Heigh-Ho Colorado

By Lain Ehmann

Vail, Aspen, Boulder, Telluride, Breckenridge–the very names bring to mind snow-clad slopes, towering pines and crystal-blue skies. It’s understandable that Colorado is known around the world for its first-rate ski resorts. But Colorado isn’t just a skier’s paradise; it’s a prime destination for business meetings regardless of the season. Because of the trend of combining business with pleasure – either during the meeting, or by tacking on a few days before or after – Colorado is an appealing destination. Here’s what you need to know to plan your next meeting:

Accessibility. With over 700 flights arriving daily at Denver International Airport and hundreds more landing at Colorado Springs Airport, Vail/Eagle County Airport and Aspen Airport, wherever you’re headed in the state, you’ll be able to get there easily.

Bigger and better. Denver recently completed a $300 million expansion of the Colorado Convention Center that doubled its size. With almost 800,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space, it’s now adaptable for groups from 35 to 10,000. And in Colorado Springs – home of the U.S. Olympic Training Center – the World Arena can accommodate up to 150 people for cocktails at the Penrose Club, or thousands on the floor itself. There’s also meeting space in Vail, Aspen, and at a host of well-known properties in Beaver Creek, Steamboat Springs, or any of the other resort towns.

Year-round recreation. Make sure to build in plenty of downtime for your attendees to enjoy Colorado’s 300 annual days of sunshine. Whether you’re in a mountain resort town or on the state’s western slope, you can mountain bike, visit top-notch wineries, enjoy rafting, fly-fishing, or golfing – or, of course, ski if the season is right.

Memorable ambience. The Old West comes alive in the western towns of Greeley (check out Independence Stampede in July) and Estes Park (get “duded up” on one of the area’s guest ranches – perfect for team-building or for a unique incentive trip). But don’t think that "mountains" has to mean "western" or "skiing." Colorado offers everything from European elegance to rustic cabins.

Variety. Want to stay close to the airport but don’t want to end up at an impersonal convention or conference center? Then try one of Denver’s other venues: The Art Museum is opening a new wing, the Denver Auditorium Theater is undergoing a $75 million restoration, and the Denver Zoo is also being transformed to the tune of $124 million. You’re sure to find something that will please your crowd in the Mile-High City.

For more information, please click on www.destinationcolorado.com or www.denverconvention.com.