Glenwood Hot Springs Puts Geothermal Heat to Work
Even on the snowiest days, the pool deck at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort is always snow-free. It’s just one way the resort puts the surplus Rocky Mountain geothermal heat to good use—for guests, employees and the environment.
Having a snow removal plan is essential for businesses in the Colorado mountains. After a big winter storm, crews are out in full force, manning snowplows, snow blowers and hand shovels. The process to clear streets and sidewalks is fuel, equipment and man-hour-intensive. Thanks to forward-thinking leadership, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort can reduce the strain that cold weather puts on people and the environment.
With a few exceptions (parking lots), you’ll rarely, if ever, see the maintenance personnel at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort shoveling snow. Snow isn’t seen on the pool deck or many of the sidewalks surrounding the bathhouse, Spa of the Rockies and the Lodge; that’s because the resort has made the most of an overflowing natural resource: Rocky Mountain hot water.
Mother Nature’s Heat Source
The Yampah source spring is located just to the east of the bathhouse. On cold winter days, this fenced-in turquoise blue pool is easy to spot—just look for the low-lying clouds of white steam emanating from it. Prolific and reliable, the Yampah Spring produces 3.5 million gallons (approximately 132 million liters) of water per day at a steady temperature of 122°F (51°C). The water is so hot, in fact, the resort must cool it down to temperatures between 93°F (34°C) and 104°F (40°C), an ideal range for swimming and soaking.
Toasty Inside and Out
During the winter months, hot spring water flows through a simple gravity-fed system installed beneath portions of the pool deck, where it heats up the concrete surface enough to keep it snow-free. For guests, there’s an added perk—feet that don’t become numb and frozen on the short walk between the pools and to and from the bathhouse. A similar in-floor system that also uses no pumps or other energy-consuming devices warms the indoor spaces of the bathhouse, pool lobby and retail shop.
Sustainability Hot Take
For more than 40 years, long before sustainability ethos became mainstream, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort was tapping into the power of hot water. When the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge opened in 1986, it was the first hotel in Colorado to be entirely heated by clean, renewable geothermal sources. The devices that make this possible are heat exchangers submerged in the Yampah Spring. Over the years, and as technology has improved, the material of which they are made has been upgraded to titanium—a costly but durable metal resistant to the corrosive effects of the heat and minerals.
In addition to removing snow and heating structures, the resort also employs geothermal systems to conserve energy in other areas, such as pre-heating domestic water supplies by warming incoming city water from 50°F (10°C) to approximately 105°F (41°C) for use in the on-site laundry facility, the Athletic Club and the Spa of the Rockies. To fine tune temperatures, traditional gas sources heat the water the rest of the way.
Let it Snow
Bring it on, winter! Next time you visit Glenwood Hot Springs Pool on a blustery winter day—one of the most enjoyable times to soak—notice the snow-free deck and the cozy warmth of the lobby, Lodge and other places. While the water goes to work making you feel fantastic, it also excels at keeping Glenwood Hot Springs a sustainable Colorado resort destination.