As idioms go, meeting planners know firsthand the meaning of herding cats and capturing the wind. It’s difficult to manage events over vast terrain. At Beaver Creek, that problem is a rarity. This compact resort has all the amenities of a big town and a large ski mountain without the long distances between attractions.
With its breathtaking views and high-end amenities, it is not hard to see why Beaver Creek has become a highly sought-after destination for business and pleasure. “Everything at Beaver Creek is within walking distance, the lodging is superior and there are lots of creative spaces for nontraditional meetings,” says Wendy Zentz, director of resort group sales for Vail Resorts, which owns Beaver Creek.
For the 2015-2016 winter season, Beaver Creek hospitality experts plan to play up just how many creative meeting spaces the resort offers, Zentz notes. For instance, imagine instead of perfecting your pitch for a sales opportunity on an elevator, it happens in a gondola on the way up the mountainside. It’s an idea that Tom Puntel, director of sales and marketing at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa, is ready to set up for group meetings. “Our goal is to help make personal connections more lasting,” he says. What better way than on the gondola or perhaps a snowshoe meeting during a breakout session?
In February 2015, CBST Adventures planned the coolest of winter events for White Wave Foods, an ice carving competition held at The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa. The property has more than 7,200 square feet of indoor meeting and event space and plentiful outdoor spaces, including a large pool and hot tubs overlooking Gore Creek. Richard Sandoval’s Mexican restaurant, Maya, hosted a team ice carving competition on the patio, followed by dinner inside. Fifty attendees split up into five groups and each team came up with their own ice carving design.
“The Ice Carve-Off event is a great way to augment a day of skiing or one of CBST Adventures’ other programs like the Winter Olympics or GPS Amazing Race. It is also a popular choice for groups looking for a unique icebreaker for their welcome reception,” explains Cat Alletto, business development and event manager for CBST Adventures.
One of the best ways for clients to experience the best the ski area has to offer is the White Glove First Tracks package. Get on the mountain at 7:30 a.m., well before the lifts open to the public. Take a private ski lesson and finish up with a five-star breakfast at Beano’s Cabin or another private on-mountain cabin. If that isn’t enough, Beaver Creek Resort will offer heli-skiing and snowboarding through Telluride Helitrax. Groups of four fly to Telluride from Eagle County Airport, where a Eurocopter S350 awaits for a day of skiing in the San Juan Mountains. Guests can be back to their hotel by happy hour to brag about the amazing experience.
From Five to 1,000
Beaver Creek accommodations and meetings spaces are a blend of full-service resort, condominium and on-mountain group spaces. There is plenty of space for small and medium conferences, and collectively the resort can accommodate village-wide events of up to 1,000. Vilar Performing Arts Center is an ideal space for large conferences. The theater seats 535, plus the ample lobby is perfect for receptions. May Gallery Patrons Lounge is also a good spot to host cocktail receptions for 100 or sit-down dinners for up to 60 guests.
The centerpiece of Beaver Creek Lodge is the Grand Bohemian Art Gallery. It’s an easygoing space that can serve as a meet-and-greet lounge, an intimate dinner or even a sip-andpaint evening with a local artist. The lodge has a new restaurant, Revolution, which can be combined with the hotel’s Aspen Room and Blue Spruce to host 50 to a few hundred guests. Each space flows from one to the other, allowing for a reception, dinner and meeting to occur in close proximity, each in a unique atmosphere. The outdoor patio with fire pits is a perfect après ski or fair-weather respite for groups.
Revolution, owned by chef Riley Romanin, has a globally inspired menu with Colorado 7X beef, roasted porchetta and crispy whole chicken served with freshly made naan and tortillas. The flatbreads are served in hollowedout trunks in the table center. Sauces, like honey horseradish and midnight blue aioli, are perched on the trunk’s sides for dipping and spooning into the soft breads. Romanin also owns Hooked, a restaurant in the village known for whole, fresh fish preparations. For groups, Catering and Sales Conference Services Manager Lori Harding can draw from these menus or the catering menu.
A wedding planner meeting, Engage!14, organized by Florida-based Engaging Concepts, chose The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch as its home base and used a large outdoor ice rink as the centerpiece for the annual event. Beaver Creek’s ice rink, one of only three year-round ice rinks in the country, was covered in a clear tent so guests could catch a glimpse of evening stars and the beauty of the surrounding village.
Event planners Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce embraced a mountain-chic theme with color-coordinated cowboy hats, a mechanical bull and an oxygen bar for altitude adjustments. Beaver Creek’s restaurant offerings were ample enough for all guests to dine around the resort and gather back together at The Ritz-Carlton for an evening John Denver sing-along. Wolfgang Puck, who has a Spago restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton, even made a surprise showing for attendees.
Attendee Nicole Zenner of LK Events summed up the gathering in four words: overwhelmed, blessed, challenged and validated.
Motivate & Educate
At Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa, guests can see why Colorado continues to be one of the healthiest states in the nation. The resort staff is stepping up its health focus. “We are working to keep our guests engaged in the wellness aspect of our hotel,” says Christine Copertino, Allegria spa director for the Park Hyatt. “You can sit in a conference room anywhere.” Instead, guests get to enjoy the Colorado experience with hiking and snowshoe meetings, a morning yoga stretch before skiing and healthy box lunches to take away for mountain excursions.
Carin Aichele recently joined the Allegria staff to work as a wellness coach for groups. Aichele, a former architect executive and current mountain bike racer, will offer keynote speaking, wellness and mindfulness training for guests to apply to their personal and professional life. “People come to a place like Beaver Creek because it offers a sense of peace and beauty,” she says. “I’ll use that to inspire people to make positive changes.”
For a board retreat in 2015, Mary Beth Vitale, chairman of the National Association of Corporate Directors: Colorado Chapter, planned a Fit for the Future Event. Vitalie, who climbs 14ers and plays competitive tennis, wanted a fun team activity that was just strenuous enough to get people excited. She connected with Emily Dornan, an Allegria spa fitness instructor, to plan a circuit course with wacky and slightly taxing activities, including arm wrestling, relay racing, wall sitting and a staring contest.
“We have a diverse group of ages and abilities among our 18 participating board members,” says Vitale. The goal was to illustrate strengths and weaknesses, which it did. But most of all, “people raved about it,” she says.
A year-round destination, Beaver Creek is ready to show what it can do for corporate, nonprofit and association gatherings. Former President Gerald Ford, a supporter, community leader and part-time Beaver Creek resident, would be happy with what he sees today at Beaver Creek. The resort is an ideal place for groups and their families to experience the wonder and beauty of the Eagle Valley.