5 Mountain Cities That Will Bring Out the Best in Meeting Attendees
Cloud Camp Credit: Karen Mitchell
Do mountains bring out the best in people? Meeting planner Lindsay Cummings thinks so.
“There is something very special and serene about hosting large groups in the mountains and the way that it brings different types of people together for the better,” said Cummings, events manager for Goosehead Insurance, based in Texas. Cummings has held several mountain meetings, including some in Banff, Alberta.
For Cummings and other meeting and event planners, sometimes being remote is the best way to bring people together—the draw of palatial summits coupled with spectacular night time views of the sky and pine-scented air is difficult to resist. Fresh air often leads to fresh thinking and authentic ideas, and while two heads are better than one, there’s a lot to be said for the possibilities that open up in open-air spaces.
“Hosting meetings in the mountains tends to give attendees a different perspective on everything. We tend to slow down, self-reflect and appreciate the small things.” Cummings said. “The mountains help us get back to the basics…the views, activities, adventure and calm serene environment is why I continue to host events in the mountains.”
For those looking to broaden their horizons and open up new possibilities, here are five mountain cities waiting to bring out the best in attendees.
1. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Nestled right up against the foothills of the front range of the Rocky Mountains is Colorado Springs, an outdoor urban hybrid of city amenities and authentic outdoor recreation all within easy access.
“Attendees can expect world- class meeting facilities and capabilities with an authentic experiential meeting experience,” said Dina Worthen, senior sales manager with Visit Colorado Springs.
For those with an adventurous streak and a love for the outdoors, Colorado Springs offers a plethora of outdoor activities, including mountain biking, whitewater rafting, hiking, winter and water sports.
“All of the things that are offered in our destination can be enjoyed in a different way throughout the entire year,” she said.
Located in the heart of Colorado Springs is the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum, which can accommodate a wide -range of accessibility needs and offers a total of 15,120 square feet of meeting and event spaces, including, but not limited to, the lobby/atrium, Mary K. Chapman Special Events center and the Weidner Plaza.
For those searching for something that can offer a mix of relaxation and adventure, The Broadmoor resort and its Wilderness Experience properties encompass a total of 5,000 acres within the breathtaking Pikes Peak region and boasts 315,000 square feet of meetings and events space. For those looking to add some zip to their experience, The Broadmoor offer outdoor activities such as falconry, mountain biking, ziplining, caving, rock climbing, archery and more, as well as tailored teambuilding exercises.
2. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Seated among the Grand Tetons and often called “The Last of the Old West,” Jackson Hole is a place of natural wonder and a recreational playground. It’s easy to get lost in awe while admiring the majestic scenery and taking in the night sky, which makes venues that embrace their environment all the easier to say “yes” to.
Overlooking the National Elk Refuge is The Natural Museum of Wildlife Art, offering 11,342 square feet ofv meeting and event space rentals with unique views both inside and outside. From life-size sculptures along the outdoor trail to carefully curated artwork gracing the walls, The Natural Museum of Wildlife Art is perfectly suited for those looking to add some sophistication to their experience.
Located blocks from the town of Jackson's famous antler arches, a few minutes from Jackson Hole airport and resting on the edge Grand Teton National Park and Snow King Mountain, is The Snow King Resort. Offering a total of 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space and 293 rooms, with a fully stocked business center, catering staff, brand-new 11,000 square foot luxury spa and onsite restaurant and ski/snowboard and mountain bike rentals, Snow King Resort comes fully prepared.
3. Lake Tahoe, California
Beautiful Lake Tahoe and its surrounding towns are located in the stunningly picturesque Sierra Nevada Mountains of California.
Edgewood Tahoe Resort, located on the pristine blue waters of Lake Tahoe and exuding a rustic glamour, offers year-round activities such as golf, water sports, hiking, winter sports, ice skating and more. Its close proximity to South Lake Tahoe’s entertainment district makes it the perfect place to enjoy gaming, nightlife and shopping as well. It offers 154 guest rooms and suites with 9,044 square feet of meeting space and six meeting rooms.
The Hyatt-Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino, located in North Lake Tahoe, has 65,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space and offers catering and shuttle services. It also has an on-site spa, fitness center, casino and seven different eateries, ranging from sophisticated to casual. For the outdoorsy, Adventure Specialists are available for daily guided activities on and around the property.
