Team gathering in Vail, Colorado
A team gathering in the United States of America! When the CEO announces such message you realise it’s one of those “Yes!” moments in life. There was already a tradition of a yearly team gathering in the company, but for the 10th anniversary of the company it was something special!
Maybe you think: “what is a team gathering?”. It’s when all world wide employees of the company are brought together to get insights in the strategy and goals for the next year. A moment where you can reconnect with colleagues. During several sessions everybody gets the necessary information to make the upcoming year a success. It brings such incredible vibes and makes that everyone is eager to start on it.
At the moment of announcement we did not yet have booked our bigger holiday of the year, so it was a no brainer that Marie-Claire would join me near the end of the team gathering and that we would spend our holidays together in USA. We spend a little more than 2 weeks exploring Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Arionza during an awesome roadtrip through western USA.
What a cosy city! Next to that the city feels very luxurious and expensive. We looked at some hung up prices for houses and apartments and they were way above our budget. We had great weather, there were good city vibes, shopping people, …
We arrived at the perfect moment of the year to see the bright colours of the Aspen trees. Well, maybe the word perfect is discussable as we were too early to hit the ski slopes 🙂 Nevertheless the colours were so impressive! Every free moment we found we went out for a hike. Some colleagues of mine even hiked before breakfast leaving at dawn around 6am.
We hiked with some early arrived colleagues the North Vail Trail which leaves near the Grand Hyatt hotel and goes up the hill next to the highway. As this was on the first day, we still had to adapt to the elevation and when the trail went up, we quickly had to slow down a bit. You often see the highway but you don’t really hear it, so it’s not really bothering. Although I prefer to be 100% in the nature. At the top the highway even looked nice as a line through the landscape. We were happy to be back at the hotel after more than 16km. Time for an apertif and the official start of the team gathering.
This short trail beginning at the Cascade Village Lift (20) starts with an aggressive climb up the ski slope. It’s a zig zag trail up the hill and you return via the city of Vail. Some great views but make sure to look out for cyclists which might come down rapidly on the single track parts.
From our hotel we hiked followed the small river to the city of Vail and then went up the hill. The beginning is steep and hard but the views are awesome and then you have a longer very gentle track going down back to the city of vail.
Grand Hyatt hotel
We were hosted just outside the city centre of Vail in the Grand Hyatt hotel. An ideal place as all was available on site. Several meeting rooms, bars and an outside area to host parties. Outside ski season it’s affordable but it seems that room rates during ski season are crazy. The room was spacious and the bed was one of the best I’ve ever had. It was great to be hosted in such a great hotel but the contrast could not have been bigger with the road trip which followed.
The story about the presidential suite is a good example of the dynamics in my current company. When you hire almost an entire hotel, one could expect that you have rooms of different levels. I think in 90% of the companies the biggest room would go by default to the CEO. Well…. not in our company. The management decided to have a lottery to determine who gets access to the fancy rooms. The result was one of my team members who got assigned the room and this was probably also my first and only chance to get access to the presidential suite. Research learned us that normally it’s roughly $7.000 per night. There was a main entrance but also a side entrance to the servant kitchen were food can be prepared before being served. There were 2 large bedrooms with each its own bathroom. In the middle you have an extremely large living room with several seating areas. This room is equal to a mid-size apartment!