during World War II. He, as other returning members, somehow became involved in the ski business. They did the initial planning and developing of the Otis Ridge Ski Area when the primary mode of uphill transportation was rope tows. They were responsible for the inception of the Ski Camp and saw the area go through many changes.
At the time the Grouse House was conceived, Dave had at least a two-fold purpose in mind. At that time Otis Ridge was noted as a teaching area and Dave would bring foreign ski instructors over from the Alps. They would stay the winter and bunk over the ski shop. In addition, Dave was a pioneer in the snowmaking business and was looking to upgrade the system. He started at first to construct a building to house two large compressors that he had purchased from the Holland Tunnel Authority. He then decided that by adding an upstairs, he could house his visiting instructors.
Somehow the initial plan expanded and what you see today was then built. Our long tenured bookkeeper provided the information on how the name of Grouse House came into being. Apparently there was a nest of Grouse that had not hatched when the roof was due to go on. Rumored is the fact that he held construction till the nest was clear. Hence the name the workers gave it sort of stuck.
Through the years there were changes. There was a shed porch addition built on the slope side. The initial bar was moved to that area. On December 25, 1994, an electrical fire started in the bar and lounge area. Only through the quick and efficient response and actions of the Otis Volunteer Fire Department was the building saved. As a result, the addition was razed and the building returned to the initial design. The winter of 1993/94 was a particularly poor snow year in the Berkshires. It was with the assistance of some good friends and local contractors that we were able to close the building back in and make it possible to renovate slowly in the years to come.
The basement of the Grouse House still houses the snowmaking operations of the Ski Area. Those dining on weekends in the winter can experience this first hand. When the compressors and water pumps start, the building experiences the associated vibrations and some noise. Customers who have spent the night upstairs while this occurs have said that it lulls them right to sleep. When in operation, we can arrange a tour of this operation for you. Please do ask if you are interested.