Colorado Meetings + Events Summer 2024

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THE BIG SHOW Events take center stage at Colorado theaters A COLORFUL TAPESTRY Ed Blair built success on unusual steppingstones STELLAR EVENTS Deliver glorious gatherings for big occasions + MEETINGSMAGS.COM // SUMMER 2024 SATISFYING THE SOUL IMPECCABLE COLORADO TICKS ALL THE BOXES FOR PLANNERS
MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 2

GRAND ENOUGH FOR YOUR

Meetings and events take on a special energy at The Broadmoor. Our magnificent Colorado setting will inspire your people. Our world-class golf, spa, dining and more will refresh them. The unique venues and activities of our Broadmoor Wilderness Experience properties will challenge them and change their perspectives. With the addition of Bartolin Hall, our over 315,000 square feet of meeting space, is flexible enough to meet your most demanding requirements. And amidst it all, The Broadmoor’s legendary tradition of quality and service will ensure your event is a success. Contact us today and start planning your meeting now at broadmoor.com.

MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO
855.696.5804 BROADMOOR.COM 1 LAKE AVENUE, COLORADO SPRINGS, CO 80906
BEST PEOPLE AND THEIR BIGGEST
IDEAS.

Centennial State venues offer first-class service and amenities— with a Western touch

6 Meeting Notes

Take your next meeting from drab to fab with the help of these products, places, and inspiring ideas

10 Venue Report

From modern to historic, theaters are top-notch venues

13 Event Profile

These three events planned by Colorado DMCs stand out as superb

20 Industry Update

Discover the latest industry updates through our Colorado news

26 Snapshots

The industry descends on Denver for the 24th annual MIC Educational Conference & Trade Show

28 People Profile Sage Hospitality Group’s

Ed Blair has an unconventional career path

2 CO M+E » SUMMER 2024 PHOTOS (FROM ABOVE) The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Vail Valley; Visit Denver/TruBlu Images 16 Feature // Impeccable
Colorado
Contents SUMMER 2024 In
Issue // 4 Editor’s Note
Every
THE BIG SHOW Events take center stage at A COLORFUL TAPESTRY Ed Blair built success on unusual steppingstones STELLAR EVENTS Delivering glorious gatherings in the foothills + SATISFYING THE SOUL THE BOXES FOR PLANNERS On the Cover The Orangery greenhouse at Denver Botanic Gardens PHOTO COURTESY SCOTT DRESSEL-MARTIN
10 Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver 16 The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Vail Valley

CENTRE’D AROUND YOU.

Make an impact with your next event at Boise Centre. Our versatile meeting and event spaces, modern amenities and expert event planning team is at your service to ensure an unforgettable event experience. Located in the middle of the city’s energetic, walkable downtown, Boise Centre is surrounded by local breweries, restaurants, shops, hotels and is minutes from outdoor adventures.

• Convenient downtown location

• Seven minutes from the airport and numerous direct flights

• Surrounded by restaurants, breweries and nightlife

• Over 1,300 hotel rooms within walking distance

• Nearby outdoor activities include hiking, rafting, biking and more

BoiseCentre.com

MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 3 The Colorado Experience of a Lifetime 4th generation, secluded, magnificent, 1400-acre working cattle ranch in the foothills of Pikes Peak, overlooking Colorado Springs 719-598-4000 Unforgettable events from 20-2000 www.flyingw.com

The Charm of History

» MY INTEREST IN historic buildings began after I wrapped up a master’s degree and began working as the executive director of a local downtown revitalization organization. It used the Main Street Approach developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street America program. I went on to serve as a consultant for the state Main Street programs in Colorado and Iowa for several years.

Projects that involve thoughtfully restoring significant buildings still capture my attention, which led to me doing a hardhat tour of Denver Union Station in 2013. The station—which opened in 1881 and shut down for reconstruction in 2012—was totally gutted, had a few sample guest rooms ready to showcase for the station’s newly built hotel, The Crawford Hotel, and was on a renewed path to greatness. The revitalized Denver Union Station reopened in July 2014 to great fanfare and has become a transportation hub, venue for meetings and events, and place to mix and mingle with its Great Hall, 10 restaurants, and three retail shops.

Today, 30,000 people and more than 70 Regional Transportation District trains that connect to Denver International Airport—and elsewhere—pass through the station every day. It’s also the place to catch other light-rail trains, Amtrak, and Bustang intercity shuttles that travel all over the state. With this kind of traffic, the need for a refresh is no surprise.

I had the good fortune to interview Ed Blair for this issue, a 30-year hospitality veteran who is part of the team overseeing the project; he serves as the Denver Union Station area general manager for Sage Hospitality, a role that includes The Crawford Hotel and The Oxford Hotel. Don’t miss Blair’s fascinating story on the last page of this magazine.

While quite a few historic train stations around the country have been fully converted into hotels, there aren’t many that are multipurpose. Like Denver, both Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri, have a hotel within a train station. I can’t wait to see the new iteration of Denver Union Station when its latest renovation project—refreshing on-site hotel rooms, The Great Hall, and event spaces— wraps up this July.

BETH

PRESIDENT TAMMY GALVIN

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER – NATIONAL SALES JENNIFER MAX 952-200-4878 | JMAX@GREENSPRING.COM

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR ALESHA TAYLOR

GROUP EDITOR KATELYN BLOOMQUIST

SENIOR EDITOR TODD R. BERGER

EDITOR BETH BUEHLER

MANAGING EDITOR AMANDA CHRISTENSEN

ASSOCIATE EDITOR LINDEN M. BAYLISS

EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD

Tara Ames, Spruce Mountain Events | Adam Douglas, Peak Beverage | Ally Fredeen, Stanley Marketplace | Kim Hall-Barry, Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel | Brady Johnson, C Lazy U Ranch | Chris Koch, Occasions Catering | Tori Rosenblatt, Bear Aesthetics | Todd Seymour, Wellshire Inn | Nicole Steed, Topeka LLC | Terri Taylor, Natera Inc. | Marsha Temple, Colorado Automobile Dealers Association

CREATIVE DIRECTOR TED ROSSITER

ART DIRECTORS MICAH EDEL, CAROLINE ROYCE

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR DEIDRA ANDERSON

SENIOR ADVERTISING COORDINATOR TONY WAGNER

ADVERTISING COORDINATORS

SYDNEY KELL, ELLIANNA RADOVICH

SALES + MARKETING SPECIALIST TAUSHA MARTINSON-BRIGHT

DIRECTOR OF EVENTS + MARKETING MEGHAN GESS

EVENT + OFFICE MANAGER RICK KRUEGER

MARKETING + EVENTS COORDINATOR JORDYN TAYLOE

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS OPERATIONS KATHIE GORECKI

ACCOUNTING ASSOCIATE AUSTIN SCHMELZLE

AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR GERI WILSON

AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT MANAGER CINDY FISH

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Colorado Meetings + Events is published quarterly. © 2024 Greenspring Media. All rights reserved. PRINTED IN THE

