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"Minecraft": Building a Caves and Cliffs Ski Lodge

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Dan K is an avid Minecraft player, who has enjoyed Mining, Crafting, Exploring, and turning NPC Villages into sprawling cities since 2011.

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Caves and Cliffs

Minecraft 1.18 Caves and Cliffs, Part 2 was an update that completely changed world generation. Caves are now deeper, the mountains are much taller, and the snow is snowier! It's that latter part that has inspired me in my latest build; when I think powdered snow, I think skiing and snowboarding. While 1.18 brought several new mountain biomes, what it did not bring were ski lodges for warming our bones while hitting the slopes. So, I decided that I would head into the mountains and get to work building a Caves and Cliffs ski lodge.

Snowy Slopes with a Ledge

Snowy Slopes with a Ledge

Finding the Perfect Location

Before I could begin building my ski lodge, I had to find a good location. Luckily, I remembered finding an interesting location while exploring the new 1.18 terrain, right on the edge of the old world in the blended chunks. This area had a large, snowy slopes biome that was blended with a plains biome. The blending of the chunks resulted in a ledge on the side of the mountain that was nearly perfect for building. I had some terraforming to do, leveling and building up the terrain to make room for the build I had in mind, and there were a lot of bare areas that I would have to cover in snow before I could begin building. With a little work, this would make for a perfect alpine backdrop.

Beginning terraforming

Beginning terraforming

Wool Frameworks

Wool Frameworks

Planning Out the Build

After doing some preliminary terrain work, it was time to plan the build to make sure that there would be enough room on the mountainside. Using wool frameworks, I planned the different aspects of the build; the main lodge, a couple of guest cabins, and a ski lift. After planning the build, I realized that this was going to be a lot more work than I thought. I had a lot more terraforming to do to build the ledge up and cover several large cave entrances that surrounded the lodge.

It was at this point that I was beginning to realize that building would be the easiest part of this project; it was the terraforming and covering the mountain in snow and ice that would be difficult, time-consuming, and resource-intensive. What would I do? Find another location or put my head down and keep pushing on this location? Of course, I chose to keep pushing forward. Around 10 stacks of stone and even more dirt later, and I finally had a mostly safe area to build on.

Building Exteriors

With the land terraformed, it was time to get to work on building up the exteriors of the main buildings. I had designed the main lodge in creative mode, so I knew about what to expect in terms of needed resources. 20 stacks of dripstone blocks, 30 stacks of six-sided spruce logs, 10 stacks of deepslate tile slabs/stairs, 5-10 stacks of oak wood, 5 stacks of dark oak, and 2-3 stacks of light grey glass. The only question was where I would find all of these resources. Fortunately, I was building basically right on top of a large dripstone cave, and getting large amounts of wood is relatively easy. Unfortunately, I underestimated just how much dripstone and spruce I would actually wind up needing. This meant many trips into the caves and having to grow many, many large spruce trees. Once I had all of the necessary resources, however, it was mostly smooth sailing on building the lodge and guest cabins.

Main Structures Complete, Still Work to Do

Main Structures Complete, Still Work to Do

Snowy Slopes Get Snowier and Slope-ier

At this point, I was starting to get a little bored of placing spruce blocks, so I decided to begin working on the ski hill. I had no idea how many stacks of snow and ice it would take to completely cover the side of the mountain, but I was determined to have a ski hill in my world. I thought maybe a shulker box full of snow might be enough to cover most of the bare mountain and around the lodge and cabins. Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong. 27 stacks of snow barely made a dent. Meanwhile, I discovered many more cave entrances that would need to be closed up before I could begin planning the ski routes down the mountain.

One of several cave entrances needing to be sealed

One of several cave entrances needing to be sealed

Luckily, the snowy slopes biome that I was building in is insanely huge. I had little problem gathering the more than 100 stacks of snow and 10 stacks of ice that I ultimately would need to complete the ski slopes. It only took me about 2-3 hours of grinding to obtain all that I needed, but another 5+ hours of placing snow blocks and planning the ski routes. If I thought placing spruce blocks was getting boring before, I was looking forward to at least having some color to look at after this insane grind.

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Ski Slopes

Ski Slopes

Ski Lift

Ski Lift

Ski Lift and Completing Cabin Exteriors

To complete the picture of a ski lodge and slopes, I would need to build a ski lift to give skiers a way up the mountain. I decided on a simple design using dripstone block, andesite blocks/walls, dark oak stairs, and spruce trapdoors. The most resource-intensive aspect of this build would be the stacks of iron bars needed to represent the cables that carry the chairs up the mountain. It took a little over five stacks of iron bars to complete, which is expensive but necessary to complete the scene that I was going for.

minecraft-building-a-caves-and-cliffs-ski-lodge
View from a Lift Chair

View from a Lift Chair

Test Run

With the main build completed, it was time for the most fun part of the whole process: testing the slopes. I wanted the ski hill to be usable for boats, and these tests would determine whether or not that would be possible. There are multiple paths for "skiers" to take on the hill, and I had to ensure that all possible paths would be accessible. This meant taking my boat to the top of the mountain, and riding each and every path.

It's a tough job...

It's a tough job...

...And I'm happy to do it.

...And I'm happy to do it.

Each of the paths worked perfectly on the first try. However, in order to see where I was going, I had to go into the 3rd person camera to navigate the slopes. This actually made the whole thing a lot more fun, and I made several test runs because I was having such a good time.

Overall, the slopes performed even better than I thought they would. Having a nice looking build is one thing; having a nice looking build that is functional takes the build to another level.

Easy Route

Easy Route

Finishing Touches

After completing the ski lift and testing the slopes, I went back to work on finishing up the exteriors of the cabins. I still had to frame up the cabin windows and door frames and add flooring to the cabins and main lodge. I also added an open fire place in the middle of the lodge made from dripstone and camp fires. With these finishing touches in place, the structures were finally complete.

The main structures have been built and the ski slopes are completed, but this build is not quite finished. A build is more than just the structure, itself; to fully create an atmospheric scene, more work must be done. The scene is set, now it only needs to be fully inhabited to complete the atmosphere of a popular ski destination.

Guest Cabins

Guest Cabins

Lodge and Cabins Complete

Lodge and Cabins Complete

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