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Motel finds new life as housing for Loveland Ski Area employees

Loveland signed a multi-year lease
Posted at 6:14 PM, Nov 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 09:00:38-05

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. — Mountain communities and employers are always looking for solutions to address housing shortages. The latest idea from Loveland Ski Area could prove to be model when affordable housing is difficult to come by.

"If you don’t have housing, somebody is not going to move across the country if they don’t know where they’re going to live," said Karen Cameron, human resources director for Loveland Ski Area.

Loveland is now leasing a motel about 25 miles away in Idaho Springs, and employees have already moved in. Cameron explained the remodeled units can accommodate two to three employees in each. A house on the property now serves as a community gathering space complete with a commercial kitchen and game room.

"We have a master lease with these two real estate agents who purchased the property, and this was a quick way for us to get some housing for this season while we work on the longer-term solution," Cameron said.

Cameron said the innovative solution was the result of an extensive brainstorming session where ski area officials explored everything from housing lead referrals to buying a piece of land in order to build employee housing.

The motel can fit 30 employees, which amounts to 5% of Loveland's total workforce. During peak season, the ski area has approximately 650 employees, and Cameron says she is still hiring.

"It’s more challenging. I mean, it is everywhere, right?" Cameron said when talking about the current job market.

She believes the COVID-19 pandemic has only added to the housing crunch in ski towns as remote workers or second homeowners choose to live in mountain communities. Cameron said the motel is just one solution, but she believes it could be a model for others.

"I think this one could stick," Cameron said. "There might be more that could come."