Newly Rebuilt Sperry Chalet on Track to Open in July

Despite uncertainty surrounding summer in Glacier, concessioner said no one has canceled reservation to stay at the chalet

By Justin Franz
The Sperry Chalet pictured on Oct. 4. Photo courtesy of Glacier National Park Conservancy

Two years after it was destroyed in a wildfire, the newly rebuilt Sperry Chalet will be ready to welcome guests in July. But what exactly that experience will be like is unknown because of uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Kevin Warrington, concessioner for both the Sperry and Granite Park chalets in Glacier National Park, said he plans on opening Sperry on July 18 and Granite Park on June 29, if Glacier is open.

Warrington said the Sperry Chalet is mostly finished, and once the park is reopened, builders will move in and remove tools and scaffolding. At the same time, Warrington’s staff will start furnishing the building. Warrington estimates that once the chalet is accessible in June or July, there will be about two weeks’ worth of work to get it ready for guests. Currently the chalet is mostly empty and needs beds, furniture and other amenities.

“I cannot wait to show this building off to the world,” Warrington said.

Warrington said he was planning a summer-long celebration for the return of Sperry, but that might be complicated by the coronavirus pandemic. It is unlikely any grand opening events will be held this summer, although Warrington notes that a Sperry celebration of sorts was held down in the valley over the winter.

The concessioner is still fine-tuning the plan for how to handle guests during a pandemic, and Warrington said he plans on updating reservation holders on what to expect as summer approaches. As of right now, guests are being advised that this “will not be a typical season” at Sperry.

Social distancing rules will be implemented throughout the chalet and only family units or people traveling together will be able to interact or share rooms with each other. There will be restrictions to building access and only people with reservations will be able to enter the chalet and its associated structures. Communal offerings that “invite crowding or virus transmission” will be removed, like community books and games. The fireplace will remain cold.

If any visitor shows any signs of illness while at the chalet, the entire party will be evicted and must evacuate to the frontcountry. “The chalet is too far from medical help and too close quarters to take any chances,” the website states.

The same rules will be in place at Granite Park.

“I wish we could open our doors wider this year,” Warrington said, but added that he is doing what he thinks is best to keep his guests and employees safe.

Despite the uncertainty — as the Beacon went to print it was still unclear when the park would open, although officials have said they are working tirelessly to make sure it can be done safely — Warrington said no one has canceled their reservation at Sperry.

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