Looking for a scenic setting with plenty to offer? Ski resorts offer skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, and other winter sports, of course, but many of these resorts also offer state-of-the-art banquet rooms, auditoriums and conference rooms for meetings and events.
With so many activities, these lodges are ideal for team-building, and even participants who hate the snow will likely find a spa to relax in, restaurants and bars with fine food or drinks and a cozy fireplace to unwind by.
While the idea of a ski lodge brings to mind mountains and trees blanketed in white snow, these resorts are available year-round and offer summertime fun as well, from golf to water parks.
Liberty Mountain Resort
Liberty Mountain Resort opened with a small, 40-room lodge in the 1960s as a destination for skiers, but now it offers activities 12 months a year. And this year, it’s getting ready to increase its meeting/event business in a big way.
In the late ’90s, Liberty Mountain started hosting weddings, mainly for local people and residents who were taken by the scenic beauty. “It quickly took off as being desirable for weddings,” says Marketing Director Anne Weimer.
In the early 2000s, Liberty added Boulder Ridge Lodge. “It’s a beautiful lodge, secluded on the backside of our mountain, all-wood, with a big wooden deck … very quickly it became the wedding venue. Once a bride saw it, she wanted it,” Weimer says.
But the busy winter sports season prevented Liberty Mountain from handling events and meetings year-round. In 2010, Liberty purchased an adjacent golf course, its lodging and clubhouse. The clubhouse was torn down and is being replaced by Highland Lodge, scheduled to open in late fall/early winter. “It’s 83,000 square feet with much more event space for us,” Weimer says. “It will enable us to be able to do events year-round much more effectively than we’ve ever done before.”
She adds that they’re seeing a demand for conferences from the D.C.-Baltimore market. “They’re not traveling as far as they used to for meetings,” Weimer says. “We’re a getaway that’s not too far away. It’s easily accessible and it’s a beautiful setting.”
The space will have two new restaurants, a saltwater pool, salon and spa, and a golf pro shop with two golf simulators. “We’re really stepping up the amenities to make the resort offer a lot more activities, in addition to the meeting space,” Weimer says.
Golf is expected to be a big part of teambuilding efforts. “Many conference groups like to begin or end their conference with a golf tournament,” says Deanna Painter, director of sales. “We also know that some attendees feel they do not have the necessary skills to participate in a golf outing. Our golf staff does an excellent job of organizing outings and putting contests which allow all attendees to participate, no matter their golf skills or experience, as well as have a great deal of fun. Also, many companies and organizations are looking to incorporate team-building as part of their conference. Our Boulder Ridge Challenge Course offers them the opportunity to build a program which is designed according to their specific needs.”
Camelback Mountain Resort
Camelback Mountain Resort in Tannersville offers a new conference center with 20,000 square feet of flexible meeting and entertainment space. That’s in addition to the 18,000 square feet already in the resort’s ski lodges.
Cambelback’s grand ballroom has 7,450 square feet and accommodates up to 400 guests. The ballroom can be divided to accommodate various sizes, and a separate meeting area has four rooms and a prefunction area.
The resort also features state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, Wi-Fi and touch-panel control systems. Camelback’s culinary staff can accommodate any group, from informal meals to black-tie affairs, with options ranging from buffets, plated meals or customized menus. The lodge also has three restaurants.
Earlier this year, Camelback opened its Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark, making it an all-season destination. The new lodge coupled with an indoor entertainment center features 170,000 square feet with a transparent roof. It has 13 slides and seven pools, including a wave pool, indoor-outdoor spa whirlpool, lazy river and toddlers pool.
“We work with all kinds of companies, organizations, etc.,” says Michelle Wescott, director of group sales at Camelback Lodge and Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark. “Our space is very versatile so we appeal to corporate meetings, along with social events, proms, weddings, showers, etc. We have amazing views of the mountain side from our 7,500- square-foot grand ballroom.”
