Guest column: A remarkable first year for Iron Mountain Hot Springs
August 28, 2016
It's hard to believe, but we've already wrapped up our first year in business at the Iron Mountain Hot Springs. The past couple of years have been a whirlwind of activity, especially when you think about the fact that two years ago there was nothing visible here but weeds and gravel.
Looking back, I'm incredibly proud of all that we've accomplished. What started as an idea sketched out on napkins over lunch meetings has turned into one of Glenwood Springs' premiere attractions. This wouldn't have been possible without the hard work and dedication of every person on our team.
Building a hot springs destination is no easy task, and we certainly encountered some challenges along the way. Just imagine digging holes and pouring concrete for 18 pools on the bank of a river during mud season. In addition to the unpredictable weather that we're all familiar with here, partway through the process we decided to double the number of soaking pools from eight to 16. Richard Nash, general contractor for the construction, kept everything moving along — despite the changes that we made along the way.
Learning how to work with mineral water has been a challenge as well. We combine water from three sources and cool it down to a variety of temperatures as it is channeled out to different pools. The water is constantly flowing so that each soaking pool completes a total changeover every two hours. Because of this, we don't need to add any chemicals to the water.
The outcome is worth all of the effort, though, and our first year was a success. There was a learning curve as there is with all new businesses. We've listened to customer feedback, which has led to some big improvements and additions.
The first upgrade was to replace all of the keyed locks on the lockers with key pads. Now, our customers can choose their own four-digit PINs without having to worry about keeping track of, and returning, the keys.
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As our attendance grew, so did the need for more space in the locker rooms. We started working with the architect to come up with plans last fall. Construction started during the winter and was completed in time for Memorial Day weekend. Both the men's and women's facilities were doubled in size, providing private dressing rooms, additional seating and more elbow room.
Our guests also asked for more shade, so we've installed large umbrellas over six of the soaking pools. That's been a welcome addition with the warm weather we've had the past few weeks.
The Sand Bar, which opened during the Fourth of July weekend, serves all of the drinks that are available in the Sopris Café along with some grab-and-go snacks.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We were particularly proud to win three Locals' Choice Awards this summer. All of this is thanks in large part to our staff. We have a great team in place, and Jeanne, Mogli, Coop and I can't thank them enough. City officials and the Glenwood Springs business community have also been supportive from the very beginning, which has helped immensely.
We are truly blessed to live and work in Glenwood Springs. When you look around at the beautiful setting and take into account that we have two wonderful hot springs to choose from — plus Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Sunlight Mountain Resort, and trails, rivers and mountains in every direction. I can't imagine a better place to be.
Steve Beckley co-owns the Iron Mountain Hot Springs with his wife Jeanne and Mogli and Coop Cooper.
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