Thinking about sports facilities in mountain towns typically causes visions of ski resorts to dance in meeting planners’ and attendees’ heads. We set out to find some out-of-the-box options in the U.S. Mountain West that go beyond the slopes and into somewhat uncharted territory.
Salomon Center – Ogden, Utah
Located in downtown Ogden, Salomon Center provides indoor, year-round options that groups can pair with outdoor fun in the Wasatch Mountain Range. The sports and entertainment complex includes an simulated free fall (iFly Utah Indoor Skydiving), indoor surfing (Flowrider Utah) and indoor rock climbing (iRock Utah). Toss in a 55,000-square-foot Gold’s Gym, 32 bowling lanes, billiards, arcades, bumper cars and restaurants, and you have options for all ages and appetites for adventure.
Get attendees’ adrenaline and blood moving before or after a meeting in a conference room that holds up to 50 and a smaller room that accommodates 25. Plus, there is space throughout the facility where banquets and other gatherings can be held, and it’s only two blocks away from the Ogden Eccles Conference Center.
HP Branded Accessories & Displays visited the Salomon Center with a group of 20 that dined at Costa Vida and experienced iRock, Flowrider and iFly. “The event center was excellent because it offered something that people had never done before but were comfortable to at least try,” says Charles Thomas, a specialist for the company. “We wanted something out-of-the-ordinary to really motivate our teams. Salomon Center offered us three amazing adventures in one space; we didn’t have to drive all over town, worry about parking or waste time waiting for latecomers.”
He adds, “I received several five-star comments from the teams; everyone had a big smile on their face and our employees are now that much closer as a team and as friends. I will be back again in the next six months to do this again.”
Utah Olympic Park – Park City, Utah
Built for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the 400-acre Utah Olympic Park near Park City also offers year-round entertainment and a wide variety of team-building options. Groups can participate in a sports camp or watch athletes train for the 2018 Winter Olympics, and in the summer check out the alpine slide, the world’s steepest zip line (along with the tamer Freestyle Zipline), Discovery Adventure Course, hiking trails and Flying Ace All-Star show.
Some of the most exciting options are ripping down the entire length of the park’s bobsled run with a professional pilot, tubing down the landing hill of the K64 and K90 Nordic ski jumps, and taking on the Canyon Course. On the milder side, an hour-long guided tour provides insights about each competition and training site, 2002 Olympic history and more.
The three-story Quinney Welcome Center offers terrific views of the park and features the Alf Engen Ski Museum, 2002 Olympic Museum and most of the park’s meeting and event space. The museums are available for interactive receptions (even a virtual ski experience) and there is a theater, conference room, and patio and pavilion providing stellar vistas for outdoor gatherings. The Men’s and Women’s Start Houses also provide levity and spectacular views for receptions, dinners and celebrations.
Squaw Valley Mountain Resort – Olympic Valley, California
At Squaw Valley Mountain Resort in Olympic Valley, groups can test their skills on blades or wheels at 8,200 feet on the Olympic Ice Pavilion, which transitions into the High Camp Roller Rink in the summer. Equipment is available to rent and there is a cost to ride the Aerial Tram, but overlooking the High Sierra Nevada mountain range and Lake Tahoe is totally free!
Crested Butte Nordic – Crested Butte, Colorado
Crested Butte Nordic grooms more than 50 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails, oversees the covered Big Mine Ice Arena, offers lessons and equipment rentals, and hosts yurt dinners accessible by skis and snowshoes. In the summer, Big Mine Ice Arena transforms into an event venue that has been used by Crested Butte Music Festival (CBMF) for symphony performances, kids music events and galas for 350 guests. “The sheer square footage of the venue gave CBMF the flexibility to use the venue as artistic programming and fundraising elements necessitated,” says Executive Director Crista Ryan.
“Event production in Crested Butte and the surrounding area is always a lesson in imagination and flexibility with producers constantly reimagining new uses for existing spaces. The existing infrastructure and venues actually push local producers to think creatively and out of the box,” she adds. “It was personally rewarding to see a local venue my child plays hockey in repurposed with a full symphony orchestra and aerial ribbon dancers suspended from the metal beams.”
Aspen Recreation Center – Aspen, Colorado
Just over the mountain, Aspen Recreation Center offers an indoor climbing tower, swimming pool, and yoga/fitness, cardio and weight rooms. Outdoors there are tennis and pickleball courts and two outdoor fields used for baseball, football, rugby, soccer, softball and ultimate Frisbee. Also, the Rotary Pavilion has seating for 50 and panoramic views of the Maroon Creek Valley.
Corporate groups have rented out various sections of “The ARC,” including one that hosted a casino theme night.
Whitefish Bike Retreat – Whitefish, Montana
When moving to Whitefish, Cricket Butler brought her passion for cycling and her vision to create Whitefish Bike Retreat, a place where cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts can gather, stay overnight and find the information and support needed to enjoy amazing Montana experiences.
“I’ve had local businesses, clubs and groups use our property to hold year-end, strategy planning and board meetings, health and nutrition retreats or courses, and search and rescue training classes,” Butler says. “Working in an environment that is nontraditional, where people can get outdoors and re-energize makes for the perfect corporate destination.”
The property can host race events, camps and product launches and offers immediate access to trails for running and biking. There is ample indoor space and an outdoor patio for gatherings, a bunkhouse that sleeps up to 17 in six rooms, and eight campsites for those who enjoy sleeping in the woods. A skills area and pump track for biking, disc golf, and bike and stand up paddle board rentals are available onsite, along with a shuttle. When winter descends, the retreat offers fat biking on groomed trails.
Mountain sports facilities aren’t just about getting exercise, they provide great venues to gather, a break from meetings, and team-building possibilities that climb, pedal and fly way beyond the norm.