Mountain destinations infuse meetings with the energy that comes from high-peaks and fresh air and throughout the beautiful landscapes of Montana, Colorado, Utah, northern Arizona, and New Mexico, meeting professionals will also find the facilities and amenities they need for a perfectly executed event.

Conventions in Denver have been booming since the Colorado Convention Center expansion opened in 2006, and the city got a further boost when the Democratic National Convention set up shop at the center and the Pepsi Center Arena in August.

Up in the Rocky Mountains, the resorts of Aspen, Vail, and Beaver Creek, which began strictly as high-end leisure destinations, have been adding year-round conference opportunities. Vail's Donovan Pavilion is a relatively new venue able to accommodate groups of 150 to 200 inside. The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, a Vail performing arts venue, is a popular outdoor option that has recently had a $9 million renovation.

Colorado has more mountain resorts than most states, but its neighbors are no slouches. Forty minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport, Utah's Wasatch Range holds Park City and a wealth of group accommodations and meetings spaces.

In Northern Arizona, Flagstaff is perched 6,950 feet above sea level, home to the Northern Arizona University main campus surrounded by what's reputed to be the world's largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest. The NAU campus has a multitude of group meeting spaces, including the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome, a 16,230-seat multipurpose arena with 97,000 square feet of trade show and conference space.

Way up north in Montana, the mighty Yellowstone Park, Glacier National Park, and Big Sky make up an outdoor paradise for groups.

In the Big Sky area, 320 Guest Ranch, Lone Mountain Ranch, and Big EZ Lodge are popular for executive retreats and small groups. Summertime activities include hiking, mountain biking, and trout fishing. In winter, there are opportunities for skiing, dog-sledding, snowshoeing, winter fly-fishing, and snowmobile rides through Yellowstone.

Facilities Update

Colorado

  • Viceroy Snowmass, a 236-room hotel set within the new $1 billion Snowmass Base Village development, will include a 7,000-square-foot spa and conference space. Opening is set for December 2009.

  • The 41-room Osprey at Beaver Creek (formerly the Inn at Beaver Creek) is undergoing a $7 million renovation and will be relaunched as RockResorts' newest addition in time for the 2008-2009 ski season.

  • The 69-room La Quinta Inn & Suites in Loveland opened in April. The hotel includes a 100-seat dining room. Another 350 guests can be accommodated banquet-style in the event center.

  • The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa opens this fall at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain with 247 guest rooms and five meeting spaces.

  • The 128-room Fairmont Vail is slated to open in 2011 with 73 Fairmont Residences. It includes dining outlets, a Willow Stream spa, and 9,500 square feet of function space.

  • Vail Cascade Resort & Spa's $30 million renovation will include new 4,000-square-foot executive conference area for a total of nearly 40,000 square feet of meeting options.

  • The Curtis opened in April in Denver's Theatre District. The 336-room property offers in-room board game menus and 22,000 square feet of meeting space known as The Playground.

  • Red Lion Hotels has acquired the 478-room Radisson Hotel Denver Southeast, with 25,000 square feet of meeting space. Red Lion will spend $8 million on renovations.

  • The first phase of the Adam's Mark rebranding as the Sheraton Denver took place in April on the 16th Street Mall. The hotel is the largest in Colorado with 1,225 rooms and 133,000 square feet of meeting space. Completion is set for 2009.

  • A $350 million Four Seasons project is being developed in Denver. It will include 230 hotel rooms and 102 condos when completed in 2009.

  • The new Ritz-Carlton hotel opened in Denver in January with 202 rooms and meeting space.

  • A $200 million, 500-room Westin luxury hotel will rise next to Denver International Airport's main terminal building. Included will be nearly 26,000 square feet of meeting and conference space.

Construction is to begin this year.

New Mexico

  • The new 72,000-square-foot Santa Fe Convention Center opened in September with 40,000 square feet of event space. It's within walking distance of 1,500 guest rooms.

  • The recently opened La Quinta Inn & Suites Hobbs offers a business center with free high-speed Internet access, a heated indoor pool and spa, a fitness center, and one meeting room.

  • Andaluz, formerly the historic La Posada de Albuquerque Hotel, is on track to reopen in late 2008, following a $30 million renovation. The hotel is located one block from the Albuquerque Convention Center and offers 7,300 square feet of meeting and outdoor patio space for groups of up to 150.

Arizona

  • The Phoenix Convention Center is undergoing a $600 million expansion to be complete in late 2008. It will offer nearly 900,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space.

  • The High Country Conference Center in Flagstaff opened in March 2008 and offers more than 25,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. A 158-room Drury Inn and Suites is adjacent to the center.

