Mountains towns across Colorado (and the country) are scrambling to find labor, and also create affordable housing opportunities for their staff members. According to Steamboat Pilot & Today, the town of Steamboat Springs is making headway on adding large affordable housing complexes for this season. The two that got approved by the town council are the now-closed Steamboat Hotel and Steamboat Mountain Lodge. These former hotels will be used to house employees of the Steamboat Ski Corporation. These units will cost $475 for an unrenovated room, and $515 for a renovated one. There are also talks with the town council about converting Fairfield Inn and Suites and the Hampton Inn Steamboat into affordable housing units as well. The Fairfield and Hampton redevelopment would add one hundred and fifty-two affordable housing units. These would be $1200 a month but would include parking, utilities, and high-speed internet. This is a big win for the employees of Steamboat Ski Corp., as it opens up many rental units compared to other competitive mountain town markets. These hotels will serve as dormitory-style housing for this ski season and will be converted into more permanent workforce housing in the near future.
There are a few cons to living in these units though. The Steamboat Hotel and Steamboat Mountain Lodge will be converted to dormitory housing, meaning two people will share a room, and multiple rooms will share a communal kitchen. This means that those who will live in the hotels won’t have much space or storage opportunities. Each room will come with a mini-fridge, which won’t give tenants much space to store drinks or food. Councilwoman Lisel Pettis shared these exact concerns with Ski Corp: “I anticipate most people going into this style of housing are going to be from a lower economic class, and they’re not going to have the money to go out and eat out every day. There should be something that makes sure that if individuals can’t eat out that they’re not being left to it.” In spite of these flaws, both the town council and Steamboat Ski Corp. admit that this is a short-term solution, and better alternatives will be presented in 2022.