4 CO M+E » SUMMER 2024 EDITO R ’S NOTE
PHOTO Beth Buehler
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WINTER PARK RESORT

970-726-1567 | winterparkresort.com

Winter Park Resort is the ideal basecamp for any group adventure. As Colorado’s longest continually operated ski resort with over 3,000 acres of award-winning terrain, Winter Park is a slope-lover’s dream. There are activities for everyone—whether it’s stepping into an uncharted wonderland to ski and explore in winter or sightseeing on wheels, by foot, or across streams, peaks, and alpine meadows in the summer. Meeting planners have a multitude of lodging options to choose from, including The Vintage Hotel, Parry Peak Lofts, Zephyr Mountain Lodge—located in the base village—and more. After a day of staying active, keep attendees energized at one of the several nearby dining establishments, featuring crave-worthy entrees at Derailer and regional American fare at The Lodge at Sunspot. Regardless of the season, Winter Park is the mountain getaway your group needs for fresh mountain air, majestic views, and ear-to-ear grins that will leave each attendee wanting to come back again and again.

Escape the ordinary and step into a world of winter wonder with the ultimate ski adventure aboard the Ski Train to Winter Park Resort. Get ready to experience a day filled with excitement, breathtaking views, and unparalleled skiing or snowboarding on the slopes of Colorado’s premier winter destination.

MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 5 BOOK WITH US TODAY 970.726.5514 | winterparkresort.com | groups@winterparkresort.com Venture Out with a Group Winter Park Resort has the facilities to suit your needs with space for an intimate meeting with 20 attendees or throwing an event for 500 guests. Choose from restaurant spaces, conference rooms, or multi-level venues.
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Carbon Management 101

Reducing the carbon footprint of your event is within reach by implementing a few simple strategies

Carbon management is a complex field of interlocking strategies that involves evaluating how different aspects of event production add up to a carbon footprint. By increasing literacy in all areas of sustainability, planners can make more responsible decisions for events.

Instead of being overwhelmed by the vast scope of what it takes to reach net zero carbon, start by looking at various areas of an event to see where your organization can make more responsible decisions. To help make things easier, the following are four areas of event production broken down to show how each decision contributes to the greater whole.

FOOD CONSIDERATIONS

When thinking about catering for an event, there are many environmental impacts that can be reduced. Consider reducing the amount of product that requires refrigeration, and ensure equipment used for cooling is efficient and working its best. Deforestation is a major factor in the carbon footprint of food, especially for animal products. Forests, jungles, and marine habitats like mangrove wetlands are cleared to create the pastures and farms where livestock roam—consider switching over to a plant-based menu to help mitigate this impact. In addition, partnering with local donation organizations like Denver’s We Don’t Waste can ensure that any leftovers are put to good use.

WASTE MANAGEMENT

Municipal solid waste (garbage) being dumped into landfills is the highest carbon-emitting form of disposal by a large margin. Landfills release methane as the garbage decomposes, which traps more heat from the sun than carbon dioxide, increasing global warming. For comparison, recycling has only about 4.5% of the impact of putting items in the landfill, and compost produces about half as much carbon impact as recycling. Having both recycling and compost containers available near the regular garbage bins is an easy way to ensure that minimal waste is sent to the landfill

while optimizing opportunities for composting and recycling. The easier it is for attendees to sort their waste, the more likely they are to do it.

SIGNAGE PROCUREMENT

If signage is dated or specially branded, opt for digital instead of printed to avoid adding to the event’s carbon footprint through waste disposal after just one use. For printed signage, Falconboard is the best bet because it’s not manufactured with petroleum-based products like vinyl and is easily recyclable. Chemicals, emissions from manufacturing, and greenhouse gases dispersed in landfills make vinyl banners and foamboard signage the poorest choices.

OFFSETS

Let’s be clear: reduction first. However, offsets for emissions are a necessary part of carbon management. To make responsible decisions about investing in offsets, judicious criteria should be considered in consultation with an expert. Visit Denver partners with Denver-based The Park People for offset projects in the form of planting shade-providing trees. By investing in local improvements, Visit Denver directly benefits the community while accounting for its impacts. When pursued with consistency, even incremental changes can make a difference in building an events industry committed to lowering its carbon footprint.

hcsustainability.com

6 CO M+E » SUMMER 2024 MEETING NOTES Products, Places & Inspiring Ideas
Lindsay in Crested Butte.
PHOTOS (FROM LEFT) Lindsay Arell, Adobe/pressmaster, Scott Nagely
Plant-based food is a sustainable choice for event fare.

ITALIAN GROCERY TO HOST EVENTS

» A 1912 BRICK BUILDING that housed John Varone’s Italian grocery store and his family’s residence on the second floor has been repurposed into an elegant function space, Varone Market Venue, which opened last year. Located in Denver’s thriving Lower Highland neighborhood, the venue marries the timeless charm of its historic roots with contemporary sophistication.

Structural enhancements, brick restoration, plumbing upgrades, and the addition of skylights have breathed new life into the location. Modern conveniences—such as renovated bathrooms, a well-equipped catering kitchen, a repurposed historic bar, state-of-theart lighting and sound systems, and roll-up glass doors leading to a patio— have been added. The adjacent Carriage House, once the home of the Varone family’s horses and carriages, retains echoes of its equestrian history and has been transformed into a versatile space for breakout sessions, intimate gatherings, and bridal suites.

varonemarket.com

MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 7
Hold your next meeting or event in beautiful Southwest Colorado! For more information contact 970.563.1759 14324 HWY 172 North, Ignacio, CO 81137 | skyutecasino.com SUCR- Catering - CO Meeting + Events Ad_4.625x10.indd 1 1/24/2023 12:34:39 PM
Varone Market Venue in Denver

MEETING

LET’S PLAN AN UNFORGETTABLE EVENT

If you’re bringing people together, bring them to Greeley. With venues of all sizes, top-notch suppliers and a welcoming and eclectic town, there’s no better place to gather.

What’s New in Glenwood Springs?

Glenwood Springs is the gateway to Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley, which also includes the communities of Carbondale, Basalt, Snowmass Village, and Aspen. Groups now have even more reasons to choose this resort town as a meetings and events destination with all sorts of new happenings.

Hotel Denver, a hotel that has welcomed guests since 1915, has undergone a name change to Hotel Maxwell Anderson and is wrapping up a renovation that includes the guest rooms, lobby, and expanded access to Glenwood Canyon Brewpub. Twenty additional guest rooms have replaced the property’s meeting and event space, but the hotel frequently partners with Morgridge Commons Glenwood Springs Conference Center, which is within easy walking distance and has several meeting space options.

Another longtime property, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort—opened in 1888 on the site of the Yampah Spring—is adding five geothermal hot spring pools on the east end of its current large pool area. The expanded area is slated to open early this summer. The resort has a 107room lodge with two conference rooms available for groups.

