West (Destination)

August 2017

Central Colorado houses top resorts and spectacular scenery

by Mark Chesnut

  • ACCESS Colorado

    ACCESS Colorado


    Rafting with ACCESS Colorado/Pacific World | Photo by Erin Burrough Photography

    ACCESS Colorado
  • Copper Mountain Resort

    Copper Mountain Resort


    Copper Mountain Resort

    Copper Mountain Resort
  • Umbrella Bar

    Umbrella Bar


    Umbrella Bar, Crested Butte Mountain Resort | Photo by CBMR

    Umbrella Bar

Known for its stunning scenery, Central Colorado’s soaring mountains and postcard-worthy natural settings can make for an especially memorable backdrop for group events and activities, thanks to an abundance of unique off-site venues.

“Central Colorado provides the complete rustic mountain experience for guests,” said Gaby Strnad, program coordinator for creative development at ACCESS Colorado, a Denver-based DMC and Pacific World affiliate. “These locations also add an ‘elevated’ feel to the meeting—no pun intended—by showcasing the state’s unparalleled beauty. In our experience, some of our most productive meetings have been held in Central Colorado. Attendees are more receptive, network more and overall enjoy the experience differently.”

Strnad said the region’s appeal as a vacation destination makes it all the more attractive for meetings and events.

“It feels more upscale, more like an incentive, because those destinations are so sought after,” she explained. “Planners also seem more open to the idea of Central Colorado for future meetings as well because of how positive the experience is.”

Adam Wilson, senior director of sales for Vail Resorts, concurred about the region’s allure.

“The mountains are the exact type of destination that truly inspire attendees, and there are plenty of options at each mountain destination that cater to groups of all sizes, whether that’s an incentive group of 10 or a conference of 2,000,” he said. “No matter the season, these Colorado destinations boast an unlimited source of thrilling alpine experiences, high-altitude inspiration and unforgettable meetings memories. Summer offers sun-drenched breakout sessions, outdoor hikes, alfresco mountain-top dining and scavenger hunts in wildflower meadows, while winter offers some of the world’s best skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and more.”

Planners looking for memorable venues won’t have to look far in Central Colorado. Following are a few examples.


The Aspen Snowmass winter resort complex, owned and operated by Aspen Skiing Company, includes Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk Ski Area as well as Snowmass, which is located in Snowmass Village.

“The incredible Rocky Mountains provide the most awe-inspiring backdrop for any activity,” said Eva Pekkala, Aspen Skiing Company’s director of catering and events. “All of our venues provide incredible views of the mountains and the natural landscape. We have venues on Snowmass that can be planned to include mountain biking, fishing, hiking and even camping.”

Among the unique places for meetings and events is Lynn Britt Cabin, according to Pekkala, who described it as “a mid-mountain gem on Snowmass with scenic views, which lends itself as a hub for top-of-the-mountain Jeep tours, farm-to-table dinners in the cabin, and teambuilding exercises by the fire pit, with s’mores.”

She added that the “expansive lawns allow for team games at our venues at both Buttermilk and Snowmass.”

Briana Scarcelli, group sales manager for the Limelight Hotel Aspen, praised the destination’s diversity.

“In Aspen, you can set up any type of off-site,” she said. “You can take a chairlift or gondola ride to the top of Aspen Mountain, with stunning views of the Rockies any time of year. You can also build a tent in a field with views of Maroon Bells for a summer off-site. Corporate incentive groups looking to host an unforgettable dinner can pick numerous settings and have world-class chefs prepare any meal imaginable.”

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