4. Taos, New Mexico
As one of America’s foremost bona fide art colonies, Taos also offers a world-class ski resort and a thriving music scene, all while perched on a breathtaking landscape that encompasses the Rocky Mountains and the Rio Grande Gorge. The 300-plus days of sunshine give travelers and meeting attendees considerable opportunities to explore the unsullied wilderness with activities such as fly fishing, hot air ballooning, mountain biking, golf, horseback riding as well as hiking with llamas and white water rafting in the summer, and skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing in the winter.
Against the backdrop of the breathtaking Sangre de Cristo mountains is the El Monte Sagrado, which has multiple exquisite ballrooms including a gallery overlooking cottonwood trees and waterfalls. Featuring handsome hand-carved doors and pillars, Italian crystal chandeliers and even an Imperial Concert Grand Bösendorfer piano, the indoor meeting space totals 6,000 square feet. In addition, two outdoor event spaces, the Sacred Circle and the Taos Mountain Lawn, add manicured elegance and open air space to events and meetings.
The historic Sagebrush Inn and Suites slightly south of Taos, which opened in 1931 as a 13-room hotel, catering to guests traveling by carriage along the trade route between New York and Arizona, and which boasts stunning views. Today it has 156 guest rooms and 13,000 square feet of flexible event space that accommodates up to 1,000 guests and includes outdoor patio and courtyards, in-house catering and bar services.
5. Boise, Idaho
Billed as “part rugged and part refined,” Boise lives up to its reputation with an eclectic mix of raw terrain and sophisticated urban life. As a university town, Boise makes for a lively, vibrant city scene, yet provides fun and adventurous outdoor activities year-round, from skiing at the Bogus Basin in the winter to hiking its unique trails in the summer.
“We like to say we’re the city you’d like to have a beer with,” said Carrie Westergard, executive director for Boise CVB. “That vibe reflects the people who live here. We’re a welcoming community that genuinely wants to get to know you and your group.”
Jack’s Urban Meeting Place, or JUMP, is a creative multipurpose space perfect for fundraisers, galas, conferences or lectures. A non-profit with a mission of “inspiring human potential,” JUMP was created to build community and inspire individuals to explore and discover their own potential by bringing diverse people together through explorative play. “JUMP is a place for trying something new, thinking outside the box, taking risks, and challenging the status quo. We gravitate towards hosting events that help people see themselves and the world differently as well as events that help bring people together to realize we have more in common than we might realize, especially as the world is feeling more divisive than ever,” said Kathy O’Neill, JUMP’s community engagement director. As such, they do not hold private events like weddings or birthday parties. A popular venue for team-building experiences, JUMP has a park with an outdoor amphitheater, terraces, rooftop parks, meeting areas and play areas with unique views of the city and the surrounding mountains; studios supplied with AV equipment to record albums or make movies; an industrial-grade kitchen; studio space stocked with tools and a 3D printer; studio spaces for dance, movement and recitals; studio for brainstorming and high-speed Wi-Fi available throughout all corners of the space.
The Treefort Music Hall, a 20,000-square-foot music venue that can host 500-700 attendees, is slated to open in 2023 next to the Warehouse Food Hall. "Boise is a popular post-SXSW stop for performers, and artists and fans alike are looking forward to experiencing this venue," Westergard said.
Adventure, Fun and Finery
For groups wanting to get the most out of their Colorado Springs experience, The Broadmoor, a Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond resort, is where it’s at. Situated against the backdrop of the Rockies, The Broadmoor offers elegance and refinery but also an opportunity to explore the wild side of Colorado.
On the more urbane side, The Broadmoor is home to an abundance of restaurants, cafes and lounges; two legendary golf courses; a world-renowned spa, 19 distinctive retail outlets; and 315,000 square feet of meeting space. For those seeking a more rugged experience, The Broadmoor also offers three unique wilderness properties: Cloud Camp, The Ranch at Emerald Valley and Fly Fishing Camp where guests can hike, go horseback riding, mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing or fly fishing on the Tarryall River.
For those wanting to experience the natural playground of Colorado Springs, Broadmoor Outfitters offers adventure guides. Guided activities include ziplining, falconry, hiking, mountain biking, stand-up paddleboarding, rock climbing and more. Guests can choose different levels of activity per recreation, depending on skill level.
Corporate meeting planners should note that The Broadmoor works with companies and organizations to facilitate team building through custom-tailored leadership and team development curriculum using the Myers-Briggs personality test. Empowering activities include a hike/bike race, scavenger hunt, building a bridge, and fire walking—yes, the brave can choose to walk on coals!
After all the activity the Colorado wilderness can offer, The Broadmoor is there to welcome back guests with experiences like a gourmet meal or hot stone massage.