by Deana Mitchell
Colorado has something for everyone, whether you are looking for a downtown city or a mountain resort experience. Outdoor adventures abound year-round and luxurious or casual accommodations are found in every corner. Plus, we have 300 days of sunshine a year as well as some of the best snow in the Rockies.
Tips prior to arrival:
- Check the festival & public event schedules prior to booking, they could add to your meeting or give attendees a chance to arrive early/stay later to enjoy some personal time.
- Prepare attendees for altitude; make sure they know to drink lots of water even before they arrive.
- Provide gift bags with essentials upon arrival (e.g., sunscreen, lip balm, oxygen canisters, Altitude Adjustment). Oxygen is even flavored, so you can try mint or pink grapefruit! Altitude Adjustment is an all-natural remedy that you take upon arrival.
Tips for an event anywhere in the state
Customization abounds, there are so many options to make your event unique.
- Colorado has the most craft beer breweries per capita than any other state!
- We also have local distilleries like Stranahan’s Whiskey in Denver or Telluride Vodka in Telluride.
- History is abundant in most of the state: skiing, mining and colorful characters.
- Enjoy a dinner with local elk or buffalo on the menu.
Tips for city destinations
- Maybe your event or meeting is too large for mountain resorts, but you can still have a high alpine experience by creating a Rocky Mountain atmosphere in a city ballroom. Make the ceiling look like stars and use rustic wood tables and vignettes around the room to create an outdoor adventure inside.
- During Denver meetings, make time to see landmarks with an afternoon of team-building and exploring with CBST Adventures. End up at the D & F Clock Tower for a progressive dinner between five floors with amazing city views. You also can take in a concert as a group at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
- Embrace history and the outdoors on the same day in Durango. Stay at the Strater Hotel and take a breathtaking ride on the Durango-Silverton Railroad to Soaring Treetop Adventures, which is a 27-station zip line experience that is unbelievable!
Tips for mountain destinations
- Dress is casual all the time—ski boots or flip flops are always acceptable (but know your own group’s requirements and culture)!. Make sure you have a light coat and/or rain jacket in the summer. Steady footwear is practical; high heels are not necessary!
- There are so many unique mountain venues for events! Some of my favorites:
- Schmid Ranch, Alpino Vino or Alta Lakes Observatory in Telluride;
- Piney River Ranch or 4 Eagle Ranch in the Vail Valley;
- Lynn Brit Cabin or Elk Camp Restaurant in Snowmass Village; and
- T Lazy 7 Ranch in Aspen.
- Winter where you live may be a time to be inside, but in Colorado you have to spend time outdoors and try something new! Maybe you have attendees that are not downhill skiers or snowboarders. No problem, as many ways exist to enjoy the fluffy white stuff. Snowshoe or cross-country ski while learning about the environment with a local guide, have a winter rescue team-building experience, plug into the raw energy of snowmobiling, or try a creative use of a local ice rink and learn curling! Ski biking is a way to experience the mountain without having to go to ski school!
- In the summer season, there are almost too many options to decide! Land motor sports such as Jeep or Razor/ATV tours can create experiences around beauty and history. Water sport choices could include whitewater rafting, ducky river kayaking, lake kayaking, stand up paddle boarding (SUP), or tubing down the calm part of a river. Make sure to have a guide as safety is key! Other possibilities are hiking or mountain biking on local trails, climbing and conquering a rock wall or face, taking a yoga class on the top of the mountain or learning to fly-fish.
Hire local meeting and event planning professionals and outfitters to make planning destination meetings a breeze!
Deana Mitchell, CMP DMCP CCSE is the owner of Realize Planning, a Global DMC Partner that serves the state of Colorado. After 25 years in the hospitality world, she started Realize in 2011 and is currently based in Telluride, CO.