21 Mar Making Hot Springs Accessible to Everyone
Hot springs, like the ones at Iron Mountain Hot Springs, are an amazing gift from Mother Nature, and one that can and should be enjoyed by everyone, especially those who have mobility challenges.
Thermal springs are a treasure, offering comfort, relaxation and healing to one and all. Soaking in hot springs soothes both the body and the mind. Our guests with mobility challenges will find Iron Mountain Hot Springs a welcoming place to spend time both in and out of the pools.
A design that puts people first
Prior to Iron Mountain Hot Springs opening in 2015, owner Steve Beckley, met with a group of mobility challenged people to seek their input on the kinds of amenities that would be helpful and convenient. For pool access, the overwhelming response was to use transfer rails instead of Hoyer lifts which are typically found at pool facilities. “The group of individuals we met with felt the transfer rails were much more discreet as compared to the dreaded Hoyer lift when all eyes are focused on you getting in the pool,” said Beckley. “In addition to meeting ADA requirements, it was authentic feedback from real people with physical challenges that helped us design our hot springs.”
General Manager at Iron Mountain Hot Springs, Deb Hanna, concurs that listening is key to making improvements to guest experience. She recounts a story about a guest who used a wheelchair. “She was very pleased by the spacious family changing room, however, while she was showering, the automatic lights did not sense her movement and the overhead lighting turned off, leaving her in the dark!” Hanna said. “Although she found humor in the situation, it was excellent feedback for us. Because of this guest’s experience, we changed the lights in the family changing room.”
Wheels to water
Iron Mountain Hot Springs also provides a customized, PVC wheelchair available for guest use. The chair is used almost daily by visitors for entering the family pool, the largest of Iron Mountain Hot Springs’ pools. The family pool features a zero-depth entry with a gentle ramp and transfer rail. The aquatic wheelchair was especially handy to have on site when a group of spine-injured, young people gathered for the pool portion of their neuroplastic functional training (NFT) classes last June. The innovative new technique developed by Lauryn Maloney-Gepfert of the Healing Out Loud Institute in Basalt, Colorado utilizes NFT breakthrough mind-body science to rewire the brain for better health, even helping participants regain movement.
An accessible hot springs experience
The entire Iron Mountain Hot Springs facility, from entry to exit, is designed for helping guests of all abilities relax and rejuvenate.
Four designated handicapped parking spaces are available upon arrival. There are two large family changing rooms, one near the men’s and the other near the women’s locker rooms that feature ample space to change, use the lavatory and shower. All the locker rooms are also stocked with premium bath products including shampoo, conditioner and body wash.
Outside, geo-thermally heated pathways remain snow-free all winter and are wide enough to comfortably maneuver. As mentioned earlier, the family pool, a large freshwater pool that is a constant 93°F, is ideally suited to those with limited mobility. Transfer rails do require some upper body strength. In addition to the family pool, visitors will find transfer rails in the jetted spa, attached to the family pool; and in the smaller soaking pools “Ruby” and “Turquoise.” The “Mother Lode” soaking pool doesn’t have a transfer rail but is still easily accessible.
Others welcoming amenities include the Sopris Café which serves up a delicious assortment of food, snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. In the bathhouse, water bottle-filling stations help guests stay hydrated and a gift shop offers both souvenirs—many locally-made—and pool necessities like sunscreen and hats.
Designed for all guests who want to relax and rejuvenate, visit Iron Mountain Hot Springs today.