Could a Shipping Container Hotel Make Ski Vacations More Eco-Friendly?
The Pad, located near some of Colorado's iconic slopes, is designed to make ski trips more sustainable – and accessible
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Visitors making a ski trip to Colorado’s Summit County this summer will have a new, eco-friendly lodging option that will challenge your perception of the humble shipping container.
The Pad, set on the Blue River in downtown Silverthorne – within 15 miles of several ski areas, including Keystone and Arapahoe Basin – is built from 18 upcycled shipping containers. The property features both communal, hostel-style bunk rooms along with traditional hotel rooms and roomier suites.
Lynne and Rob Baer are the husband-and-wife pair behind what will be Colorado’s first B Corp lodging property.
“A big part of the B Corp certification is the commitment to factoring in people and planning in addition to profit,” says Rob Baer. “Most businesses focus on profit for shareholders, but B Corps have to prove that the business is acting in the best interest of the employees as well as the environment.”
The Pad is situated on the site of what was once a dairy. That operation was demolished in 2018 using sustainable practices that included collecting and reusing some of the building materials. Old-growth redwood wood siding was reworked into an installation for The Pad by local artist Erica Nicol.
“There are other new hotels in ski country that have repurposed old motels, including Base Camp in Tahoe and the Loge Camp properties [in Breckenridge, and Bend, and elsewhere], but we felt we could better serve the needs of the community and do it in a sustainable way, by building new,” Rob Baer explains.
Architects oriented the new building to maximize passive solar, so the heat from the sun will help to warm the common areas. The hotel is also part of a new composting pilot program, the first in Summit County, which will help redirect a massive amount of food waste back into the soil.
The Pad also incorporates community-minded design into the property. The Baers were adamant about getting away from the “hallway and key” mentality found at most hotels, so The Pad incorporates has lounge-style areas that guests are naturally funneled into from their rooms. One of those spaces is a 3,000-square-foot rooftop gathering space with a bar and hot tub.
“We wanted to recognize the needs of the community,” says Lynne Baer. “The common areas and amenities are for guests, but they’re also for the community, where travelers can meet the locals and forge a connection.”
A highly anticipated amenity among locals is a restaurant led by beloved area chef Alyssa Block, whose popular food truck, Graze & Torreys, pedals handcrafted sandwiches with locally sourced ingredients and was a hit during the to-go days of the pandemic. At The Pad’s restaurant, which will also be called Graze & Torreys — a play on two local 14,000-foot peaks popular among hikers — Block will continue to focus on locally sourced, sustainable cuisine.
Other perks at The Pad will include private gear storage and a co-working space with eight to 10 desks. There’s also a bike path running through the hotel’s backyard, and the Silverthorne Recreation Center, with heated indoor pools and fitness facilities, is right across the street.
“I think we might be surprised by who shows up when we open,” laughs Lynne Baer, “but from the interest we’ve had so far, we’re expecting everyone from young professionals and retirees to locals who want to have a rooftop beer and even day trippers who would be willing to stay over if they don’t have to spend $250 on an outdated motel room.”
Rates will start at $45 per night and go up to $350 during holidays, and all guests have access to all amenities, no matter what type of room they book.
“We really want people to interact,” says Rob Baer. “Travel has typically been more about the places you go, but we want it to be about people you meet.”