Get the best of both worlds at high elevation

Mountain resorts are always popular in the winter—the best skiing opportunities, elegant fine dining in fireside lodges, floor-to-ceiling windows to bring the majestic mountains into the meeting spaces and ballrooms—yet the steadily increasing trend in executive retreats and incentives is pursuing opportunities for exploration and experiences. It is not exceedingly difficult to find a beautiful mountain resort with all the hospitality and amenities one could ask for. Yet finding one that has much more to its personality and works with meeting professionals and its surrounding communities to offer much more? That is when an executive retreat or an incentive separates itself from others.

New England

Known for its different seasons, each with equally distinct activities, wintertime is mountain time in New England. The mountain resorts go all out for their biggest season of the year, providing visitors with access to the best winter activities the region has to offer. Coupled with a history steeped in American tradition and small communities, visitors are encouraged to explore the Northeast to create humble and memorable experiences.

Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa

History meets executive retreat in the mountains of New Hampshire, where early American quaintness is intertwined with modern luxury. When a couple graciously began offering lodging to travelers in 1865, Mountain View Grand got its start as a mountain getaway. Within the year it began its journey as an official inn and launched its expansion. Just shy of 150 years later, Mountain View Grand celebrated its grand re-opening in 2002 after a $20 million interior and exterior renovation.

The resort may have had a major facelift to bring the property into modern times, yet the rustic elements of the White Mountains are still present in the resort’s décor, activities and surrounding town. Lloyd Van Horn, managing director of Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, emphasizes the benefits of the amalgam of the region’s humble beginnings with its high-end amenities.

Read More: Retreat to the Great Smokey Mountains

“The property since its inception has attracted businesses due to the ability to navigate both sophisticated experiences paired with rustic options to enjoy all that the mountains have to offer,” says Lloyd Van Horn, managing director.

The resort has over 20,000 sq. ft. of both indoor and outdoor flexible meeting and event space. The 14 event rooms are designed with an “elegant and historical” aesthetic, emphasized by its vaulted ceilings and sparkling chandeliers. Perfect for both opulent intimate retreats or larger capacity galas, the mountain resort’s spaces can be transformed to fit any event.

“When you come to the mountains, you have many more options than you would find in a city hotel during down time.”

– Lloyd Van Horn, managing director, Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa

Explore the mountains with onsite activities that can take you back in time. With options for seasonal group activities such as exploring the resort’s Working Fiber Farm and meeting its llamas, sheep, goats, donkeys and more or trying your hand at axe throwing, attendees will feel like real mountain pioneers. After roughing it in the great outdoors, relax in total luxury at The Tower Spa, which offers an extensive menu of services and privacy for personal meditation.

Sugarbush Resort

three people clinking glasses at ski lodge
Sugarbush Resort

Vermont is one of the most famous states for winter resorts with glistening snow of the Green Mountains. The Mad River Valley of Vermont is home to Sugarbush, one of the top-rated ski resorts in New England. Sugarbush has recently added exciting state-of-the-art facilities and innovative technologies for team-building events to enhance the indoor and outdoor events taking place at the luxury resort. The extensive winter sports and onsite resort activities are but one side of the overall Vermont mountain experience. The tight-knit Mad River Valley community maintains its rural mountain roots and visitors are encouraged to explore while also enjoying elevated dining and hospitality. Diane Forester, director of sales for Sugarbush, highlights the ways in which the region offers the best of both worlds.

“When talking about the smaller executive meetings during the winter, we have a brand-new meeting facility with state of the art audiovisual,” says Forester. The facility is a perfect example of how Sugarbush is a place to “meet and retreat.”

“A lot of times, executives will come in their ski boots,” says Forester. “And they meet, have lunch and have a private room to themselves.”

Want to stay in from the cold but still have fun activities for team building experiences? Not to worry. Going live this December are three simulators which participants can enter to play virtual golf, soccer, bowling and more. “We always encourage our guests to try and incorporate something that’s new and different that their team doesn’t normally do,” says Forester.

Yet Forester encourages visitors to experience more than the fabulous luxuries Sugarbush Resort has onsite. “We really encourage our guests to take advantage of the fact that they are in the countryside in Vermont,” she says.

Sugarbush will also work with teams and local businesses to explore Mad River Valley, its local cuisine and artisanal craft breweries. “Sugarbush is really the economic engine behind the valley,” says Forester. “It’s a really important thing for us to support the community businesses.”

Forester recommends groups head down the Mad River Green, a complex referred to as the “taste place.” It carries only Vermont based products and is host to an amazing farmer’s market. Down the street, visitors can visit the original Ben and Jerry’s factory! Stay in luxury at Sugarbush and explore the surrounding community for authentic Vermont experiences.

“We always encourage our guests to try and incorporate something that’s new and different that their team doesn’t normally do.”

– Diane Forester, director of sales, Sugarbush

Mountains Out West

three people practicing yoga
Triple Creek Ranch Yoga

The Rocky Mountains have been the subject of many Western songs, an inspiration to many American writers and the backdrop to much of Western history, whether accurate or mountain legend. Although home to some of the most high-end mountain resorts with unrivaled winter activities, the rugged ways of the old Rockies can be seen in even the most luxurious venues.

