Breckenridge. Vail. Aspen/Snowmass. Park City. These names alone conjure up some of the world’s most jaw-dropping locales, with world-class skiing in the winter and alpine adventures in the summer among vertiginous ravines and wildflower-filled meadows. We checked in with a few meeting professionals, DMCs and hoteliers to find out how active-minded groups can create the most high-octane ROI in the Rocky Mountains.
BRECKENRIDGE “There are so many activities here, no matter the season,” says Marcus Leskovar, partner with the DMC, Summit Destination Management. Specializing in off-the-beaten-path diversions that leave sites as green as they’re found, Leskover has worked with planners on everything from cattle drives for 25 at the Rusty Spurr Ranch to exclusive “glamping” (glamour camping) for 10 with gourmet meals atop the 11,500-ft Mount Baldy.
For teambuilding and leadership development, Leskovar taps into the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center. The 40-acre campus accommodates up to 300 for adventure learning that teaches high-adrenaline activities to attendees, including mountain rappelling, whitewater rafting and rock climbing in the summer, or Nordic-style skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding in the winter.
“We’ll also take smaller groups of 15 up to Jones Pass for guided backcountry skiing where there’s absolutely nothing but untracked powder and a snowcat for transportation,” Leskovar says. “While they’re skiing, we’ll build a European-style snow bar where they gather for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres after the last run. It’s hard to beat.”
For planners with smaller upscale groups, imagine you’re savoring North American elk with a Two Rivers cabernet on the terrace at the brand new One Ski Hill Place. As you gaze across the village of Breckenridge toward the Continental Divide, you wonder whether you could possibly feel any Rocky Mountain higher than this. Snuggled into the base at Peak 8 mountain, the ski-in/ski-out haven features immediate access to four ski lifts in the winter, and endless hike/bike trails through untouched mountain landscapes in the summer.
The slopeside lodge features 10,000 sf of outdoor function space and another 3,600 sf under roof. The Ski Hill Road Ballroom handles 230 pax, while up to 300 can gather at the outdoor plaza with a heated deck and fireplace. There’s also the 9,000-sf Aquatics, Fitness & Rejuvenation Center.
“No doubt, eco- and action-focused meeting planners appreciate this location,” says David Sudduth, director of sales for the upscale, residence-style retreat that opened in June. “We’re the only property in Breckenridge offering small groups such a high level of luxury with immediate access to mountain recreation. And what we’re finding is that planners who once overlooked Breckenridge because of the type of accommodations appreciate our new high-end option.”
Ranging from studios to 3-bedrooms, accommodations shine with well-appointed interiors, dramatic fireplaces and large windows that bring mountain vistas inside. Current inventory is 30 guestrooms with queen and king beds.
The Victorian-style ski village itself is far from contrived. It’s a real-life town packed with authentic country charm and a rich gold rush history celebrated on Main Street during year-round cultural festivals and inside a plethora of heritage sites.