Bair Ranch has introduced cowboy cookouts this year, an outdoor dining experience set against the backdrop of Glenwood Canyon that also includes live music, lasso roping, line dancing, and horseshoes. Horseback rides, ATV tours, and clay shooting can be booked for predinner entertainment.

visitglenwood.com

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PHOTOS (FROM LEFT) Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, Studio JK Photography
Grand Pool at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort
NOTES
Places & Inspiring Ideas
Products,
VISIT MYGREELEY.COM OR EMAIL MYGREELEY @GREELEYGOV.COM FOR MORE INFO.

A REFRESHING PLACE FOR EVENTS

COLLABORATE WITH THE PLANNING DIVA

» JENNY MAXWELL , the planner behind new web-based software and app Planning Diva, is setting out to disrupt the trillion-dollar events industry by making the process an interactive, real-time experience for industry professionals. Her tenure coordinating and managing events as owner of Occasionally Fabulous Events in Denver inspired her to launch the allin-one event-planning software. The platform offers users a cohesive, startto-finish process for planners, venues, and vendors through tools such as vendor chat threads, venue layout simulation, and shared design tools.

From tracking line items and task lists to contract management and idea sharing, Planning Diva promises to save time, reduce stress, and build better relationships among planners, clients, caterers, designers, and more. An enterprise version of Planning Diva that targets eventplanning teams coordinating multiday events is set to launch in July.

planningdiva.com

Indoor and outdoor spaces available, surrounded by gardens and views of the foothills. 720-865-4339 | botanicgardens.org chatfieldrentals@botanicgardens.org

For groups of 10 up to 1,500

Host your next event in the newly renovated Lanny & Sharon Martin Building, brand new Anna & John J. Sie Welcome Center, or iconic Hamilton Building. Enjoy world-class art, stunning architecture, and state-of-the-art event space in the heart of Denver.

Booking an event at the Denver Art Museum helps to support our mission.

Book your event today!

720-913-0148

eventinfo@denverartmuseum.org For more information, visit denverartmuseum.org/event-rental

MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 9
Planning Diva CEO Jenny Maxwell and Chief Technology Officer Josh Walker
Photo by Andy Colwell Photo by Steve Peterson Photo by All Digital Photo & Video
MEETINGS
RECEPTIONS
GALAS
CEREMONIES
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| AWARD
architecture. Modern elegance. Inspiring spaces.
Iconic
TODAY AND EXPERIENCE All Stars: American
The Phillips Collection
BOOK YOUR HOLIDAY EVENT
Artists from
Photo by Andy Colwell

Beyond Hollywood

From historic beauties to modern marvels, theaters are versatile venues

» SEVERAL OF Colorado’s early theaters started out hosting vaudeville shows and later became movie houses and concert venues, while others were built more recently as part of larger community arts centers. Regardless of origin, theaters offer memorable options for groups and often have bonus spaces like lobbies, classrooms, patios, and rooftops.

Denver Performing Arts Complex (DPAC), one of the largest performing arts centers in the country, is a massive four-block, 12-acre site in the heart of downtown that is owned by the City and

County of Denver. Its largest venues— Boettcher Concert Hall, Buell Theatre, and Ellie Caulkins Opera House—are managed by Denver Arts & Venues.

The complex’s largest theatrical tenant, nonprofit Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA), produces and presents Broadway tours, cabaret, plays, and more. “As the exclusive users of some DPAC venues, we have the option to rent the following theaters out when not in use: Kilstrom, Jones, Singleton, Wolf, and Weeks Conservatory Theatre. These range in seating capacity from around

200 to 630 seats,” explains Suzanne Yoe, director of communications and content at the organization.

Colorado Meetings + Events also looked at theaters within other arts complexes around the state as well as historic beauties that are available for private rentals.

SPACIOUS ARTS CENTERS

Elsewhere in the Denver metropolitan area, Lone Tree Arts Center in Lone Tree was built in 2011 and has several spaces to host groups including Main Stage Theater, which is the largest and seats 480 people. The Event Hall has a glass wall that opens outside to the Terrace Theater, which holds up to 350.

In Parker, the Parker Arts, Culture & Events Center’s Mainstage Theater seats up to 534 and features the latest in sound, lighting, and rigging as well as a dance floor. The center also has auxiliary spaces

10 CO M+E » SUMMER 2024 VENUE R EPO R T Beyond Hollywood
PHOTOS (CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE) Visit Boulder, AEG Presents Rocky Mountains (2)

such as an event room, an art gallery, a patio, and smaller classrooms. Schoolhouse Theater at Mainstreet, a separate venue operated by Parker Arts, occupies a former schoolhouse that was built in 1915 and holds up to 200 attendees.

A beautiful option in the mountains is Steddy Theater at Center for the Arts Crested Butte, which was part of a LEEDcertified addition that opened in 2019. “The flexibility of the Steddy Theater was by design so that our community arts center would have the capability of accommodating many different types of events,” says Co-Executive Director Melissa Mason.

“We host over 135 large events [defined as 150 to 950-plus people] in our theater every year, and the various ways the theater can be configured directly allows for that,” she says. “In a flat-floor configuration, we can host a 250-person seated event like the center’s own gala or a 650-person general admission concert.”

HISTORIC THEATERS GALORE

From its beginnings as a silent movie theater in 1920 to its current role as a performing arts venue in Loveland, Rialto Theater still impresses. A historic renovation revitalized spectacular details such as the balcony, murals, and an original leaded-glass transom window in the lobby. Today, the City of Loveland owns Rialto Theater, which has 450 seats and hosts nationally touring acts, local performers, meetings, and events such as the annual Loveland Sweetheart Festival coordinated by Visit Loveland.

“The Rialto is the epicenter of the Sweetheart Festival and the absolute perfect venue for the Little Miss Valentine and Little Mr. Cupid contest as well as showcasing our nighttime headliner, Spinphony,” says Cindy Mackin, director of Visit Loveland. “Entering the theater lobby is like journeying back through time; the popcorn smell, period architecture, and comfy seating set the stage for a perfect evening.”

MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 11
Clockwise from left: Boulder Theater; AEG Presents Rocky Mountains’ Ogden Theatre in the Denver area; Denver’s Gothic Theatre

The Avalon Theatre in Grand Junction has a similar tale. Built in 1923, the entertainment venue had a storied run for many years. The City of Grand Junction took over the crumbling structure in 1996 and implemented a major renovation in 2014. The theater has 1,096 seats and is available for private events, along with the facility’s meeting space and rooftop terrace.

In Denver, Paramount Theatre opened in 1930. The interior remains an excellent example of zigzag art deco design that became popular during the Jazz Age. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 21,000-square-foot theater seats up to 1,865. Host a sit-down dinner on the stage, a keynote in the theater, a cocktail reception in the mezzanine lobby, or a small private event in the VIP Lounge.