  • The new, 31-story Sheraton Phoenix Downtown opened in October one block away from the Phoenix Convention Center. The property is the first new hotel to be built in Phoenix since 1976. It features 80,000 square feet of meeting space and 1,000 guest rooms.

  • The Omni Tucson National Golf Resort & Spa will complete a $57 million renovation and expansion in late 2008. When complete, it will have 279 rooms and 22,000 square feet of indoor meeting space.

  • In Tucson, the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort added 10,000 square feet of meeting space last January for a new total of 47,000 square feet.

Utah

  • In December 2007, Sky Lodge, Park City's first five-star boutique hotel with meeting space opened at 201 Heber Avenue.

  • Newpark Hotel & Condos opened last spring. The property features more than 6,000 square feet of conference and banquet facilities in the Newpark Town Center, adjacent to the 1,100-acre Swaner Nature Reserve.

  • Silver Star at Deer Valley, a St. Regis Resort, is slated to open in winter 2009.

  • Waldorf=Astoria's 197-room Dakota Mountain Lodge is scheduled to open this coming spring at the Canyons Resort, with an addition already under construction.

  • The Park City Marriott completed a $5 million renovation to all 191 guest rooms in 2007. The lobby, ballroom, and meeting space were also renovated at that time. The hotel features 10,000 square feet of event space and eight meeting rooms.

Montana

  • The Red Lion Hotel Kalispell completed renovations to its public spaces, 132 guest rooms, and 10,000 square feet of meeting space in June 2006. At that time, an additional 38 guest rooms were also added.

  • The 289-room Crowne Plaza in Billings, a former Sheraton, recently completed a renovation that included a redesigned lobby, a new lobby bar called Montana's and a new 16,000-square-foot conference center.

  • The The Lodge at Big Sky (formerly The Mountain Inn) offers 90 suites, indoor and outdoor jacuzzis, a business center, indoor swimming pool, and three meeting rooms for up to 200 people.

Trip Tips

  • Don't bother with buses and vans to see Denver's downtown. The buses on the mile-long 16th Street Mall are free public transportation and run every few minutes.

  • Frontier Airlines, a staple of DIA Colorado, launched service to and from its hub to Jackson Hole, Wyo., in May. Frontier's new Jackson Hole service will include three daily nonstop flights to and from the Denver hub.

  • As the sun goes down, give your group an awesome view of the Rocky Mountains and Denver by taking them to the Hyatt's 27th-floor Peaks Lounge, where floor-to-ceiling expanses of glass look out over the Rockies and the city. To take along a guide, call the CVB at (303) 892-1112.

Ask the CVB

Colorado

Aspen Chamber Resort Association
(970) 925-1940
www.aspen-groups.com

Experience Colorado Springs
(719) 635-7506
www.experiencecoloradosprings.com

Denver Metro CVB
(303) 892-1112
www.denver.org

Telluride and Mountain Village CVB
(888) 605-2578
www.tellurideconference.com

Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau
(800) 525-3875
www.visitvailvalley.com

New Mexico

Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau
(800) 284-2282
www.itsatrip.org

Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau
(800) 777-2489
http://santafe.org

Arizona

Flagstaff CVB
(800) 217-2367, ext. 7612
www.flagstaffarizona.org

Utah

Park City CVB
(435) 658-9607
www.parkcityinfo.com

Montana

Travel Montana
(800) 847-4868
www.visitmt.com

Big Sky Chamber
(406) 995-3000
www.bigskychamber.com

Glacier Country Regional Tourism Commission
(406) 837-6211
www.glaciermt.com

Special Venues

  • The Arrabelle at Vail Square opened in January with 36 luxury hotel rooms and 66 residences. It offers a conference and banquet facility with a ballroom that can be split into two rooms, four additional meeting rooms that range up to 1,200 square feet, and prefunction space. (970) 754-3600; http://arrabelle.rockresorts.com/info/grp.asp

  • In addition to a bevy of sports facilities, The Denver Athletic Club offers 150,000 square feet of elegant (and rentable) social amenities including a grand ballroom, meeting and conference rooms, sundeck, tavern and dining room, snack bar, reading room, billiards room, and business center. The Athletic Club is adjacent to the Denver Convention Center and the Denver Center for the Performing arts. (303) 534-1211; www.denverathleticclub.cc

  • For groups that want exclusivity, the Montana Island Lodge, Seeley Lake, Mont., gives you a whole island to yourself. The facility offers a log mansion with 11 guest rooms and suites, five fireplaces, a fitness center, hot tub, and a bonfire deck overlooking Salmon Lake. The conference center can accommodate 25 for a strategic meeting, and up to 125 for special events. (888) 773-2643; www.montanaislandlodge.com