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Joe and Gavin

Joe Griffin, 65, left, offers tips to Gavin Watson, 10, during cross country ski lessons given a few years ago at Homestake Lodge. 

Homestake Lodge, a cross country ski resort about 13 miles east of Butte is on the market.

The owners, Chris and Mandy Axelson, are asking $2.9 million for the 154-acre spread surrounded completely by Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.

Mandy Axelson said by phone Thursday that she and her husband hope that when the property sells the new owner will run it as a cross country ski lodge.

“It adds something to the community and contributes in a positive way,” Mandy Axelson said. “We would love for it to continue as it is.”

Joe Griffin, an avid cross country skier, said that if the lodge closes under new ownership, it’ll be a big loss for Butte.

“It’s a cross country ski paradise. Paradise is a good word for it,” he said.

Griffin described the lodge as having world-class cross country ski trails.

It's also the closest commercial cross country ski resort to Butte. Discovery, which is about 40 miles to the west, is for downhill skiers.

The Axelson’s groom the 20 miles of cross country trails on the property themselves. They began 12 years ago when they bought the land and built a yurt to get through the winter.

Now the resort includes a lodge, barn, cabin and house.

The lodge offers lessons and rentals and operates a cross country ski program for elementary and other youth.

Chris Axelson said the lodge has a program for Butte and Anaconda fourth graders that allows kids to cross country ski for free for a day.

The program has been going on for nearly ten years. With 300 to 500 kids coming through a year, the lodge has provided “thousands” of kids with a free lesson in cross country skiing, Chris Axelson said.

A new grant from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation will allow the program to expand to schools outside of the immediate area, Chris Axelson said Thursday.

Chris Axelson, who is 61, said he doesn’t expect to go anywhere anytime soon.

“We plan to continue to invest in this place. We love it dearly,” he said.

The Axelsens sent out an email recently to patrons saying that while they’ve put the place up for sale, they don’t expect the sale to happen anytime soon.

“We are told it can take 3 to 5 years to sell a property like Homestake Lodge. That would make Chris 66 years old,” the Axelsons wrote in an email sent to patrons earlier this week.

Mandy Axelson said the couple aren’t planning to retire after the lodge does sell.

Chris Axelson said he’s “healthy as a horse.” But, they’ve put the place up for sale now to prevent a future where they might “land in a pickle,” Chris Axelson said.

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