By Beth Buehler
What comes to mind when you think of mountain lodges? Visions of comfy couches and a fireplace in the lobby, large windows with stunning mountain views, outdoor fun right out the front and back doors, an outdoor hot tub and starry nights dance in my head.
What might meetings at mountain lodges meeting look like? Casual clothes, unique meeting spaces, free time built into the schedule, team-building outside, a reception with Colorado brews and spirits (perhaps those crafted right in the same town like in Breckenridge and Durango) and a dinner that ends with s’mores around a fire pit or bonfire are among the options that are as varied as the peaks that surround the state’s mountain towns.
Peoples’ definitions of a lodge vary. YMCA of the Rockies’ two facilities, Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby near Winter Park and Estes Park Center YMCA, have cozy, no-frills lodges along with several other lodging options.
Evergreen Lodge in Vail, Beaver Creek Lodge, Winter Park Mountain Lodge are classic larger ski town lodges while Lodge at Breckenridge, and Tivoli Lodge and Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, both in the Vail Valley, are medium-sized properties with 45 to 66 rooms. My definition of a classic ski town lodge is a property that has easy access to the slopes; amenities that are helpful for outdoorsy guests like a place to store skis/snowboards and other equipment like bikes; staff that can help guide guests to great trails, adventures and restaurants; enjoyable spots to enjoy a mug of hot chocolate or a glass of wine; a mountain feel to the interior; and most certainly a ski town location.
Lodges are just one of the many types of mountain-style accommodations, which also include cabins, condominiums, full-service resorts, spacious mountain homes and even yurts. There is something for every taste and size of group. The common theme? Friendly and authentic Western hospitality and a cool mountain-town vibe.
Beth Buehler, editor of Colorado Meetings + Events and Mountain Meetings magazines, lives in the mountains, has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado in all seasons.