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6 Meetings-Friendly Mountain Resorts That Get Groups Active

Whether it’s the tranquil seclusion or the fresh air, or a bit of both, mountain settings are often the base for health and wellness retreats. In the meetings world, high-altitude resorts are the perfect backdrop for rejuvenation and relaxation, with groups often integrating outdoor activities, spa treatments, healthy meals and mindful breaks to complement a day of productivity.

Following are six meetings-friendly mountain resorts or hotels that focus on health and wellness.

1. Sun Valley Resort, Sun Valley, Idaho

Touting itself as America’s first destination resort, Sun Valley Resort was built in 1936 by the Union Pacific Railroad in Idaho’s Northern Rockies.

For groups, there is no shortage of recreational activities, whether it’s skiing on Bald and Dollar mountains in winter or river rafting and horseback riding in summer.

Sun Valley Inn at Sun Valley Resort in Idaho
Sun Valley Inn at Sun Valley Resort in Idaho

The Sun Valley Nordic Center offers over 25 miles of groomed skiing trails, snowshoeing and fat biking on designated trails, according to Kelli Lusk, public relations and communications manager at Sun Valley Resort. Rentals and instruction are offered for all three sports.

In summer, groups can take advantage of hundreds of miles of trails at Sun Valley Resort for mountain biking and hiking, or its Tennis Center with professional instructors.

In addition, The Spa at Sun Valley is expanding its customized offerings for groups, from private fitness and wellness classes to specific treatments.

Classes at Sun Valley Resort include topics such as nutrition, meditation and self-discovery. Free yoga classes are available for guests staying at the Sun Valley Lodge, Sun Valley Inn and Sun Valley Cottages, while in summer yoga is offered at the base of Bald Mountain, which can be arranged for groups.

“In addition to The Spa, we also are incorporating healthier, more sustainable and more locally sourced products at our restaurants,” Lusk said. “Healthy options are available for catered meals during meeting session times and breaks."

2. Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, Vail, Colorado

Located at the base of Vail Mountain in Colorado, Vail Marriott Mountain Resort recently underwent an upgrade that helps play up its wellness offerings for groups.

“With the resort’s complete makeover and renovation that took place in 2018, we wanted to ensure that we were offering guests the premium amenities and programming, especially when it comes to wellness,” said Patrick Davis, director of sales and marketing. 

Last year the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, which features over 21,000 square feet of meeting space, debuted a host of new group-friendly activities, including Om Boocha, a 50-minute restorative yoga class followed by kombucha beverages crafted in-house.

Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, Vail, Colorado
Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, Vail, Colorado

Also new is a non-traditional (non-ice) curling rink with two lanes, where the resort can arrange an apres hour complete with cocktails for attendees. 

Other wellness and fitness activities include outdoor spin classes facing Vail Mountain, meditation classes, mountaintop yoga, guided hikes, snowshoeing and cross-country and downhill skiing.

Groups can also book treatments the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort’s Golden Leaf Spa. 

“We also have the capability to insert in-room workouts on your TV,” Davis said. “Whether groups want videos of meditation, cardio or yoga, we can put that on an in-room TV channel for guests to enjoy.”

Davis added that Vail Marriott Mountain Resort can coordinate various activities on request, such as partnering with Walking Mountains Science Center, a nonprofit, where guests can connect with nature on guided hikes or even snowshoe at night with headlamps.

For meeting breaks, the resort can arrange shoulder massages and healthy culinary options.  

“We’re able to offer special menus—everything from gluten free, vegan or keto—that cater to each and every group and guest,” Davis said. “We have items like cold press juices and our Executive Chef Roger King makes his own granola bars and granola and also brews his own kombucha.”

3. Granlibakken Resort, Lake Tahoe, California

Set on 74 acres near Tahoe City, California, Granlibakken Resort’s roots date to a century ago when tobogganers discovered the hill where the resort is located. Granlibakken, Norwegian for “hill sheltered by trees,” later became a draw for ski jumpers from around the world.

Today, the main winter sports at Granlibakken Resort are beginner skiing and sledding, as the ski area is mainly used for ski and snowboard lessons, according to Jennifer Capistran, director of sales.

The resort is also home to the mountainside Lighthouse Spa, as well as host to two wellness events— the Restorative Arts and Yoga Festival and Wellness Weekend. The Spa is owned and operated by a third party but offers massages on-site, which groups can pre-book.

“We’ve been starting to develop [group packages] in a single price that includes activities,” Capistran said.