Boulder-based Z2 Entertainment oversees Boulder Theater and Fox Theatre in Boulder and Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins. Boulder Theater, built in 1906, is especially suitable for events, whether a conference, concert, or movie screening for up to 1,000.

AEG Presents Rocky Mountains, the live entertainment division of Los Angelesbased AEG, manages three Denver theaters that are now concert and special event venues. Bluebird Theater, the oldest, opened in 1913 and first served as a vaudeville theater; it is now an intimate concert hall for up to 500. The circa-1921 Gothic Theatre has an even higher capacity with 1,050 seats. Built in 1918, Ogden Theatre is the largest of the trio—accommodating up to 1,600—and has hosted performers ranging from Harry Houdini to Jackson Browne to The Smashing Pumpkins.

“These theaters all feature a great stage as well as world-class sound and lighting systems offered as a part of the rental,” says Jennifer Robinson, director of special events at Denver venues for AEG Presents Rocky Mountains. “This saves significant budget allocation for production and really takes the event to the next level.”

Pepper’s Senior Dog Sanctuary in Denver hosted a Mutts & Models fundraiser at Ogden Theatre, which easily accommodated

a runway fashion show and silent and live auctions. Several sponsors of the ETHDenver 2024 cryptocurrency convention held daytime educational panels and an evening reception at Bluebird Theater.

“People associate theater venues with enjoyable outings and recall some of the best shows they have seen when they come into the space,” Robinson says. “The uniqueness makes the event very memorable, rather than a basic ballroom that could be in any city.”

aegpresents.com artscomplex.com

avalontheatregj.com

bluebirdtheater.net

crestedbuttearts.org

denvercenter.org

gothictheatre.com

lonetreeartscenter.org

ogdentheatre.com

paramountdenver.com

parkerarts.org

rialtotheatercenter.org

visitloveland.com

z2ent.com

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PHOTOS (FROM LEFT) Nolan Blunck, AEG Presents Rocky Mountains VENUE R EPO R T Beyond Hollywood Bluebird Theater in Denver; Left: Steddy Theater at Center for the Arts Crested Butte

Events That Excel

Colorado DMCs pull out all the stops for Coors, The North Face, and Luxury Ski Week

» AFTER SCALING BACK event spending over the past few years, companies are getting back in the game big-time and making sure attendees have something to talk about after dessert is served and the band plays its last tune.

American Express Global Business Travel’s 2024 Global Meetings and Events Forecast backs up this trend, confirming that overall meeting and event spend in North America is expected to be up 4.2% from last year. When respondents were asked how they would spend such a budget increase, the most common answer was improving the on-site experience at meetings and events.

Colorado Meetings + Events asked three Colorado-based destination management companies for examples of events that excelled over the past year, and they delivered their stellar standouts. Western and 1970s themes, superb decor, noteworthy venues, and memorable experiences were at the heart of these programs.

CHEERS TO 150 YEARS

Denver-based Imprint Events Group played a pivotal role in helping Coors Brewing Co. deliver a remarkable celebration of its 150th anniversary in Golden. There was one goal in mind: honor those who have supported the brewery throughout the years that is today known as Molson Coors. From the private Brooks & Dunn concert for its more than 2,000 employees as the sun dipped behind the Rocky Mountains to the festival-style event that was open to the public, Molson Coors wanted to say, “Thank you!”

Communication and coordination for an outdoor gathering that involved thousands of participants—including members of the Coors family and Gov. Jared Polis—demanded real-time adaptability and agility for the Imprint Events Group team.

“Executing the Coors 150th event posed a significant challenge due to the uncertainty of the expected turnout,” says Kiley Falcone, senior national account manager for Imprint. “With no accurate attendance estimates for this open-to-the-public corporate event, we faced several difficulties. This unpredictability made logistical planning, venue selection, resource allocation, and crowd control complex. It also affected catering and beverage services, requiring constant adjustments to meet demand without waste.”

A key strategy of the brewery’s celebration was capturing the essence of Molson Coors while exploring its history. Golden’s Main Street and Parfet Park were transformed into the

MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 13 PHOTO Sam Ferguson Photography EVENT PROFILE Events at Excel
Disco dance party at Copper Palace in Aspen during Luxury Ski Week
“We knew we wanted to create an eclectic and unparalleled experience for our guests, and there is no better place in Aspen for that than Copper Palace.”
–PATRICK GREER, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, RMC

festival location with a beer garden, and attendees could pan for gold, help create a mural, and play yard games that incorporated faces and figures from Coors’ past and present. An arch creatively fashioned from cowboy hats served as a gateway to the concert area.

DISCO DELIGHT

As they considered what to pack for Luxury Ski Week in Aspen last spring, the 130 meeting and travel planners and other attendees were instructed to bring 1970s attire for a final night party reminiscent of Studio 54, a legendary disco club in New York City. It was to their surprise when arriving at the 27,000-square-foot Copper Palace, the fantastical home of retired actress and singer Barbi Benton and real estate developer George Gradow. It was the perfect place for a groovy party organized by RMC, a Basalt-based DMC with offices around the U.S.

Upon arrival, attendees were greeted by an Elton John impersonator and glasses of refreshing bubbly before being led to an impressive indoor pool for over-the-water aerialist entertainment by Art of Air. The St. Regis Aspen Resort, organizer of Luxury Ski Week in partnership with RMC, served up beverages, passed appetizers, and had food stations set up throughout the night.

As the evening progressed, partygoers had the option of touring the home with docents before making their way to the in-home dance club decorated with larger-than-life, crystal-shaped statues. A hula hooper on roller skates clad in 1970s disco garb helped get the party started on the dance floor.

“In the planning stages, we knew we wanted to create an eclectic and unparalleled experience for our guests, and there is no better place in Aspen for that than Copper Palace,” says RMC Creative Director Patrick Greer. “Embracing this home’s distinct interior design and architecture added to the theme, and guests were ensured a unique and immersive experience.”

14 CO M+E » SUMMER 2024 PHOTOS (CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE LEFT) Sydney Brewer Photography, Jonathan
Photography
Phillips Photography, Sam Ferguson
EVENT PROFILE Events at Excel

WESTERN FLAIR

Operation Altitude, with offices in Vail and Denver, created the ultimate Western dinner event for The North Face’s 2024 sales kickoff meeting last fall. Held at The Old Elm, a charming farmstead near Boulder, 200 attendees from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada were treated to a perfect fall evening complete with a colorful Colorado sunset.

Team members were encouraged to wear flannel shirts and bandanas, and Operation Altitude and their partners transformed the farm into a Western fairground. Like most fairs, there were plenty of games to play like ax throwing, ring toss, and horseshoes, along with mechanical bull rides. A vintage Western-themed photo booth was stocked with props such as cowboy hats, toy horses, and lassos.

