Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A "Lode" Off the Grid

American Renewable Energy Day is this Thursday...with a summit being held in Aspen, Colorado.  Given the obvious global warming effects on our snow, I am all for big progress in renewable energy -- the sooner the better.  Earlier today (according to the Huffington Post) the White House said that they are hopeful that Congress will renew the Production Tax Credit (for wind power production) which is set to expire at the end of this year...and they point out that republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is opposed to its renewal.  I'm hoping for the renewal, and meanwhile I'll applaud those who are already using renewable energy to do great things.

With that in mind...the Ski House of the Day is one that is off the grid...and off the charts.  It's called the New York Lode (named after the patented mining claim that it's built on) in Aspen.  This is an exclusive and secluded luxury mountaintop retreat with 100% off the grid sustainability.

The "Lode" sits on a 9.5 acre mountaintop property at the end of a nearly mile-long driveway.  But like many remote ski houses, access in winter is limited...so snow-cat, snowmobile, or (of course) skis are preferred to cars.  You can ski from the Sundeck on Aspen Mountain directly to the house.  Check out the gorgeous views of the Aspen ski trails (and don't miss that sweet snow-cat in the driveway!):

The house is at an elevation of 10,000 ft. and is located on the sunny side of Aspen Mountain -- perfect for a house in which the sun provides all necessary power via photovoltaics:

The sun also heats the water for this ski house.  And the earth heats the house, via a geothermal system.  There are many additional eco-friendly features built into this ski house...where (as put by Sundesigns Architects who designed it) you can "renew your spirit while enjoying renewable energy."

The entrance is unique and inviting (and check out that spectacular off-season view in the background):

Inside the 4,800 sq ft of this house there are wide open spaces, big windows, and very interesting lines throughout...in fact the lines of the timber frame were inspired by local mine shafts:

So, here's a luxury ski house that takes nothing away from the earth to power it....an impressive and commendable accomplishment.  But even more interesting to me is that this house is built on a former mining claim...a site that was originally intended to be a place where the earth was to be raided rather than renewed.  The change in intended/original use of this site is a testament to renewal.  To me that makes the New York Lode a mother-lode of successful sustainability in a ski house. Off the grid...and off the charts, in more ways than one!

Update:  The owner tells me that although this was an eight-year passion project, this special ski house is now on the market. (Originally valued at $8.4 million, it's currently listed for $2.95 million).  Wow - nice opportunity for some skier (or organization) who really cares about the earth we share!  It's been renamed (so as not to confuse anyone who might not know what a lode is).  Even though it's now called Midnight Ridge (check out the video tour), it's still spectacular, and no matter what the name, it's still a lode off the grid!

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