Located 30 miles north of Yellowstone National Park in Pray, Montana, Sage Lodge has announced the selection of Ben Jones as its new executive chef. In this role, Jones will create and implement the culinary vision for the property, which includes the on-site restaurants The Grill at Sage Lodge and the Fireside Room, as well as for meetings and events.

His Vision

As executive chef, Jones looks forward to developing and mentoring his team, being creative with food preservation, sourcing and highlighting local ingredients and bolstering The Grill’s dry-age room program. Developing culinary event programming at Sage Lodge and maintaining the consistency and quality of culinary offerings at the property also are priorities.

“I look forward to developing a culture of team and guest focus that is above any other, and I can’t wait to further enhance and expand our cuisine offerings and make this the premier culinary workplace in Montana,” Jones says.

Broad Experience

Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and with a degree in culinary arts from Nelson Polytechnic in Nelson, New Zealand, Jones’ experiences span more than 20 years. He started out as chef de cuisine at Peninsula Hotel in Chicago and worked his way up to becoming executive chef at The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, Montana and more recently at Alderbrook Resort and Spa in Union, Washington. 

Jones has been a guest chef for the 2016 James Beard House event; published recipes in the “Smoke and Fire” cookbook; and hosted the James Beard Boot Camp on sustainability and food waste. He also is a founder and chef at Open Hearth Private Chef and Catering LLC, a private chef and custom catering company, alongside his wife and partner, Michelle Byerly.

Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana, has named Molly Smith and Kristen Snavely co-general managers of the all-inclusive luxury property situated in the Bitterroot Valley. Smith is returning to Triple Creek Ranch after a brief hiatus. Previously serving as GM for four years after working her way up from pastry chef, she has since perfected her skills at The Inn at Hastings Park in Massachusetts, another Relais & Châteaux property. 


With meetings returning to normal as the COVID-19 pandemic levels out, outdoor mountain pursuits are finding more time on meeting agendas. Taking events outdoors not only boosts attendees’ comfort level as they ease back into in-person meetings, time spent in nature is proven to improve brain health and stimulate creative thinking as well.

We’ll be looking at this topic in-depth in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Mountain Meetings. Consider this as an introduction to some of the possibilities.  


The Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) named Paola Bowman, CMP, CMM, its new president at its 2022 annual conference held January 21–23 in Kansas City, Missouri. Bowman is destination services manager at the Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau in Arlington, Texas. During her tenure, Bowman plans to focus her energy on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, as well as growing membership through outreach.