“We had friendly miniature donkeys—Lily and Duncan—greeting guests, and decor was a mix of rustic and upscale Western with colorful Adirondack chairs paired with blanket-covered hay bales,” describes Sarah Lawrason, senior program director for Operation Altitude. “There also were lots of lanterns and colorful fresh flowers, checkered napkins, and burlap runners.”

Culinary delights prepared by Catering by Design of Denver were served throughout the evening, beginning with caprese ice cream cones, ahi tuna tacos, roasted butternut squash, and stations featuring mini corn dogs and movie-style popcorn. A buffet dinner included classic Colorado fare like smoked meats, grilled portobello mushrooms, corn on the cob, mac and cheese, and ranch-style beans. No sweet tooth went unsatisfied with fried Oreos on a stick, cream-filled churros, hand pies, cotton candy and funnel cake stations, and s’mores by the bonfire complete with marshmallows branded with The North Face’s logo.

Live music wrapped up the event on a positive note. Lawrason says, “The upbeat music of Whitewater Ramble, a live bluegrass/ jam band with toe-tapping tunes and heartfelt vocals, prompted everyone to dance.”

coors.com imprintgroup.com thenorthface.com operationaltitude.com rmcdmc.com

MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 15
Clockwise from left: Private Brooks & Dunn show for attendees at Coors Brewing Co.’s 150th anniversary celebration; Western-themed party during The North Face’s sales kickoff event; Elton John impersonator at Aspen’s Luxury Ski Week
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C Lazy U Ranch; Below, from right: Rio Grande Club & Resort; The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Vail Valley

ELITE SERVICE, WESTERN FRIENDLINESS, AND STELLAR EXPERIENCES ARE THE STATE’S HALLMARKS

hen assembling all the moving parts of a meeting or event, planners frequently score big with standout venues, first-class customer service, and local experiences. Colorado excels at satisfying this checklist, doing so with its own unique style.

While it takes a whole team of suppliers to make a gathering successful, Colorado Meetings + Events elected to focus on several city and mountain venues from around the state that are truly impeccable. It’s not a comprehensive list, and of course Western Slope favorites like Gateway Canyons Resort in Gateway and Wine Country Inn in Palisade could easily be included, but insightful comments from the planners and suppliers interviewed helped turn on the ideas tap.

“From the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the vibrant culture of cities like Denver and Boulder, Colorado offers a perfect blend of adventure and sophistication,” says Joshua Riggs, associate director of private events and catering for Denver Botanic Gardens. “Attendees can indulge in outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and whitewater rafting, or explore the thriving culinary and arts scenes the state has to offer.”

Brady Johnson, director of sales and marketing for C Lazy U Ranch near Granby, adds, “Colorado is the best place to host an event because it has breathtaking scenery, amazing venues, easy access, and a wonderful, year-round appeal. There is never a bad day in the mountains of Colorado, and there is something to do in every season.”

FRONT RANGE STYLE

It seems appropriate to start off with The Broadmoor, recipient of Forbes Travel Guide’s Five Stars since 1960 and AAA’s Five Diamonds since 1976. Opened in 1918 and a standard-bearer for elite customer service ever since, the Colorado Springs property has 315,000 square feet of function space and numerous activities on its 5,000-acre campus. The options expand even more when including The Broadmoor’s Wilderness Experience portfolio that includes the nearby Cloud Camp and The Ranch at Emerald Valley, as well as Fly Fishing Camp located 75 miles to the west.

“One of my favorite properties to plan meetings in Colorado is The Broadmoor,” says Deb Brannon, owner of Altitude Events in Golden. “They have impeccable service and always go above and beyond to ensure the meeting is a success. I love the rich history of the property and how they incorporate quintessential Colorado through Camp

PHOTOS (CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE) C Lazy U Ranch, Great Divide Photography/Chris Wheeler, The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Vail Valley MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 17

Cloud, wilderness adventures, and the beautiful setting where the hotel resides.”

Also located in Colorado Springs, Flying Horse Resort & Club offers 11,000 square feet of indoor and 10,000 square feet of outdoor event space, well-appointed guest rooms, an athletic club and spa, and multiple dining options. “Planners speak highly about their attendees being able to play our two private, award-winning 18-hole championship golf courses. For attendees who may not be golf enthusiasts, our Tuscan-inspired athletic club and spa offers wellness experiences and activities suited for every guest,” says Marketing Manager Kendyl Berger.

“Colorado stands out for seamlessly combining memorable events with personal adventures,” Berger adds. “Whether you’re in search of Rocky Mountain escapades, serene wellness retreats, legendary golfing

experiences, or the buzz of city life in the evening following your event, Colorado has it all covered.”

Both Colorado Springs properties deliver city and mountain surroundings as does St Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder.

The hotel has more than 16,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space, including nine meeting rooms and four terrace and garden areas that can host 10 to 400 guests. The hotel has an on-site event planner to help ensure seamless execution of gatherings and offers a menu of a la carte group experiences such as brewery tours, guided hikes, and yoga.

“Meeting and event planners almost always mention the outdoor space with the views of the Flatirons and that the location within Boulder is very well received by their attendees,” says Director of Sales Valerie Knorr. “Guests will find themselves just

steps from popular dining and shopping at the outdoor, pedestrian-only Pearl Street Mall and miles of hiking and biking trails at nearby Boulder Creek and beyond.”

In Denver, there are many options with Denver Botanic Gardens and The RitzCarlton, Denver, among the standouts.

“Meeting and event planners often rave about the diverse array of features, amenities, and activities that Denver Botanic Gardens offers,” says Riggs. “From the 50-plus curated gardens and serene water features to a wide range of versatile outdoor and indoor spaces like the UMB Bank Amphitheater Tent to the Orangery or Mitchell Hall, there’s something special for every event. Attendees can also enjoy year-round activities including guided tours, educational workshops, and seasonal events like Blossoms of Light and art exhibitions.”

With over 24 acres of meticulously curated gardens, Denver Botanic Gardens has 18 different function spaces that can host intimate gatherings of 10 guests up to large-scale events for 1,500.

The Ritz-Carlton, Denver, has a convenient downtown location and blends timeless elegance and Western hospitality. Groups of up to 500 attendees can be hosted in the 13,000 square feet of indoor space, and a 2,000-square-foot urban terrace gives groups a chance to get outside.

Rocky Mountain Children’s Health Foundation has held its annual Kaleidoscope Gala at the property for more than a decade.

“As an event focused on elegance and philanthropy, I can’t imagine hosting it anywhere but The Ritz-Carlton, Denver,” says Director of Development Patti Kinnear.

“The venue sets the perfect stage for the evening, and the entire staff works in tandem with our team to ensure every guest is taken care of and the event is a success.”

MOUNTAIN MAGIC

Located along the Eagle River, The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Vail Valley, is a Silver LEED-certified property with more than 23,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space. New

PHOTOS (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) The Broadmoor, Denver Botanic Gardens/Scott Dressel-Martin, St Julien Hotel & Spa 18 CO M+E » SUMMER 2024

options include The Osprey and Talons suites with floor-to-ceiling windows and the ability to host up to 60 people each.