For team-building, Camelback has zip lining, a mountain coaster and surfing lessons. Groups can end their day with a drink at the resort’s Trails End area, complete with fire pits.
“Camelback Lodge offers outdoor personal development and team-building activities designed to boost team morale and encourage participation, self-development and discovery,” Wescott says. “Groups have access to the entire Camelback Resort campus, including the treetop ropes course, mountain Segway tours, mountain coaster, 4,000-foot twin Zip- Flyers and a 1,000-foot tandem zip line. Our on-site coordinator can assist in planning and arranging activities and team-building events.”
Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Champion offers everything from breakfast meetings for groups as small as 20 to a banquet for 800 in meeting spaces designed to bring focus and energy to a meeting or event. It offers 60,000 square feet of meeting space, and service specialists are available to help fulfill needs.
The resort has 17 rooms for banquets, lectures and conferences. The largest is the 11,770-square-foot exhibit hall, with the smallest being the 345-square-foot directors conference room.
“Not only do we offer more than 60,000 square feet of meeting space,” says General Manager Dave Runco, “we have many different lodging options, restaurants and bars to choose from, easy access from the Turnpike, and many amenities and features including tubing, hiking, whitewater rafting, two distinct zip-line experiences, the alpine slide, bowling, mini-golf and more.”
For team-building, Seven Springs offers two levels of activities. Phase 1 includes low-level activities designed for fun and team interaction. Phase 2 is the higher level and features a 50-foot climbing tower, called the Alpine Tower, designed to promote teamwork and challenge participant’s abilities.
“Our guests give us great feedback on not only the challenges we have in place and the dedicated team-building area, but also our staff’s professional, fun and knowledgeable approach,” Runco says.
Other activities at Seven Springs include golf, clay-shooting, fly-fishing, mountain biking, horse riding, summer tubing, Segway tours, paintball and more. The resort’s Trillim Spa offers massage, facials and more.
Accommodations at Seven Springs include a hotel, the Main Lodge at the base of the mountain; condos and townhouses for rent; cottages, and chalets for smaller groups.
Bear Creek Mountain Resort
Bear Creek Mountain Resort offers skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing in the winter, along with hiking and biking along 7 miles of wooded trails that circle the property. Summertime offers boating, disc golf, geocaching, tennis and proximity to golf courses.
Bear Creek has 26,000 square feet of total meeting space. “We have rooms that are small, seating 14 people and larger venues for up to 450 people; and the biggest selling point for us is that it’s all done in a relaxed atmosphere on 330 acres,” says Jeffrey Zellner, who handles business development and public relations.
Options include the Mountain Ballroom, which accommodate events both large and small. It has an outdoor deck, offering mountain views and fresh air during breaks. The Woodland Ballroom can be set up for a large event or be divided for smaller groups.
Bear Creek’s lodge offers floor-to-ceiling stone fireplaces and mountain views. It’s available for meetings and events from April to November. Bear Creek also has a Fireside Suite for board meetings and events for up to 30 people, two executive board rooms that can set up to 14 each, and a business center.
Zellner says Bear Creek’s location (one hour from Philadelphia, 15 minutes from Allentown) makes it a draw for many companies and organizations. “The thing that separates us is the ability to have this relaxing feel close to the major markets,” he says. “We have everything you want for your meeting.”
The resort also offers activities to keep people active and busy, either as part of the corporate events or for relaxation when work is done.
“We have an on-site spa so we can offer spa services to our meeting guests,” Zellner says. “We have a number of corporate enhancements such as guided outdoor activities, a mixology class, a paint-and-sip event where an art teacher comes out and teaches people how to paint a picture while they drink wine. We have hiking, disc golf and a lot of outdoor activities.”
The resort also offers a wide variety of catering options. “We feel that a big part of the meeting experience is having the right quality food,” Zellner says.
“You can have a meeting in an urban environment anywhere, but a lot of people are looking for a self-contained area where you can do everything in one spot, so you don’t have people wandering off and leaving the property,” Zellner says. “Everything is right here.”