Aspen Adopts Tiny Homes as Affordable Solution to Employee Housing Crisis

Steven Agar | | Industry NewsIndustry News
aspen, tiny homes, employee housing, affordable, colorado
Tiny homes are becoming a more and more popular option for cheaper living. Credit: Aspen Times

It’s no secret that rents are sky-high in ski towns, so when Aspen Skiing Company committed to more affordable employee housing, it turned to a small but desirable trend sweeping mountain communities: tiny homes, reports Ski Mag.

aspen, tiny homes, employee housing, affordable, colorado
Tiny Town. Credit: Aspen Times

The resort installed six tiny homes at the Aspen-Basalt Campground, about 20 miles from town, in 2016 as a pilot project and, due to their popularity, purchased another 34 in 2017. Each 300 and 400sqft energy-efficient home costs $100,000 to build. “I love it,” says Zac Dopson, a groomer at Buttermilk who rented a tiny home last winter. “As soon as I saw it, I wanted it.”

“From an economic perspective, ski resorts need to look at tiny homes because you can put them virtually anywhere and create mobile, comfortable, and affordable housing with low upkeep and little maintenance,” says Stew MacInnes, founder of Maximus Extreme Living Solutions, a tiny home builder in Ogden, UT.

The little lairs have two 100-square-foot bedroom lofts accessed by stairs at each end. Larger units also have a downstairs bedroom. Each home is built for either two or three people, and rent is $400 to $600 per month each.

aspen, tiny homes, employee housing, affordable, colorado
Not too shabby… Credit: Aspen Times

And Aspen isn’t the only ski town taking advantage of this trend. Park City, UT have built tiny homes for several clients, Fireside Resort near Jackson Hole, WY has 25 units for guests to rent, and Mountainside at Northstar erected three tiny homes at Tahoe’s Northstar for use by members and their guests.

aspen, tiny homes, employee housing, affordable, colorado
All tiny homes completed to high standard with quality materials. Credit: Aspen Times

And it would be the obvious solution to the employee housing for many other resorts if it wasn’t for one issue: zoning. Many towns, wary of trailer parks, have minimum-square-footage restrictions and zoning rules that prohibit tiny-home neighborhoods.

And that is why Aspen’s units are built on wheels, allowing the resort to place them in an RV park it already owns. They are essentially travel trailers, just more luxurious.

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