Real estate company Slifer Smith & Frampton has booked numerous meetings and retreats at the property. “Regardless of what last-minute changes we may have, the team seems to stay a step ahead of us and exceeds our expectations,” says Lisa Wilkes, corporate services specialist. “We recently enjoyed an all-day retreat in The Osprey Suite, which is a unique boutique-style conference space. The entire event was seamless, including both lunch and dinner served in the room. It was our own private oasis.”

Located at the base of Breckenridge’s Peak 9, Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center has accommodations that range from hotel rooms to three-bedroom condominiums and more than 40,000 square feet of meeting and event space spread across boardrooms, patios, and ballrooms. Beaver Run can host groups of up to 1,000 and is at the heart of every citywide conference held in town, like the annual conference hosted by the Colorado Association of School Executives.

“There are quite a few mountain meeting locations, but Beaver Run is one of the largest options that is truly located on the mountain for beautiful views and outdoor events, but also is still easily walkable to the vibrant town of Breckenridge,” says Carissa Hughes, director of events

and operations at the association. “It is the best of both worlds for finding the balance of mountain serenity, but also having access to many off-site dining and entertainment options.”

Rio Grande Club & Resort is a special place in a remote southern Colorado town. While South Fork is known for outdoor pursuits like hiking, trout fishing, and hunting, many are unaware that a top golf resort is located there as well. However, it’s the affordability and flexibility for custom events that keep groups coming back with the clubhouse and fishing lodge available for group bookings.

“The Rio Grande Club & Resort has been the venue of choice for Creede Repertory Theatre’s biennial gala for many years,” says Development Director Lori Heinrich. “From its beautiful views to its grand dining room, the resort provides the perfect atmosphere for an evening of exceptional dining and entertainment.

The staff always goes the extra mile in planning and execution to ensure that our gala is an evening to remember.”

The 8,500-acre C Lazy U Ranch is only two hours west of Denver but far enough away that groups feel like they are in a different world. “Meeting planners love the location and the horses,” says Johnson. “The ranch does a daily ‘jingle’ or ‘running’ of the 200 horses in and out of pasture, and this is one of the most beautiful events. It is an experiential retreat where you stop and smell the flowers, see the beauty, and experience the fun of the Rocky Mountain outdoors.”

With 38 guest cabins and 7,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, the circa-1919 ranch caters to smaller groups ranging from a 10-person executive retreat to a company buyout for 40 to 60 people.

“We rebook a significantly large number of guests and groups each year—well over 50%, which is unheard of in the industry,” Johnson says. “It is the amazing team at the ranch that shows up in our surveys time and time again and drives our return business. Genuine Western hospitality goes a long way in our world today, and that’s what we offer via using your name, a handshake, and a smile.”

beaverrun.com

botanicgardens.org

broadmoor.com

clazyu.com

flyinghorseresort.com

riograndeclubandresort.com

ritzcarlton.com

stjulien.com

westinriverfront.com

MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 19
Clockwise from left: The Ranch at Emerald Valley; Denver Botanic Gardens; The lobby at St Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder

PEOPLE NEWS

Ann Alba , a longtime leader of The Broadmoor’s hospitality team, has been promoted to vice president and general manager. She joined the Colorado Springs resort in 1987 as a banquet server. Today, she is second-in-command to President and CEO Jack Damioli. In her new role, Alba will oversee operations at the 106-year-old property and its Wilderness Experience portfolio featuring The Ranch at Emerald Valley, Cloud Camp, and Fly Fishing Camp.

Bree DiBernardo was promoted to director of sales from her prior role as senior sales manager at The Gant Aspen. She began her tenure at the property in 2020 and cultivated her skill set at The Westin Snowmass Resort (now Viewline Resort Snowmass, Autograph Collection) and Manor Vail Lodge in Colorado and The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, in McLean, Virginia.

Jennifer Gray is now a senior sales manager at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Vail Valley, after serving as senior national account director at The Sebastian–Vail. She was previously group sales manager for The Westin Snowmass Resort (now Viewline Resort Snowmass, Autograph Collection), The Westin Denver Downtown, and Ameristar Casino Resort Spa Black Hawk.

PEAK PERFORMERS APPLAUDED

» DESTINATION COLORADO MEETINGS has announced the recipients of its Peak Performer Awards for last year. The awards celebrate outstanding member contributions to the organization and the broader meetings and events industry.

The Broadmoor was named Company of the Year for supporting the organization’s events and marketing efforts, including the Customer Appreciation Event in Colorado Springs last September. The hotel also provided a board member, Chrissie Widhalm, its senior sales manager, who joined the Destination Colorado Meetings board this year. Dean Savoca, owner of Savoca Performance Group in Denver, was presented the Individual of the Year award. Serving on the board of directors since 2021, Savoca uses his expertise to spearhead organizational planning. destinationcolorado.com

George Prine has been hired as general manager of Populus, the country’s first carbon-positive hotel opening in Denver this summer. A veteran hotelier, Prine has managed hotels ranging in size from 60 to more than 800 keys including Hilton Minneapolis and The Chambers Hotel in Minneapolis. He also spent four years as general manager of The Armstrong Hotel in Fort Collins.

Keith Siebenaler was named general manager for the new Kimpton Claret Hotel in Denver’s Belleview Station neighborhood. Prior to joining the property, Siebenaler served as general manager for Kimpton Hotel Born in Denver and Kimpton Schofield Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio. He started his career with Fairmont in Chicago, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C., before joining Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore Inner Harbor and later serving on the opening team for Kimpton Gray Hotel in Chicago.

Jeanette Stensgaard, MBA, CMP, HMCC , has transitioned from her role as senior director of events and education at the Kidney Cancer Association to founder and owner of event-planning company ShePlans Co. With nearly two decades of industry expertise, Stensgaard specializes in integrating meetings and conferences into overall business strategy and focusing on strategic partnerships and innovative solutions.

20 CO M+E » SUMMER 2024
INDUST R Y UPDATE Regional News PHOTOS (FROM ABOVE LEFT) Christie’s Photographic Solutions, The Spa at The Little Nell/Shawn O’Connor PEOPLE NEWS PHOTOS (CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE LEFT) The Broadmoor; Alyssa Broadus; Kimpton Claret Hotel; Jeanette Stensgaard; The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Vail Valley; The Gant Aspen
Left to right: Meg Tewkesbury of Destination Colorado Meetings, Chrissie Widhalm of The Broadmoor, and Kelly Layton and Marie Huston of Desination Colorado Meetings

Relax at The Little Nell

The Little Nell in Aspen unveiled The Spa at The Little Nell with treatments revolving around active pursuits, the alpine environment, and the side effects of travel. Treatments on the spa menu were developed in partnership with aesthetics and anti-inflammatory pioneer Dr. Barbara Sturm; Colorado-based, organic skincare line Isun; and all-natural skincare brand Seed to Skin Tuscany, which has its organic line of bath products in guest rooms and suites at the hotel.

