From cheering on cowboys and cowgirls at rodeos to fishing trout-filled rivers, there are multiple ways groups can embrace iconic Rocky Mountain adventure.

Groups and leisure travelers alike flock to Colorado for something special, particularly abundant activities that epitomize the West. With four stunning seasons and an activity for every weather scenario, meeting planners rely on Colorado for experiential meetings.

Horsing Around
Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch, Loveland

Colorado has more than two dozen dude and guest ranches offering everything from horseback rides and cattle drives to luxurious spa treatments. Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch has hosted several corporate groups over the years, including Keysight, Dole, Stryker Corp., Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, and Cardinal Health.

Groups typically stay anywhere from two to five nights and pack their days with horseback riding, trap shooting, fishing, and archery, says Karen Burbank, dude ranch and lesson programs coordinator at Sylvan Dale. The ranch accommodates 18 guests staying in their own room or a maximum of 37 with couples or families in the mix. 

 “We love hosting corporate groups,” Burbank says. “It’s a chance to share the ranch with a different type of guest versus our family-type vacation weeks. Our Heritage Great Room offers a sizable space to host a workshop, and we have a couple of breakout spaces available—not to mention what a wonderful feeling it is to see the relaxation set in for our corporate clients. They always seem to need a place like Sylvan Dale to disconnect from the stresses of the real world.”

For more dude ranch options, visit the Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association’s website at coloradoranch.com.

Ranch Life & More
The Dunbar, Aspen

The Dunbar offers groups the opportunity to get into ranch life, albeit for a shorter amount of time. Located on 160 acres of prime property in Aspen, the ranch caters to private events. From one simple activity to a multitude of western sports, the ranch can accommodate groups of 200 for a gathering and has three private homes available for rent.

“We had 400 corporate guests for our Dunbar Ranch Day,” explains Megan Goldberg, creative marketing manager for RMC, a Colorado-based destination management company. “We split everyone into two groups, and it worked perfectly. The gathering was for an incentive program, so we really wanted to bring as much to the event as possible. We also had great partners and vendors who were able to bring in Western hats, boots, and a custom jewelry bar for personalized mementos. All the guests were treated to a gourmet catered lunch with live music under a clear-top tent.”

The ranch has an area dedicated for company softball games. Guests can also fly-fish, do yoga outdoors, and take culinary classes, such as cheese making and more.

“Our guests really like to try a bit of everything, and that is why Dunbar is a favorite go-to destination for our large groups,” Goldberg adds. “[The Dunbar has] custom Jeep tours of the property, and those from the flatlands really enjoy the off-road adventure into the forest.”

We’re Not Done
More Options to Consider

Bravo! Vail

There’s nothing quite like enjoying concerts in the mountains at one of the premiere music festivals in Colorado. Bravo! is celebrating its 35th anniversary, and Vail Music Festival offers terrific options for groups with 60 indoor and outdoor concerts from June 23 to Aug. 4. Some of the world’s greatest orchestras make their summer home at Bravo! Vail, including Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic. bravovail.org

Brews & Bikes in Fort Collins

Take the group on a tour of Fort Collins’ most popular breweries with Beer & Bike Tours. For a mellow adventure in the fresh air, the ride stops at three local breweries, and there is a basket on each bike to grab goodies to take back from the adventure. The company offers other rides around the state and beyond. beerandbiketours.com

Snowmass Rodeo

Snowmass Rodeo runs every Wednesday evening from June 22 to Aug. 17. “We are delighted to have large groups at the rodeo and have them every year,” says Executive Director Darce Vold. “Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, and we recommend arriving early to avoid the lines. Conundrum Catering, which has a large selection of food to choose from for groups, is our preferred food provider.” snowmassrodeo.org

Whitewater Rafting + Ziplines

Colorado is an opportune location to conquer numerous activities in one day. Take to the roaring rapids of the Arkansas River in Buena Vista for a multisport adventure. American Adventure Expeditions can add rafting, ziplines, ATV tours, soaks in hot springs, and horseback rides to a group’s schedule. americanadventure.com

Colorado Biathlon
A-Basin, Keystone, Front Range

Gareth Heyman, owner of MorEvents, is one of Colorado’s most ambitious event planners. He brings that enthusiasm to corporate groups through a Colorado biathlon program he has designed and flawlessly executed for years. For especially ambitious groups, it’s a triathlon.