One of those group packages is the Meet & Play Package, with lodging, meals, the use of a hot tub and sauna, as well as the choice from a list of activities that include weekend lift tickets or teambuilding at the Tahoe Treetop Adventure Park Tahoe City near the Granlibakken Resort.

The Adventure Park offers aerial challenges that can be customized for teambuilding, including climbing, obstacle courses suspended in trees and ziplines integrated into the courses.

Groups can also take advantage of the resort’s groomed cross-country ski trails, which can also be used for self-guided snowshoeing, and in summer a rim trail for hiking and mountain biking.

Granlibakken Resort also offers groups its new Soul Shelter, a yoga and meditation space.

Soul Shelter at Granlibakken Resort, Lake Tahoe, California
Soul Shelter at Granlibakken Resort, Lake Tahoe, California

“Usually it’s on your own—we provide mats, blocks, blankets,” Capistran said.

Attendees have access 24/7 to the yoga and meditation space, which is used Saturday mornings for yoga classes. This room can also be reserved for private sessions for groups of up to 25.

There is also an outdoor meditation garden that groups can potentially book.

For dining, the on-site chef can cater with customized healthy menu options.

Granlibakken Resort has 16,000 feet of meeting and dining space that expands to 20,000 square feet in summer using outdoor space. Groups of up to 400 can be accommodated.

4. Hotel Park City, Park City, Utah

Located between the Park City and Deer Valley ski resorts, Utah’s Hotel Park City is a hub for winter activities such as downhill and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking.

The property’s Spa at Hotel Park City features eight private treatment rooms, herbal-infused steam rooms, saunas, whirlpools and meditation rooms.

Spa at Hotel Park City, Park City, Utah
Spa at Hotel Park City, Park City, Utah

The spa can cater to groups with organized treatments and activities.

“The most typical things we do are private yoga sessions,” said Eric Bond, director of health and wellness at the Spa at Hotel Park City. “We have an 850-square-foot yoga room, which can fit 15 with an instructor, though in summer we can move the class outside on the lawn.”

Another option is to bring in local nutritionist counselors to Hotel Park City to discuss various wellness and weight loss topics with groups. The hotel can also bring in outside trainers, some of whom have worked with athletes training for Olympics.

5. Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, Avon, Colorado

Set in the hills of Avon, Colorado, Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch offers ski-in/ski-out access to Beaver Creek Mountain, an on-site spa and 26,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.

“We are the destination for outside activity and healthy things,” said Stacie Lee, director of meetings and special events planning at The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch.

“People come early or stay after a couple more days to be on the mountain,” she added.

Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, Avon, Colorado
Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, Avon, Colorado

At least 75 percent of the groups at Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch are incentive groups, according to Lee.

“They often have short general sessions and take advantage of the recreation,” Lee said.

Groups attending meetings at Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch can start with a Wellness Welcome during which a Wellness Concierge will provide tips on altitude recovery. The on-site Bachelor Gulch Spa at The Ritz-Carlton features an oxygen bar for 20-minute sessions, to aid with acclimatization.

Outside oxygen vendors are also an option for larger groups.

The spa can customize its programs for groups—from a 15-minute Vitality Breakout Session to a half-day interactive teambuilding activity—and can also set up group blocks for massage services. The property can also arrange for certified nutrition and fitness experts to conduct a Wellness Workshop on a variety of topics, such as Wellness & Workplace Productivity and Fitness for the Busy Executive.

“We can set up hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, private yoga classes, and work with a chef for customized items like power shakes,” Lee said.

6. Squaw Valley Lodge, Olympic Valley, California

With a prime location in the ski resort region of Lake Tahoe, California, Squaw Valley Lodge offers access to nearly 4,000 acres of skiing at Squaw Valley ski resort and the outdoor mecca of North Lake Tahoe.

Cross-Country Skiing at Squaw Valley Lodge, Olympic Valley, California
Cross-Country Skiing at Squaw Valley Lodge, Olympic Valley, California

Aside from its serene setting, Squaw Valley Lodge offers groups its health club and spa services as well as outdoor hydrotherapy pools, a steam room and dry sauna.

There is an outdoor pool and tennis courts in summer. Groups can arrange for yoga instructors to lead classes on property as well as cooking demos in the Ponderosa Room using healthy ingredients.

Group activities can be arranged with the Tahoe Adventure Company, including snowshoeing, skiing, cross-country skiing, and in summer kayaking, paddleboarding, hiking, mountain biking and more.

The property also features 2,000 square feet of event space and an outdoor deck patio.

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Marlene Goldman | Contributing Writer