Whether it’s the soaring altitude, the crisp air or the surprising scenery, having meeting in the mountains can infuse any event with fresh energy. By incorporating the natural scenery and outdoor activities of the mountain setting, meetings in the mountains help attract attendees and their families that want to get away from it all while getting down to business.
If you’re looking for a scenic alpine destination for your next meeting event, consider one of these mountain destinations.
The Pocono Mountains cover 2,400 square miles in four northeastern Pennsylvania counties. The range is bordered by Lake Wallenpaupack to the north, the Delaware Valley to the east, Lehigh Valley to the south and Wyoming Valley and Pennsylvania Dutch Country to the west.
David Jackson, vice president of sales for the Pocono Mountains Convention and Visitors Bureau, still feels rejuvenated and still finds himself saying wow when he’s in the Poconos, even after seven years.
“I figured it would have worn off by now, but frankly, there’s a lot to discover,” Jackson said.
One of the primary reasons the Poconos are so popular for corporate retreats, association meetings and student and faith-based groups is the area’s recreation options, which are perfect for team building, Jackson said.
“It’s such a wide range of team-building opportunities that it’s almost ridiculous to go through the list,” he said. That list includes white-water rafting, rock climbing, off-road Hummer tours in the summer and snowmobiling and snowshoeing in the winter.
Several companies also offer paintball courses and zip-lining tours, he said, and attendees can ride horses, try out archery and shooting ranges, or learn how to line dance at Malibu Dude Ranch.
Two new water park resorts are slated to open in summer 2015. The Kalahari Resort will have 457 guest rooms and about 200,000 square feet of meeting space, and Camelback Lodge is planned to have 453 lodging rooms and 20,000 square feet of meeting space.
For those who prefer history, the Inn at Pocono Manor and Skytop Lodge are original manor resorts that date to the early 1900s.
Whitefish is a town of about 8,000 people, but it serves as a gateway for the millions of visitors to Glacier National Park every year.
“We have the infrastructure for a lot of visitation but still have the genuine mountain-town feel,” said Lisa Jones, spokeswoman for the Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A river runs through the revitalized downtown, which is lined with local shops and boutiques in the historic false-front buildings, many that are more than 100 years old, “not the Disney version,” she said.
Whitefish has two performing-arts centers that can be used for meetings: the 328-seat O’Shaughnessy Center and the 475-seat Whitefish Performing Arts Center. The 122-room Lodge at Whitefish Lake has about 10,000 square feet of event space, and Grouse Mountain Lodge has 143 guest rooms and 11,000 square feet of meeting space, Jones said. Grouse Mountain Lodge also did a major refresh of its guest rooms, restaurant, lobby and public spaces in 2012 and 2013.
The town is only eight miles from Whitefish Mountain Resort, a ski resort that offers plenty of summertime meeting space. Attendees can ride the chair lift, either in an enclosed gondola or an open-air chair, to the Summit House at the top of the mountain, where there is a restaurant, a meeting room and a deck that can be used for events.
“You’re looking at all the peaks of Glacier National Park, the Canadian Rockies, the Continental Divide, Flathead Valley,” Jones said of the view. She added that in Whitefish, “nature surrounds you at all times, so you really feel like you’re getting away from it all when you come here for a meeting.”