“We love showcasing Colorado’s intriguing sports, and [the biathlon is] easily accomplishable in both summer and winter,” Heyman says. “For our winter groups, we have hosted numerous Fortune 500 companies for this adrenaline-seeking day. We take them to A-Basin [officially known as Arapahoe Basin Ski Area] and challenge them to do a set number of ski runs. Then, after nourishing attendees, we shuttle them over to Keystone for nine holes of golf. It’s an action-packed day, but what a conversation starter!”

Heyman’s team can organize the mountain day for up to 200 people. “It’s quintessential Colorado, and we’re always amazed how competitive the individuals become, especially the high-end tech companies and sales-driven groups. They bring the energy and want the awards we hand out at the culmination of the festivities.”

For groups based in Denver, Boulder, and Golden, Heyman takes advantage of the dozens of outstanding public golf courses around the city and adds in a fly-fishing component, challenging guests to complete a set number of casts before moving onto the next activity. “We’ll have food trucks, caterers, and plenty of protein and fluids along the way,” he notes.

Want to take a chance on the triathlon? If so, Heyman adds in a hike before golf and fly-fishing. The trails in the foothills near Boulder and Golden are popular, scenic, and easy to access from Denver. “It’s an early morning, but attendees enjoy getting in the hike before lunch and conquering the rest of the day,” says Heyman.

Cast a Line
The Broadmoor Fly Fishing Camp, Lake George

One of the most relaxing and rejuvenating experiences in Colorado is fishing trout-filled waters. Located 75 minutes west of The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and along a private, 5-mile stretch of Tarryall Creek, The Broadmoor Fly Fishing Camp is an Orvis-endorsed lodge. Guests are shuttled from the main resort to the remote location. The lodge has guest cabins, a main lodge with meeting space, and additional activities such as culinary experiences and art immersion workshops.

Flogistix President and CEO Mims Talton enjoyed her group’s recent experience so much that she is repeating it this summer. “In July 2020, even in the midst of the pandemic, we were easily able to plan an incredible retreat at The Broadmoor Fly Fishing Camp. I brought in sales managers for the first half of the week and service managers for the second portion.”

The camp can accommodate 18 guests at a time; therefore, Talton’s group of 36 worked perfectly. “The participants were outdoors-oriented, and the solitude and isolation of the location was a big appeal. We are a tight-knit, family-type group at Flogistix, and it was wonderful to bring in our staff from all over
the United States.”

Throughout the course of seven days, attendees fished daily with private guides and enjoyed hiking and flying drones. There were organized lawn games and dedicated time to meet about company business.

“We’re going back because of The Broadmoor staff and service,” says Talton. “I like the secluded nature of the lodge—it’s very important for retreats in my opinion. Knowing everyone is in safe and knowledgeable hands is reassuring and exciting. It’s easy to make sure everyone is having a healthy and fun time.”

Since Longmont's Can’d Aid was founded in 2013, more than 2 million cans of water have been distributed, over 9,600 skateboards and bikes and 4,000 art kits built for underserved youth, and more than 3,000 instruments donated. This has been accomplished with the help of volunteers nationwide and through relationships with community leaders, nonprofit organizations, volunteers, and corporate partners. 

Inspiring an Inclusive Park 

 

The Gate Expansion Program not only has delivered 39 new gates to Denver International Airport (DEN), there will be colorful new artwork. The expansion increases the airport’s capacity by 30%, making it easy for groups to access meeting and event destinations in the state. Outposts of favorite local restaurants also are being added throughout the facility.  

Public Art by Detour

 

When it comes to planning a holiday party for your team or a client, isn’t it nice when you don’t have to worry much about decor? It helps not only the budget but also your checklist.

Here are four of Colorado’s best-known historic hotels from around the state that pull out all the stops to add sparkle and festive activities that delight groups and leisure guests.

The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa, Denver