The Hythe, a Luxury Collection Resort, Vail

As one of the most recognized mountain destinations in the country, Vail offers North America everything the Swiss Alps offers Europe. The Hythe is styled to reflect the European ambiance with excellent skiing on the pristine snow of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and luxurious accommodations featuring sweeping mountain views. After a long day of mountain adventures, visitors can treat themselves to the Well & Being Spa to unwind. Amongst its many relaxing treatments is Vail’s only Himalayan Salt Lounge.

Read More: Colorado: Rocky Mountain High

With more than 28,000 sq. ft. of event space, the resort draws upon the inspiring mountain scenery for its indoor venues. Whether it is from the floor-to-ceiling windows providing views of the snow-covered Rockies, the sparkling chandeliers mimicking the glittery winter backdrop or the various themed uplighting options to set the ambiance for any event, The Hythe offers flexible meeting and event space in a rare location with all the elegance of true Swiss hospitality.

Even with the high-end amenities offered by The Hythe, it still pays homage to its roots as a mountain destination. Go back to a simpler time and place, albeit with the same excellent standard of hospitality and service, with treats such as fireside s’mores and locally distilled mountain whiskey.

Triple Creek Ranch, A Montana Hideaway

As the most secluded resort on our list, Triple Creek Ranch offers 25 private luxury cabins spread across the property for individualized accommodations in the Montana mountains. Guests can choose a cabin in a more wooded area, on the banks of the Bitterroot River or in the more populated area by the Lodge and pool area. Each cabin accommodates between two and four adults with ample meeting space in each for small groups to convene. Also included on the property is the Meadowlark meeting space, a 1,000-square-foot building with a 20-person capacity. With conference tables, breakout rooms and stunning views of the mountains, a small executive retreat can be both modern and authentically mountain.

The all-inclusive resort provides a gourmet dining experience with the menu changing not only seasonally but daily. The culinary team is dedicated to incorporating the freshest ingredients while representing Montana classics elevated to fine dining cuisine. Guests can expect fiddlehead ferns from local farms, huckleberries you can only find in Montana and nods to Montana’s cowboy history with house-made chilis and Triple Creek Ranch beef burgers. Enjoy these regional delicacies in the Main Lodge’s high-ceiling wooden dining room or have them delivered straight to your cabin door for a private dining experience or a catered meal for a meeting.

Further North

mountains in foreground of lake
Canadian Rockies

Aim even higher and travel North to cross the border into Canada. Experience the modernized Western charm of the Alberta cities that surround the foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains as well as luxury with a mountain homespun aesthetic at the elevated resorts nestled between the towering peaks. With historic pioneer pride, top-of-the-line hospitality and mouthwatering cuisine, more and more meeting professionals are getting excited about collaborating with our neighbors to the North.

Kananaskis Mountain Lodge

restaurant space
Kanaskis Mountain Lodge

Only a little over an hour up the mountains from urban downtown Calgary are the remote resorts nestled in the Canadian Rockies. Kananaskis Village is home to its name sake’s mountain lodge, where the isolation of the surrounding mountains creates the perfect cradle for a luxury resort. While finding this level of relaxation takes some adventure to drive the windy that weave through the terrain, the breathtaking views and one-of-a-kind amenities are a hidden gift in the mountains.

The Nordic Spa at Kananaskis Mountain Lodge takes relaxation and wellness to another level. Even in the middle of the winter, this indoor/outdoor spa has everything from cold plunges to exfoliating cabins to a banya sauna. Visitors can take advantage of everything the Nordic Spa has to offer with its hydrotherapy circuit, a therapeutic cycle that rejuvenates the body with heat treatments, then cold treatments and finishes with resting treatments.

Built for and made famous by the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, where legends such as the Jamaican bobsled team made their Olympic debut and the iconic Eddie the Eagle competed, Kananaskis Mountain Lodge has integrated the stoic mindfulness of the mountains with modern amenities and event accommodations.

“We are located in a beautiful location, surrounded by the Rockies, where you connect with nature right at our doorstep,” says Liz Hovey-Smith, general manager of Kananaskis Mountain Lodge. “People love the easy access to wellness, adventure and indulgence!”

The culinary cuisine stays true to its Alberta roots – the Canadian province takes incredible pride in its beef—and for good reason. Located within the lodge are Forte Restaurant and Cedar Room, both serving local, seasonal ingredients. “We collaborate with local suppliers as much as possible,” says Hovey-Smith.

“People love the easy access to wellness, adventure and indulgence!”

– Liz Hovey Smith, general manager, Kananaskis Mountain Lodge

Visit Ancient Europe in Boise, Idaho

downtown skyline
Downtown Boise, Idaho

Who knew the Rocky Mountain city of Boise would have a connection to a Paleolithic population from Western Europe? Boise has a proud and vibrant population of people who identify as Basques—an ethnic group dating back to the Pre-Roman Iberian Peninsula which is now France and Spain. Immigrating to the Idaho region in the mid-1800s, the Basques became integral in the region’s sheepherding industry. Today, Boise has an entire district with Basque-inspired restaurants, marketplaces and the Basque Center where the Basque community holds events and social gatherings.

Read MoreBoise, Idaho: Climbing Up the Rocky Mountains


This article appears in the January 2024 and January/February 2024 issues. You can subscribe to the magazine here.