Looking Back at 2011 – What a Year!

While I’m not one to play favorites, 2011 is definitely on the short list of exciting years at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Here’s a quick look back at the highlights…

January: We announced that a new species of pseudoscorpion unique to Glenwood Caverns and Historic Fairy Caves was named.

February: Bret Pfost, Disney’s Senior Manager for Worldwide Safety, Training and Compliance, spent a day sharing his process for building a safety culture with our management team.

March: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park was named Editors Pick for “Best Emerging Attraction” by Colorado Meeting + Events magazine at its annual Best of Colorado awards ceremony in Denver.

March: We launched a mobile site to provide our guests with helpful information while they’re on the road.

April: Our friend Julian Vogt celebrated his 100th birthday with a ride on the Alpine Coaster.

May: This one is hard to beat…Bert “the Conqueror” Kreischer and Sam Champion, Good Morning America’s meteorologist, visited the park and screamed like little girls on the Giant Canyon Swing. The visit, which still makes me laugh out loud, was broadcast on Good Morning America.

May: We kicked off our third annual Music on the Mountain concert series on Memorial Day Weekend AND opened the only Bungee Jump in Colorado!

June: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park was voted #1 in two categories in the annual Post Independent’s Locals’ Choice Awards: Top Locals Attraction and Best Place for a Kids’ Birthday Party!

July: The Bert the Conqueror episode featuring our owner Steve Beckley sharing his first-ever ride on the Giant Canyon Swing with host Bert Kreischer, aired on the Travel Channel. Steve and Jeanne’s sons Shane and Stenar, along with many of our employees, were stars on the show as well.

July:  More than 1,200 cavers from around the world visited Glenwood Springs as part of the National Speleological Society’s annual convention. The “Howdy Party” was officially the largest single private event in our history, and the convention itself was the largest ever held in Glenwood Springs.

July: Glenwood Springs was named the Most Fun Small Town in America during the USA Today – Rand McNally “Best of the Road Rally!”

August and September: Our Music on the Mountain concert series continued. All combined, the community donated more than 7,600 cans of food for the LIFT-UP food pantry during the series!

October: Since we’d set the lofty goal of reaching 10,000 cans during the 2011 Music on the Mountain series, our management team presented LIFT-UP executive director Mike Powell with a check for $1,200 to purchase the remaining 2,400 cans.

As the year winds down, we are all thankful for the support of our community, our guests, our fans, friends and followers, for a successful year. Here’s to even more fun in 2012!

Glenwood Caverns Tops Off 2011 Music on the Mountain Series with Donation to LIFT-UP.

Holiday gifts that bring smiles all year long

What’s small enough to tuck into a stocking or Christmas card, but big enough to last all year long? An annual pass to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park! You have two choices:

For just $25 per person, the Annual Tram Pass includes unlimited rides on the Iron Mountain Tramway for a whole year, plus a 10% discount at the Lookout Grille, the Snack Shack and General Store gift shop.

Annual Tram Passes make great gifts for people who enjoy coming up to enjoy a meal on the deck or next to the fire, or who like to take in the views from the tram and deck. It’s also perfect for parents – and grandparents – who bring kids to the Park, but don’t always ride alongside them.

The Annual Thrill Pass provides unlimited access to most of the park’s attractions for a full year for just $91 for adults and $87 for kids ages 3 – 12, along with a 10% discount at the Lookout Grille, Snack Shack and General Store gift shop. (Guests 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult to the Park.)

One of the best features of the Annual Thrill Pass is that “unlimited” part. You can go up and spend the entire day playing as often as you’d like, or just go up for a couple of hours and ride the Giant Canyon Swing over and over and over again. It pays for itself in three visits! It can be hard to find the perfect Christmas gifts for kids especially when you don’t know what they’d like. Not only will these activities provide you with some special quality time as a family, but it can also give your children an experience that they may never forget. You can’t go wrong with either option; but, if you can’t decide, you can also purchase gift certificates for any amount. Call the office at 970-945-4228 or 800-530-1635, ext. 111, or stop by the Tram Base during regular hours to find out more.

Glenwood Caverns tops off food drive with donation to LIFT-UP

I love it when companies give back to their communities, and I’m especially proud when it’s a company I represent. Last week, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park did just that. At the beginning of the year, the management team at the Adventure Park decided to ramp up their support of the LIFT-UP community food pantry. They set a goal to collect 10,000 cans of food during the third annual Music on the Mountain concert series. It was a lofty goal, and to be honest, it made me a little nervous! But with the series expanded to include nine concerts, they had a “can-do” attitude and decided to aim high.

To bring in more food donations during the series, the Adventure Park teamed up with some local businesses, including Bighorn Toyota, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, KSPN radio, Glenwood TV, the Hotel Glenwood Springs, US Bank, Swire Coca-Cola and Mountain Beverage, to promote the concerts to an even broader audience. In addition to providing additional marketing opportunities, the sponsors brought prizes and giveaways to each of the concerts — always a big hit with the audience.

