High-Performance Fabric Buildings for a World-Class Fishing Lodge
Learn why Crystal Creek Lodge relies on WeatherPort® shelters from Alaska Structures® for its building structure needs.
About Crystal Creek Lodge
Crystal Creek Lodge is a world-class remote fishing lodge located in King Salmon, Alaska.
While the natural beauty of the Bristol Bay and Katmai National Park is enough to recommend Crystal Creek, the lodge doesn’t rely on its scenery alone to attract visitors.
Since opening its doors in 1988, Crystal Creek Lodge has built its reputation around a commitment to excellence in service. Its staff is well known for an unparalleled attention to detail within the industry.
Variety is also a distinction for Crystal Creek. Guests fish for salmon, grayling, char and rainbow trout — not to mention the varied outdoor activities they get to enjoy. They not only fish and explore in the Naknek River, on which the lodge sits, but also fly out to around 60 remote destinations in the surrounding area.
Making Remote Alaskan Destinations Viable
These remote destinations are where Max Dorsi, Crystal Creek Lodge’s remote camp manager, comes in.
It’s Max’s job to plan, construct and manage remote fly-out destinations. A large part of this process involves determining what infrastructure is necessary, including boats and planes to access the sites, as well as building structures to set up there.
Some of the locations serve as overnight camps and some only as day trips. But either way, all the sites must be able to host guests overnight in case emergencies or weather events prevent returning to the lodge.
“Experiencing bush Alaska draws our guests far outside of their typical routine and comfort zone, and it is our job to ensure they are still safe and taken care of,” Max explained.
And for Crystal Creek Lodge, taking care of guests comes down to two things: weather protection and high-end quality.
“The weather is our biggest variable,” said Max. The areas in which Crystal Creek Lodge operates see extreme wind and rain, and all its structures need to be able to withstand these conditions.
Nevertheless, staff can’t construct traditional buildings on their remote sites because they often lay on leased or permitted land, which prohibits permanent structures. So, they need something that provides the durability of permanent structures while still allowing for easy disassembly and relocation.
Enter WeatherPort® shelters from Alaska Structures®.
“WeatherPorts are the closest thing we can get to hard-sided structures that give us the malleability to move them in the future and meet legal requirements,” Max explained. “They operate like hard-sided structures you can move — it’s the same thing.”
And Max would know — he’s spent a good amount of time in these structures. After planning and setting up a new remote destination for Crystal Creek, Max often lives there for weeks to months to manage the infrastructure.
“A WeatherPort is my home during that time, and any issue with that structure is an immediate and major problem — a legitimate threat to health and safety.”
Thankfully, Max is yet to have any issues with his home away from home:
“All of the worst weather I have ever seen in my life I saw from the inside of a WeatherPort structure. And every time that’s happened, I was glad I was in a WeatherPort to experience it. That includes 60 mph winds and driving rain … but I’ve never seen one of those things falter in a storm. I’ve weathered some truly scary storms in some of those structures.”
And of course, knowing he can rely on a WeatherPort’s protection makes his job that much easier: “Our use of a WeatherPort in our remote destinations enables me to disregard the weather in a way that is immensely valuable.”
Of course, for a world-class fishing lodge, protection from the elements isn’t enough. Most of Crystal Creek Lodge’s guests are repeat visitors, and excellent customer service is the only way to ensure they keep coming back.
Max described this best:
“Many of our guests have traveled the world several times over. They know what quality looks like. And they know what quality feels like, even if they don’t know what fabric structures are — they know it’s nice. The trust of our guests is our most valuable asset, and they expect a high level of execution in all things.
“The faith we have in our equipment is directly related to the faith they place in us. So, when we want quality at any expense, it’s WeatherPort. It’s the product that we trust, and our guests can feel that.”
Max especially appreciates this quality, given its increasing rarity. “We live in a time of planned obsolescence, in a time of disposable items,” he lamented. “It puts staff in an infrastructure maintenance cycle that is damaging to the operation of the business.”
On the other hand, Crystal Creek Lodge has WeatherPorts that have been standing for a decade in Alaska and still show no signs of weakness.
“It’s really easy to spend two days in a structure and think, wow, that was nice. Because you didn’t notice the zippers starting to fray or the bug screen ripping,” Max explained. “But at this point, I’ve spent many years of my life living in WeatherPorts.”
“I’ve spent enough time around the competitors to know that there aren’t actually any competitors. The build quality just isn’t the same. I can tell WeatherPort builds its products for longevity.”
The WeatherPort® Advantage
Crystal Creek Lodge has used WeatherPort shelters from Alaska Structures® for over a decade. Some have plumbing and electricity and remain at the main lodge year-round, serving as a staff laundry room and vital storage. Others serve as temporary shelters at the remote destinations Max manages.
To this day, when Crystal Creek has new building needs, it continues returning to Alaska Structures®.
“I purchased another structure two years ago,” Max recalled. “Shipping was going to be wildly expensive and I dragged my feet for a bit. Then [my Alaska Structures rep] gave me a call back. She had gone out of her way to find us a cheaper shipping option.”
“We have extreme shipping demands. But WeatherPort has never failed to meet a deadline we’ve set or to deliver a project as expected, which is rare. If someone delivers a product to Alaska and it’s wrong, that’s a problem. There’s no Home Depot run. So delivering things right is a real value.”
For Max, it just comes down to trust: “I’ve got very little faith in most businesses. My faith in WeatherPort is immaculate … I am the biggest WeatherPort fan you can find!”
If you are interested in learning more about WeatherPort® shelters from Alaska Structures®, please contact us by calling +1-907-344-1565 or completing our online form to request a consultation.
If you are interested in booking a stay at Crystal Creek Lodge, please visit their website for further information and availability: https://crystalcreeklodge.com/