If the members of your team deserve a gold medal for all their hard work, send them to Utah, where they can hit the powder in places where Olympic champions have tread. They can ski the mogul run and view the aerial jumping hill at Deer Valley, or ride the snowboard half-pipe where the U.S. snowboarding team swept the medals and ski the giant slalom course at Park City Mountain Resort. Or they might venture out to take a bobsled or luge ride at Utah Olympic Park in Park City. “The Olympic year is actually an ideal time to visit Utah,” says Park City Chamber Bureau spokesman Shawn Stinson (www.skiutah.com).
If you prefer something a bit slower than the giant slalom, Lake Tahoe (www.virtualtahoe.com) offers a variety of “soft” and “non-ski” adventures. Sierra-at-Tahoe has increased its snowshoe trails by 50 percent and recently opened five new access gates. Snowmobiling is also on Tahoe's winter activity smorgasbord. The Zephyr Cove Snowmobile Center, the largest snowmobile tour center in the West, offers daily guided “Tours to the Top of Tahoe,” emphasizing the spectacular scenery and safe riding as visitors make the ascent to high above Lake Tahoe.
I WAS THERE
What is needed for a great snowshoeing expedition? Snowshoes, of course. A little snow wouldn't hurt either.
But Valerie Buckley, sales and operations manager for Lake Tahoe Destinations, Carson City, Nev., knows that you can still have a snowshoe event even if you have to hike. “We have no control over Mother Nature,” she says.
So on a scavenger hunt for BroadBand Office Inc., Falls Church, Va., last winter, she substituted a winter hike to a mountain destination, where a Western dinner awaited, replete with bonfires and entertainment. “They went hiking, and we provided snow boots for those who needed them. They had a great time,” Buckley adds.
Lake Tahoe Destinations plans thousands of events for groups ranging from 10 to 2,000 people who, Buckley says, choose Lake Tahoe because of the various activities available year-round.
MY FAVORITE EVENT
Here's a meeting idea that's really up in the air — hold your breakout sessions a thousand feet off the ground. Gondola Breakout Sessions from the Telluride Conference Center offer exactly what the name implies. Your attendees can meet high above the slopes, enjoy the spectacular natural beauty of Colorado, and brainstorm about that new business plan.
“The awe-inspiring views of 14,000-foot peaks, the ski area, and the historic town of Telluride really take your breath away,” says John Burchmore, executive director of the TCC. “But maybe the most exciting thing about the gondola sessions is that groups are coming up with more creative ideas.”
Groups take the 12-minute gondola ride from the town of Mountain Village to Telluride and back, for a total session of about 30 minutes.
“The idea came about because we wanted to provide additional meeting space, but we had limited opportunities at our resort,” says Burchmore. “Then it was like a light bulb popped on over my head. The complimentary gondola that we own and operate seats eight. Running about 16 hours a day: presto, 32 new breakout rooms.”
TCC is working with Telluride Teamworks, a company that offers its own ropes course, developmental training and facilitation, and programming for those breakout sessions.
WHERE TO GO
“Awe-inspiring views of 14,000- foot peaks take your breath away.”
— John Burchmore, Telluride Conference Center
Choose Your Skis
There's more than one way to ski Tahoe. For those who aren't dedicated to the downhill, cross country, or Nordic, skiing offers its own set of challenges. Cross-country skiers can glide along groomed paths or blaze trails through rugged wilderness. Visit www.tahoeadventuresports.com for a list of places to plow the powder.
UTAH — Renovated
Deer Valley Resort, Park City, invested more than $8 million in improvements, including completion of Empire Canyon Lodge and a $1 million snowmaking pond. The lodge features the same comfortable mountain style as its sister lodges. The pond holds 15 million gallons of water and will provide snowmaking water for the resort's entire system.
Snowbasin, in Huntsville, has added three day lodges to the resort, all scheduled for completion this year. The two-story, 45,000-square-foot Olympic Day Lodge will feature full-service and fireside cafeteria dining for skiers. The lodge also has a U.S. Forestry Services Discovery Center. The other two lodges, John Paul Lodge and Needles Lodge, on the mountain with easy access to ski lifts, feature enormous fireplaces and breathtaking vistas. Snowbasin has plans to develop the mountain into a year-round resort. Post-Olympic plans include the development of an 18-hole golf course a few minutes from Trappers Loop.
The Canyons, Salt Lake City, has added another lift in the Dreamscape area. Skiers and snowboarders will have access to several new trails and more than 25 new acres. The resort also added a new learning area for beginning skiers.
