From The Glenwood Springs Post Independent (Thomas Phippen):
The Hot Springs Connection held its inaugural meeting in Glenwood Springs Wednesday through Friday. Organized by [Vicky] Nash, who founded tourism data marketing firm Resort Trends Inc., the aim of the conference was to gather owners and operators to share knowledge and build a network to help each other.
“The group really wants to form an industry association so they have a network of people they can communicate with. We’re going to start that process,” Nash said. She plans to work with association managers to begin the process of setting up the board and bylaws.
Nash will also move forward with a website to list every hot springs resort in North America. The site will likely have a buy-in for resorts to add additional information beyond a basic listing on the site.
“Why reinvent the wheel? Someone said that yesterday, and it’s true. We’re all dealing with similar issues,” Mike Sommer, who is assisting South Dakota hot springs owner Kara Hagen renovate a resort that has been defunct since the 1940s.
Each place where heated water bubbles up to the surface is an opportunity for something unique.
In Glenwood Springs, that variety exists in a few square miles — from the sulfuric vapor of the Yampah caves, which the Los Angeles Times once described as something out of Dante’s “Inferno,” to the largest hot springs pool in North America filled with water from the Yampah that functions as a community gathering place, to the aesthetic soaking pools in view of the Colorado River at Iron Mountain.
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The owners of the three principal hot springs resorts in Glenwood — the Hot Springs Pool, Iron Mountain Hot Springs and the Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves — led the attendees through the back-end of their businesses to show how the mineral-rich water gets from the ground to the guests.
The diversity is good for the industry because it limits how much each resort competes with another, but it also means there are numerous ways to design and create the thermal springs resort, and that can be daunting for the newcomer…
One thing Seibel hopes to see from an association of thermal springs owners is help in educating the public, and even lawmakers, about hot springs.
Legislators are “putting out laws that are very restrictive, but they don’t understand what is happening,” Seibel said.
Each state has different laws, and a trade association could help owners navigate the regulations, he said.
The big pool at Glenwood Hot Springs and the family pool at Iron Mountain must be chlorinated. Colorado statutes require water to be treated unless it completely cycles through a pool in two hours or less — as the 16 hotter soaking pools at Iron Mountain are set up to do.
At the Glenwood Hot Springs pool, manager Brian Ammerman told the group about the challenges of keeping the big million-gallon pool of water at a consistent 92 degrees.
Each hour, the operators take the temperature of the gravity-fed filter tanks and calculate how hot the water needs to be to keep the pool at the desired temperature. “You open up a little cold, a little hot, it’s all feel,” Ammerman said.