At the inaugural Hot Springs Connection, hot springs owners and operators gathered at the conference to network, brainstorm and learn—taking notes from their peers.
The first-ever US hot springs conference took place in Glenwood Springs, Colorado in November 2018, where geothermal proprietors gathered, a little unsure of what to expect. As an inaugural event, The Hot Springs Connection was an open slate—attendees came from different backgrounds and diverse facilities throughout the country, bringing with them their own trials and triumphs of hot springs operations.
The three-day conference had many highlights, from local site tours to a behind-the-scenes look at the world’s largest hot springs pool without any water to one-on-one interaction between owners. A major part of the conference, peer-led speakers, seemed to solidify the importance of the Hot Springs Connection for the industry.
Hosted at Glenwood Springs’ Morgidge Commons, presentation day had an impressive lineup designed to touch on an array of hot springs topics, ranging from philosophical to operational.
These 20-minute presentations covered aspects of balneology, wellness development standards, spa cultures and global initiatives, as well as nitty-gritty topics such as water clarity and sanitation, hot springs design, water rights and permitting challenges. Mogli Cooper and Steve Beckley, co-owners of Iron Mountain Hot Springs, discussed the trials of building a new hot springs facility, while manager Tom Kavanaugh talked about undertaking the $10 million renovation of Ouray Hot Springs Pool.
According to the presentations, while these major projects were wildly successful, there were plenty of small headaches that popped along the way. Cooper and Beckley mentioned the struggle of finding people who they could talk to about their specific geothermal undertakings. The Hot Springs Connection, in conjunction with a national hot springs association, aims to dismantle that estranged dynamic.
“There was incredible value in having a day dedicated to presentations,” one attendee said. “Not only did I learn new things and feel inspired, I was also comforted to hear that their problems—their struggles, setbacks, and difficulties—are just like ours. Their successes, too. It’s important to hear that we’re not alone in what we go through, and we know we can call each other up to talk about it.”
As planning for next year’s Hot Springs Connection is underway, one thing is certain: peer-led presentations will return to the main stage.
For updates on the 2019 conference, and to stay informed on current hot springs industry happenings, check out www.hotspringsconnection.com.