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This Shipping Container Hotel Is An Eco-Friendly New Option for Colorado Skiers

The sustainably built Pad will open this summer and feature bunk-style hostel accommodations, traditional hotel rooms, and suites.

Come this summer, a new hotel opening in Colorado’s Summit County will challenge your perception of the humble shipping container. 

The Pad, a newfangled hostel/hotel set on the Blue River in downtown Silverthorne, will comprise 18 upcycled shipping containers and feature communal, hostel-style bunk rooms, 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 when it gets its full certification after it opens. 

Exterior rendering The Pad
A rendering of The Pad’s exterior. The boutique hotel/hostel is scheduled to open this summer and will be Colorado’s first B Corp-certified lodging. Photo: Courtesy of The Pad

“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.”

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The Pad is set right in Silverthorne on the location of the former Robinson Dairy, which was demolished with green practices in 2018 and will have many of its features—including old-growth redwood wood siding made into an original work for The Pad by local artist Erica Nicol—incorporated into the new hotel’s construction. The central location of the new property, within 15 miles of several ski areas, including Keystone and Arapahoe Basin down the road, is also a big lure.

Erica Nicol Artist
Frisco, Colo.-based artist Erica Nicol created this original installation for The Pad using recycled redwood siding from the Robinson Dairy in Silverthorne, which used to sit on the land on which The Pad is being constructed. Photo: Courtesy of The Pad

“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. 

For one thing, they were able to rotate the orientation of the new building to maximize passive solar, so the heat from the sun will help to warm the common areas. The Pad 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.

Another aspect of The Pad that aligns with its B Corp intent can be found in the community-minded design of the property. The Baers were adamant about getting away from the “hallway and key” mentality found at most hotels, so The Pad incorporates several lounge-style areas that guests are naturally funneled into from their rooms.

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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.”

Another 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.

The Pad Entry rendering
A rendering of one of several common spaces at The Pad. Photo: Courtesy of The Pad

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.

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“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/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.”