By Deana Mitchell, CMP, DMCP
Colorful Colorado is home to numerous unique venues to create memorable experiences for meeting and event attendees. Here are a few of my personal favorites for planning distinct gatherings for groups.
Gateway Canyons, located on the Western Slope in Gateway, was created by John Hendricks, founder of the Discovery Channel. You can hear from John himself here and discover the amazing place I have come to love. The resort has an unbelievable car museum that traces the history of American automobiles, a ride and drive program, air tours on-site, luxurious accommodations and many options for meeting of event space. Plus the adventure is unlimited. Ever watched a car commercial on a winding road with spectacular scenery? Attendees can live out that experience at Gateway Canyons. It’s the perfect place to connect with team members and rejuvenate the soul!
Garden of the Gods Club & Resort is an awe-inspiring unique place where groups will feel miles away from the world as they know it but are in the vibrant city of Colorado Springs. The rock formations framing Pikes Peak in the background provide a breathtaking view that never gets old. Imagine your opening reception at the pool, an outing on the 27-hole Kissing Camels Golf Course, free time at the spa or on the 11 indoor and outdoor tennis courts, and productive meetings in the 10,000+ square feet of meeting and event space.
The Observatory is nestled in the San Juan Mountains at more than 11,000 feet in elevation, about 13 miles from Telluride Ski Resort. After the initial sketch on a napkin at the Sheridan Bar in the 1970s, locals built this backcountry cabin over a three-year period. It is a small venue but spectacular year-round, hosting up to 40 in summer and 20 in winter. If you ever get the chance to be at this spot on a clear night, you will understand the name!
Trains might be the way to go if you want to see the backcountry in the Rocky Mountains without hiking. There are several historic train rides in our great state such as the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Georgetown Loop Railroad and Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad. These railroad adventures all have special events open to the public (or private) like speakeasy, beer and brats, wine and cheese, holiday or BBQ themes, brunch, fall photo opportunities, wildflower season or custom private trains. Some also have combination adventures that include ziplining, rafting or mining tours.
Destination management companies (DMCs) like Realize Colorado are here to help groups create a special experience that attendees will remember for years to come. We would love to hear from you regarding when we can start working on a custom mountain event in the Colorado Rockies!
Deana Mitchell CMP, DMCP, is the owner and operator of Realize Colorado (until recently known as Realize Planning), founded in 2011. A 30-year hospitality veteran, Mitchell has spent the better part of the last 20 years in Colorado and can’t imagine living anywhere else!