Outdoor Colorado Meetings: Root Beer Float S’Mores, Anyone?

Gateway Canyons Resort

Nicole Marsh, CMP/DMPA, is CEO of The Arrangers DMC with offices in Denver, Colorado Springs and Vail. She says active outdoor programs are booming in popularity because executives are spending more time in the office together, so anything removed from an interior locale has better success in terms of teambuilding.

Colorado specializes in this. Just 20 minutes outside Denver, for example, the awesome Red Rock Amphitheater is set between two towering red-hued mountains. The 30,000 sf visitor’s center hosts 2,000 for receptions. Stay tuned for our “On Location” story.

“It’s that adventure and outdoor theme that’s the focus of much of the teambuilding programs that The Arrangers put together for our clients,” explains Marsh. “River rafting is really popular out here in the summer and there’s a ton of zip lines that have popped up across the entire state this year.”

For one group this summer, the DMC set up identifiers along a river rafting route that teams were required to spot, without falling overboard. The group with the most points afterward won a cash prize that they donated to a local charity.

“Obviously, Colorado is a great state for this kind of activity,” Marsh says. “We’re a green state with about 300 days of sunshine a year, even in the winter. In fact, we’ve done fun scavenger hunts on snowmobiles, where you’re digging in the snow for things. It’s all about embracing the great outdoors.

Owned by Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks, the Gateway Canyons Resort is a spectacular mountain resort located one hour southwest of Grand Junction at the confluence of the West Creek and Dolores River by the majestic Uncompahgre Plateau. Designed like a small village, Gateway just wrapped a $100 million expansion including the addition of adobe-style accommodations for a total of 58 rooms/suites starting at 475 sf. The units feature fireplaces, Peruvian furniture, oversize patios with hot spring spas and breathtaking views of the Palisade formation.

The expansion is the realization of Hendricks’ dream to create “a gathering place for the incredibly curious.” Onsite, there’s an auto museum housing 45 prized American vehicles from the 1906 Cadillac Model H Coupe to the 2008 electric Tesla Roadster. The museum is often used as a group venue, along with 8,800 sf of space in the Palisade Event Center and Mission Bell Amphitheater. There are also three restaurants including the upscale Entrada serving dishes like Colorado striped bass with country hash.

The resort specializes in outdoor teambuilding retreats with a full slate of group events such as rock climbing and rappelling, rafting, horseback riding, airplane tours and Jeep tours.

And we have to mention this because few things bring a group together like root beer float s’mores. The 190-room Park Hyatt Beaver Creek hosts a daily S’mores Happy Hour around their big fire pit overlooking the ski slopes. You have a choice of milk or dark chocolate and fresh handmade marshmallows created at 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill. Flavors include vanilla, Grand Marnier, M&M and, thanks to a recent Facebook contest, the newly invented root beer recipe! Total indoor/outdoor meeting space is 20,000 sf.