Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Events That Excel

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

By Beth Buehler

Disco dance party at Copper Palace in Aspen during Luxury Ski Week
Disco dance party at Copper Palace in Aspen during Luxury Ski Week || Photo by Sam Ferguson Photography

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!”

Private Brooks & Dunn show for attendees at Coors Brewing Co.’s 150th anniversary celebration
Private Brooks & Dunn show for attendees at Coors Brewing Co.’s 150th anniversary celebration || Photo by Sydney Brewer Photography

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 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.

Elton John impersonator at Aspen’s Luxury Ski Week
Elton John impersonator at Aspen’s Luxury Ski Week || Photo by Sam Ferguson Photography

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.”

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.

Western-themed party during The North Face’s sales kickoff event
Western-themed party during The North Face’s sales kickoff event || Photo by Jonathan Phillips Photography

“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.”