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Finding a place to stay near ski resorts in Colorado can be a challenge, especially if you’re on a budget. It’s also not terribly cost effective to stay at a luxury hotel if you are looking to spend most of your time outside; hotel rooms in Summit County, for example, range from $350 to $1,000 a night, according to Travelocity.
That’s why owners of the Pad, a new hotel and hostel that recently opened in Silverthorne, wanted to offer Summit Country travelers a more affordable and efficient option, with shared dorm-style rooms starting at $50 a night. Made from 18 upcycled shipping containers, the space offers private suites, traditional hotel rooms, micro rooms, and dorm rooms (36 rooms and 101 beds in total). The Pad also features an array of amenities for all guests, regardless of room selection, including a bar, co-working space, hot tub, and rooftop deck.
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“We decided to open this style because the affordable, high-amenity lodging was missing from the mountains,” says Rob Baer, co-owner of the Pad. “We wanted to make it affordable to stay so people could enjoy the area more. And then, hopefully, when they do come up and visit, [they] have more money for the activities that bring them here.”
In addition to the Pad’s reasonably priced offerings, it’s also on track to become the first Colorado-based B Corp lodging company—a private certification given to for-profit businesses that meet high sustainability and environmental performance standards. More than 130 businesses in Colorado are currently Certified B Corps, and only 17 lodging companies in the United States (including Florida-based Legacy Vacation Resorts, which operates two hotels in Colorado) have achieved the designation. In order to officially receive it, the business must be open for 12 months. The Pad started operating around the holidays, but its owners and husband-and-wife duo Rob and Lynne Baer say they’re on track.
Meeting the criteria to become a B Corp is often harder for hospitality businesses that have hundreds of guests each night. Not only do employees have to follow these practices, but guests do too, which can be an added challenge. “It’s a pretty involved process for any business, especially in hospitality,” Lynne says. “A lot of it goes to organizing your business and your operations and your daily practices, and really evaluating how to make them more efficient or better as you go.”
For the Baers, these decisions started long before opening the Pad’s doors. When construction began three years ago, Rob and Lynne opted to dismantle the Robinson Dairy building that previously sat where the lodging is today and kept as much of the deconstructed structure out of landfills. For example, The Baers used recycled wood from the building to make the back of the bar and hired a local artist to create artwork from the wood. The duo even sent the building’s old wooden studs to Denver to be turned into mulch.
The Pad is also energy efficient. Rather than have the floor-to-ceiling windows in the bar and lobby directly face the mountain view, the building was rotated to face the south. This allows for most of the building’s year-round heat to come through passive solar, with sunlight heating the property, Rob says. Guests can still see Keystone Ski Resort to the east and more of the Rocky Mountains to the west.
“We always knew that building environmentally responsible was going to be kind of a key component of the Pad and then [we wanted to follow] through to operations,” Rob says.
Other aspects like composting and recycling used items, as well as using fast-drying towels made from sustainably sourced cotton help the Pad increase its green footprint. The hotel also buys shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotion in bulk from Soapbox, as opposed to individual plastic containers. And Soapbox donates one bar of soap to someone in need for every product purchased. “It’s just going the extra mile to find companies that are still doing a little better in their own world and supporting them,” Lynne says.
Only time will tell if the Pad becomes Colorado’s first B Corp in the lodging industry. If the hotel and hostel receives its certification later this year, it will have to reapply for the title every year.
“It’s a business, so you have to make money so things have to make sense,” Rob says. “It costs a little bit more, it takes a little more effort, but it doesn’t ruin our business taking those extra steps.”
If you go: Dorm rooms start at $50 per night, and private suites start at $350 per night. Most weekends this ski season are booked, but the Pad offers a co-working space, making it a great option for anyone needing a change of pace and access to the mountains.
Editor’s note 2/11/22: An earlier version of this story stated that the Pad had the potential to become the first B Corp hotel in Colorado. Legacy Vacation Resorts, a firm based in Florida, already operates two Certified B Corp hotels in Colorado, which means the Pad is on track to become the first Colorado-based B Corp lodging company. We regret the error.