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A skier will see one thing right away when looking at the design for the 95-room luxury North Slope Ski Hotel—an actual ski slope. “I had never seen a structure before where the ski slope was incorporated into the structure,” Jantzen says. “It seemed like an interesting thing to explore from a design point. The aesthetics of the structure to me symbolically related to a snow-covered mountain and trees on the top, the trees being the wind turbines.”
Jantzen has been working in design since the 1970s, and has been incorporating elements of energy efficiency and sustainable design into his work since the start. “A lot of my structures have tried to incorporate unique features [for sustainability],” he says. “With the hotel, the direction there was looking at symbolism and incorporating function to create an aesthetic.”
Jantzen is currently seeking a developer interested in making the North Slope Ski Hotel a reality. Eight large vertical axis wind turbines would be mounted on the rooftop of the hotel. The lower south-facing wall of the structure would be covered with a large array of the latest photovoltaic cells, which are made of flexible materials that will curve to match the shape of the building. These two features would supply most of the hotel’s electrical needs. “There’s a lot of technology out there right now that this would incorporate,” Jantzen says.
Heat for the hotel would be supplied by large, south facing, insulated windows in front of a thermal mass in the floor of the building’s lobby, along with deeply buried earth pipes. These windows would also provide natural light and ventilation for the hotel. “Inside, it will be an open structure with an elevator up the center to take people all the way up to the top if you just want to ski down the slope,” Jantzen says. “The rooms would be around the perimeter in a cone shape.”
The name of the hotel is in honor of the 430-foot ski slope descending the north face of the building with a vertical drop of 180 feet. Guests would whisk themselves to the drop-in—and rooftop bar—via elevator, then ski down into the surrounding landscape. “Ideally, this would be situated in the landscape so that when you ski down the slope of the hotel it would link up with different ski runs,” Jantzen says. The ski slope would be operational in the summer, thanks to the use of Perma-Snow or a similar product. The ski slope also serves an environmental purpose. “At the same time, [the ski slope] would collect rainwater and recapture that for use in and around the hotel,” Jantzen says. Snowmelt would also add to the storage tanks.
Each hotel room would feature two windows that can be manipulated to let in the appropriate amount of light, heat, and fresh air that enters their room. A visit to the gym will allow guest to help replenish the hotel’s electrical supply by working out on equipment designed to generate electricity.
While Jantzen assumes other ski resorts have tried to adopt sustainable components and eco-friendly design, he believes his vision offers something unique. “What I try to do in this work is create an aesthetic around these things rather than stick them on as afterthoughts,” he says. “ I incorporate it as part of look and design from the beginning. It is a functional art piece. I think it would be a great thing to build.”