Designed by Luis Bustamante Interior Design of Madrid, Spain, the luxurious spa has three treatment suites, each equipped with a private changing room and steam shower. Two of the suites have a hybrid infrared sauna with halotherapy and a dedicated resting area, and one is equipped with dual treatment tables for those who choose to go in pairs.

In addition, there is a new fitness center with treadmills, Peloton cycles, Technogym weight machines, a functional training station from TRX, and more. Trainers are on call and available for private bookings.

thelittlenell.com

Dynamic Spaces

There’s no other meeting venue in Colorado like the Colorado Convention Center – a distinct and memorable setting for your next meeting or event. Plenty of exhibit, meeting and ballroom space plus the 5,000 seat Bellco Theatre.

New for 2024, the Bluebird Ballroom with 80,000 SF of event space and unrivaled views of the Rocky Mountains on the outdoor terrace.

To inquire or book, contact Rich Carollo at 303.228.8022 or rcarollo@denverconvention.com

MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 21
Spa reception at The Little Nell

150,000+ Tours Are Taken By Our Operators Get on their itinerary.

Advertise with Group Tour magazine! In print and online, there’s no greater audience of group tour operators.

» THE NEW HOTEL POLARIS at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, set to open this fall, is designed to host meetings and events. The 375-room property will contain 26,000 square feet of indoor meeting space with floor-to-ceiling windows and include a 12,000-square-foot ballroom, a 6,000-square-foot junior ballroom, seven meeting rooms, and two boardrooms. All meeting space will be conveniently located on one floor, and there is 11,000 square feet of pre-function space.

Hotel Polaris also plans to offer unique team-building programs for on-site groups, from experiencing the only in-hotel flight simulators in the U.S. to taking part in the property’s falconry program and exploring the dark skies outside of Colorado Springs through the celestial navigation program. The property also is collaborating with the academy’s Center for Character and Leadership Development to provide business leaders with targeted curriculum.

In addition to on-site catering, Hotel Polaris will have restaurants and bars, including a full-service restaurant, ninthfloor rooftop bar, lobby bar, grab-and-go cafe, and family restaurant and bar modeled after a recreation room. A full-service spa, fitness center, and outdoor pool and sun deck are among the other amenities.

thehotelpolaris.com

22 CO M+E » SUMMER 2024
PHOTOS (FROM LEFT) Hotel Polaris, Photography G INDUST R Y UPDATE Regional News
HOTEL POLARIS SET TO LAUNCH BY YEAR’S END
gtmsales@greenspring.com

Tourism Stars Lauded

Denver’s tourism industry honored top leaders and innovators at the 24th annual Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame Dinner in early March in the Colorado Convention Center’s new Bluebird Ballroom. The event raises funds for the Visit Denver Foundation, which awards scholarships to tourism and hospitality students.

This year’s inductees include Frank Day, who has led more than 80 hospitality businesses over five decades and is founder of Concept Restaurants; Bill Mosher, CEO of the Denver Convention Center Hotel Authority; and Wilma Webb, who, as a former state representative and first lady of Denver, has brought a new level of arts appreciation to the city. A special posthumous award was presented in memory of Steve Sander, who worked closely with four Denver mayors, was a longtime Visit Denver board member, marketed several of Colorado’s most visible brands, and helped bring sporting events to the city.

Visit Denver also recognized five “tourism stars” for going above and beyond in creating impactful visitor experiences last year: British Airways, Colorado Tourism Office, Denver Art Museum, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and the NBA’s Denver Nuggets.

denver.org

Variety Around.

Tired of cookie-cutter experiences? Aurora takes variety to the next level, from our globally inspired food scene to our recreation and venue options. Dine at a James Beard award-winning restaurant, hike the grandeur of the Rockies, or choose from venues ranging from grand convention centers to boutique breweries or even an airport hanger. Variety is the spice of life-and Aurora’s not afraid to kick it up a notch.

VisitAurora.com/Meetings

MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 23
Justin Soto (left) and Hubert Frach from British Airways

Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center

LLThe Biergarten at Prost Brewing Co. in Northglenn

ooking to elevate an event? Check out Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center in Breckenridge, located at the corner of the mountain and Main Street. Featuring 515 slopeside guest rooms, suites, and condominiums, Beaver Run has it all—including 40,000 square feet of event space, in-house audiovisual technology, banquet services, mountain views, an experienced team, and much more. Everything a group needs for

successful

is all under one

ooking to elevate an event? Check out Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center in Breckenridge, located at the corner of the mountain and Main Street. Featuring 515 slopeside guest rooms, suites, and condominiums, Beaver Run has it all—including 40,000 square feet of event space, in-house audiovisual technology, banquet services, mountain views, an experienced team, and much more. Everything a group needs for a successful event is all under one roof at Beaver Run including restaurants, pools, hot tubs, and a full-service day spa. Transportation is easy with the free Breckenridge bus system or with Beaver Run’s in-town shuttle for guests. For activity and adventure seekers, add an e-bike tour, tour Country Boy gold mine, try fly-fishing, or take a historic hike up the Burro Trail.

tour

try

BIERGARTEN DEBUTS IN NORTHGLENN

» PROST BREWING CO. has opened a 10,000-square-foot Biergarten in the Northglenn Marketplace in Northglenn, representing the first portion of the company’s plans to open a nearly 60,000-square-foot production facility in the shopping center. The location is Prost’s fourth Biergarten—these spaces are known for elevated German cuisine and beers that honor German and Austrian brewing traditions.

Groups can tap into the large community gathering space and a menu of traditional German fare such as shareable sausage boards with sauerkraut and mustard, authentic pretzels from Colorado-based XLVII’s Bakery LLC with fontina fondue and German mustard, and bratwurst cooked in Prost’s Vienna Lager. In addition, the Biergarten has an outdoor area with a stage and lawn games that can be booked for private gatherings.

prostbrewing.com

24 CO M+E » SUMMER 2024
PHOTOS (FROM LEFT) Prost Brewing Co., All Digital Photo and Video INDUST R Y UPDATE Regional News SPONSORED CONTENT
Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center (800) 525-2253 | beaverrun.com Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center Display ad here Beaver Run Resort, Located at the Corner of... & Play Work... BeaverRun.com 970.453.8780 groups@beaverrun.com Your Breckenridge Work-cation Starts Here! SPONSORED CONTENT
roof at Beaver Run including restaurants, pools, hot
a full-service day spa.
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event
tubs, and
Transportation is
the free Breckenridge bus system or with Beaver Run’s in-town shuttle for guests. For activity and adventure seekers, add an e-bike tour,
Country Boy gold mine,
fly-fishing, or take a historic hike up the Burro Trail.
525-2253
beaverrun.com Beaver Run Resort & Conference Center Display ad here 800-525-2253
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» TWO COLORADANS, Steve Kinsley and Rachel Andrews, have been elected to the 2024 Meeting Professionals International (MPI) International Board of Directors. Kinsley, president of Kinsley Meetings in Littleton, will serve until 2026 and is a 25-year MPI veteran and past president of MPI Rocky Mountain Chapter. Rachel Andrews, head of global meetings and events for Cvent and based in Denver, has more than a decade of MPI involvement and brings both planner and supplier perspectives to the table. She is filling a oneyear term. Boulder-based Rich Reasons, president of Simpleview Inc., will wrap up his term on the MPI Foundation Global Board of Trustees later this year.