Eagle Springs East is the latest lodging addition to Solitude Mountain Resort, Solitude. The Tuscany-style lodge features 46 condominiums, a heated swimming pool and picturesque waterfall, and two 18-person hot tubs. Its sister property, Eagle Springs West, is scheduled to break ground in April, adding 48 more condominiums and a general store and bakery.
Stein Erikson Lodge in Park City has completed a $30 million dollar expansion that includes a 20,000-square-foot conference facility, the Olympic. It can accommodate 425 guests and features a 4,000-square-foot ballroom, 1,600 square feet of function space, and a 6,000-square-foot outdoor plaza that can be used for ice skating in the winter. A new spa facility and ski locker room have also been completed.
NEVADA — New
South Lake Tahoe is in the midst of $1 billion in redevelopment projects, including the Heavenly Gondola, which provides direct access from the 5,000 hotel rooms to Heavenly Ski Resort. It will be California's longest ski gondola and will have the most uphill capacity of any gondola in the state.
Construction of the Marriott Timber Lodge and the Marriott Grand Residence Club at Lake Tahoe began in 2001. The Timber Lodge will offer 137 units. The Grand Residence Club will feature 195 units, meeting space, and a fitness facility. Neighboring these lodges will be the Heavenly Village Retail Collection, featuring upscale stores, galleries, restaurants, multiplex cinema, and an events venue. The site will also house the Regional Transit Center, which will serve the Lake Tahoe Basin with drop-off/pick-up points for airport shuttles, area hotels and ski resort shuttles.
Caesars Tahoe Resort, Lake Tahoe, recently refurbished 28 suites and remodeled four floors. VIP Services are getting a face-lift with a new VIP checkin and High Limit lounge. Additional meeting space has been added to the 16,000 square feet of convention space that already exists. In 2001, the spa was remodeled to include separate changing rooms for pool guests, a new 2,500-square-foot cardio room, a retail center, and a juice bar.
MONTANA — Expansion
Big Sky Resort will spend more than $400 million in the next decade for enhancements to the resort and Mountain Village. The plan includes the addition of more than 100 shops and restaurants, a European spa, additional conference facilities, and up to 1,800 acres of terrain expansion.
COLORADO — New
A new 1,100-room Hyatt scheduled to open in 2005 will be across the street from the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.
The Hotel Telluride opened its doors in September. It is a full-service luxury resort featuring 59 guest rooms; a gourmet restaurant; and a full-service spa with massage, facials, and reflexology treatments.
Construction is on schedule for a new Ritz-Carlton at Bachelor Gulch, between Beaver Creek and Arrowhead ski mountains. The $224 million Ritz will open this fall, with 54 high-end condos, 237-rooms, 12,000 square feet of meeting space, and a 20,000-square-foot spa.
Last December, Silvertree Hotel and Wildwood Resort in Aspen's Snowmass Village completed a series of renovations, which included new furniture, carpet, and lighting in its guest rooms, as well as major upgrades to meeting space.
The “New” Antlers at Vail completed an $18 million renovation project in October 2001 that included the addition of 22 new two-bedroom units, two new four-bedroom condominiums, a new lobby, 2,500 square feet of new conference space, and new workout facilities.
The Vail Mountain Lodge, formerly known as the Vail Athletic Club, has completed upgrades to all its rooms. It also added two five-bedroom penthouse units in December. The $12 million in improvements at the resort also includes a renovation and expansion of the 25,000-square-foot athletic club.
The Vail Marriott Mountain Resort recently completed a $10 million renovation, including a new lobby, dining room, a fitness center and spa, and an expansion to the on-site ski shop. In addition, the Marriott reconstructed 117 guest rooms in its west wing and will renovate its east wing this summer.
Scheduled for completion in 2004, the Colorado Convention Center expansion will double in size, adding 300,000 square feet of exhibition space, 35,000 square feet of meeting space, and a 5,000-seat auditorium.
CONTACT THE CVB
Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority
(800) 288-2463 • Fax: (530) 544-2386
North Lake Tahoe Resort Association
(888) 434-1262 • Fax: (530) 581-8774
Aspen Chamber Resort Association
(800) 262-7736 • Fax: (970) 925-9008
Vail Valley Tourism & Convention Bureau
(800) 525-3875 • Fax: (970) 476-6008
(800) 548-3390 • Fax: (406) 444-1800
Salt Lake City CVB
(800) 825-2822 • Fax: (801) 355-9323
Park City CVB
(800) 453-1360 • Fax: (435) 649-4132