The trend in housing developments at ski resorts has been to go big. Skip the cozy cabin tucked in the woods in favor of bulldozing forests for spacious condos and homes. But Red Mountain Ventures has taken a different approach with Elevate at Red Mountain Resort.

The new Elevate development at Red Mountain finished its showroom cabin in late January. "It's our version of the modern cabin," Howard Katkov, president and CEO of Red Mountain Ventures, told OnTheSnow. "The basis for the idea was affordability, sustainability, and energy efficiency. We wanted to make a great cabin at a great ski resort without being a big blight on the environment."

Elevate features 80 lots with one-, two-, and three-bedroom single-story cabins. Prices run $299,000-399,000-an amount far less than one might pay for a slopeside condo at some resorts. The lifts sit within a five-minute walk, but homeowners can ski back to the cabins.

Katkov listed several ways in which Elevate has sought to be sustainable. "We used smaller footprints, a lot of recycled materials, and bamboos. We preserved lots of trees, and each building is oriented for passive solar." Energy efficiency is also gained through geothermal heat exchangers, appliances, and windows.

Cabin footprints range 602 to 1094 square feet. Each has a covered carport. The 4,000-square-foot leaves room for adding on an outdoor deck reinforced for a hot tub. Placement of the cabins preserves existing forest canopy, small streams, and wildlife corridors.

The combination of sustainability and energy efficiency with a lower price tag may also appeal to a new market of skiers and snowboarders who are conscious of their own environmental footprints. "It's one of the most unique housing concepts at a ski resort in North America," added Katkov.

Red Mountain may be the up and coming hot place for purchasing recreational properties, as the resort is reporting a surge in visitation this year. "We're talking about a ski resort that this year alone has gotten a lot of accolades," said Katkov. "Bookings were up 56 percent in December, and skier visits have been up 15 percent over last year."

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