mpi.org

Hotel Colorado

MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 25
LOCALS NOW SERVING ON MPI INTERNATIONAL BOARDS 6 elegant newly renovated meeting rooms 10,000 sq. feet of flexible meeting space Full-service conference & catering services Newly renovated guestrooms Step Back in
at the
970.928.3785 Your escape awaits in Glenwood Springs! SalesMarketing@hotelcolorado.com Digital stories on the top meeting and event venues, advice from professionals, and reports on food, beverage, decor, technology and more! Industry Tıps & Trends IN YOUR INBOX Stay up-to-date! MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO-NEWSLETTER-SIGNUP
Time
Historic
Rachel Andrews (left) and Steve Kinsley

Industry Shows Up in Force for MIC Conference

The Meetings Industry Council (MIC) of Colorado hosted 974 registrants for the MIC Educational Conference & Trade Show, held March 26-27 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver— Colorado Meetings + Events was the conference’s media sponsor. A planner, sponsor, and exhibitor lunch; an exhibit hall; an early riser industry update from Associated Luxury Hotels International President and CEO Michael Dominguez; keynote speakers; breakout sessions; and an evening reception were on the ambitious schedule.

1. Gysela Fillingham 2. Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority treated attendees to bubbly.

3. Rebecca Steffen and Kim Brussow

4. Ellen Spitz-Bart and Kaia Pirazzini

5. Eva Prezenkowski, Jeremy Wilson, and Chrissie Widhalm 6. Michael Dominguez

7. Sylvie di Giusto 8. Danny Findley, Heather Savoca, and Dean Savoca 9. Patty “Trixie” Farmer and Justin Clark

26 CO M+E » SUMMER 2024 PHOTOS InSync Photography To have your meeting or event photos featured, contact bbuehler@greenspring.com 7 8 9 6 3 1 5
4 2 SNAPSHOTS MIC Educational Conference & Trade Show

WVisit Colorado Springs

719-635-7506 | visitcos.com

elcome to Olympic City USA, where wide-open spaces, 300 days of endless blue skies, and stunning scenery serve as the backdrop to Rocky Mountain meetings and events. Discover historic properties, unique venues, and value-priced, first-tier amenities. Places like the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, Weidner Field, the Flying W Ranch, and the Colorado Springs Convention Center at The Broadmoor offer unparalleled options for meetings and events of all sizes.

Explore new meeting spaces at Chamonix Casino & Hotel in Cripple Creek and Hotel Polaris at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Chamonix offers elegant meeting and convention space with enough room

to accommodate groups from five to 500. With 26,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, a 12,000-square-foot ballroom, 11,000 square feet of pre-function space, a 6,000-square-foot junior ballroom, and nine meeting rooms, Hotel Polaris has options for events of all sizes. There is also outdoor space, including a 4,000-square-foot event lawn and 5,500-square-foot plaza. In Colorado Springs, planners and attendees will find room to inspire, innovate, connect, and reenergize. The Visit Colorado Springs team is ready to help with complimentary services like leads to hotels and service providers, personalized site inspections, and promotional materials.

Colorado Sp ngs

Meet in the middle.

Halfway to just about anywhere and tucked into the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs plays backdrop to thousands of meetings and events each year. You handle the agenda and we’ll take care of after hours “breakout sessions’ at local gastropubs, trails and museums.

You’ll never compromise when you meet in the middle.

MEETINGSMAGS.COM/COLORADO 27
SPONSORED CONTENT
VisitCOS.com/meet
PHOTOS Visit Colorado Springs

A Long and Winding Road

An eclectic mix of jobs provides a rich foundation for Ed Blair’s hospitality career

Ed Blair, area general manager at Denver’s Sage Hospitality Group, has managed many major hotels and historic landmarks in downtown Denver. He has also taken brief interludes from hospitality to undertake endeavors like overseeing a medical practice, pastoring a church, and serving as chief operating officer of Mile High United Way. The result has been a colorful tapestry of work experiences and human connections.

The first 11 years of Blair’s career involved various management positions with Marriott hotels in both Boulder and Denver; Memphis, Tennessee; and Los Angeles, California, before taking a four-year break from the hospitality industry to work for an orthopedic and sports medicine practice in Louisville, Colorado, and a church in Broomfield, Colorado.

The hotel industry lured Blair back in 2004 as he embarked on a career with Denverbased Sage Hospitality Group, first as the general manager of The Oxford Hotel and then Embassy Suites by Hilton Downtown Denver Convention Center. Then came Blair’s longtime involvement as a commissioner for The Denver Commission to End Homelessness and involvement in Denver’s Road Home, the city’s plan to address homelessness, and his role as a founding member of Denver’s Road to Work business advisory council.

After the leadership role with Mile High United Way, he returned to Sage Hospitality Group as general manager of The Curtis Denver–A DoubleTree by Hilton before returning to The Oxford in 2022. “When I got back into Sage, the guy who hired me wanted me to write a book about how leading a hotel parallels with being a pastor,” Blair recalls. He stresses how, although his career has taken a few detours, he would not be where he is today without the journey. “I really have a heart for luxury boutique hotels and might not have known that without trying some other hotels out,” he says.

Today, he is Sage Hospitality Group’s Denver Union Station area general manager, overseeing The Oxford as well as the train station and its on-site lodging property, The Crawford Hotel. Having someone with Blair’s expertise is timely, as Denver Union Station is commemorating the 10th anniversary of its rebirth as a gathering space and transportation hub with the launch of an $11 million renovation slated for completion in July. The project includes redesigning The Great Hall and The Cooper Lounge, its 8,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and The Crawford’s 112 guest rooms.

“You can’t build history—it happens over time—but continuing to create history really excites us,” Blair says. “Denver is a tremendous city, what has happened downtown in the last 25 years has been phenomenal.”

28 CO M+E » SUMMER 2024 PEOPLE P R OFILE Ed Blair
PHOTO Sam Gentry
SUN - THU: $15K FRI - SAT: $17K Meet the team that will ensure the first and last mile of your event is a success! 303.577.7600 Michaela Sanchez
Mariluz Santos Prado Hannah Bodle Alysha Moore Austin Hetes Jamie Green
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