After the last concert on Sept. 24, the total number of cans donated was slightly more than 7,600. The community donated an average of nearly 850 cans per concert. That’s a truly impressive number when you think about it, but it wasn’t the 10,000 everyone was hoping for.

So last week, owner Steve Beckley and members of the management team presented LIFT-UP’s executive director Mike Powell with a check for $1,200 to purchase the remaining 2,400 cans. When they set a goal, you can bet they’re going to reach it!

LIFT-UP provides a helping hand to more and more people every year. They are serving an average of 2,600 people a month, and distributing more than 3,000 bags of groceries a month. Visit their website at https://www.liftup.org/ to find out how you can help.

Visiting Glenwood Springs in the Fall

Ride the Glenwood Gondola for stunning views of the valley
Ride the Glenwood Gondola for stunning views of the valley

Viewing Deck

Fall is my favorite season in Colorado, and it’s arrived in Glenwood Springs! The days are clear and warm, and then it’s sweater weather once the sun goes down.  This is a great time of year to visit, here’s why:

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is open daily, the lines are shorter – and rare on weekdays, and almost all of the attractions are still open. I love seeing the fall colors on the tram ride and from the deck at the Lookout Grille. With shorter lines, you can ride the alpine coaster over, and over, and over again.

The forecast: sunny or mostly sunny, with highs in the mid-to-upper 70s and lows in the 40s, for the next week! The weather is perfect for hiking and biking on the trails around town, or in the White River National Forest. The foliage is just starting to turn at higher elevations, so there’s plenty of time to plan your trip to catch the colors at their peak.

At night when the air is cool, sitting in the Glenwood Hot Springs is very relaxing. It’s open until 10 p.m., and the night rates apply after 9 p.m. You’ll find that throughout the town, and the Roaring Fork Valley, there are a lot of ways to enjoy the beautiful fall weather without the summer crowds. Come for a visit soon!

Enjoy the Tunes, Help a Neighbor

What could be better than live music on top of a mountain surrounded by your friends? How about all of that for a can of food! This is the third year for the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park Music on the Mountain Glenwood Springs concert series to benefit the LIFT-UP food pantry. You can ride the tram and enjoy the concerts for a donation of at least one can of food. That’s a pretty good deal by any standards.
This week’s concert on Saturday, Aug. 27, features Already Gone, one of the region’s most in-demand cover bands. They bring high energy and a robust sound to a diverse set list that includes classic rock, R&B, new country, top 40 and funk. The band features Eddie Muniz on drums and vocals, Jean Graca on bass, Mark Chenoweth on guitar and vocals, Randy De Herrera on alto sax, vocals and keyboards, and Lisa Popish as lead vocalist.

You’ll notice that earlier I said “at least” one can of food. We’ve set a lofty goal this year of collecting 10,000 cans for LIFT-UP. We’re just shy of 5,000 cans so far, with four concerts left on the schedule. If you can manage it, bring two or more cans to help out the folks in our community who need it right now. Back-to-school time is not usually when people think about donating to the food pantry, so it’s a great time to stock the shelves.

We have dubbed this our “can-for-a-tram” series because it’s pretty catchy, but you can also bring jars of peanut butter, boxes of rice or pasta, and any non-perishable food items.

Our sponsors this year have made it possible for us to spread the word about these concerts and hopefully bring in a lot more food for the pantry. The Music on the Mountain Concert Series is presented by Bighorn Toyota, a Locals’ Choice for more than 30 years. This week’s performance is sponsored by The Hotel Glenwood Springs — the perfect family destination, just steps away from all the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park action. Our other sponsors are Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Swire Coca-Cola, KSPN, US Bank and Mountain Beverage.

The series will continue after Labor Day with Starcher Hutsen on Sept. 10; Skinner, Girardot, X and Martin on Sept. 17; and The Missing Link Band on Sept. 24.

The Lookout Grille and the Snack Shack will be open for dinner and refreshments during the concerts, with $3 Coronas, Coors Lights and glasses of wine, and $4 well drinks. Please, no outside food or alcohol in the park.

Our rides and attractions will be open from 9 a.m. to dusk, except for the Bungee Jump, which will close at 7 p.m., and laser tag and the 4D Motion Theater, which will close at 9:30 p.m.

During the concerts, a Day Pass will cost just $30 with the free tram ride, and will include unlimited access to the Alpine Coaster, Giant Canyon Swing, new Soaring Eagle Zip Ride, Ft. WhereAmI maze, Bungee Trampolines, 4D Motion Theater, the laser tag arena, Wild West Wagon, Speleobox cave simulator, climbing wall and Giddy Up! Western ride.

For more information about Music on the Mountain, call 800-530-1635 or 970-945-4228, ext. 0. To stay up to date on all of the fun things happening here, plus coupons and contests, make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter, too.

Hope to see you up here on Saturday!

Glenwood Springs named Most Fun Town in America

Giant Canyon Swing

Glenwood Springs named Most Fun Town in America by Rand McNally and USA Today

One of the great things about living in Glenwood Springs is the number of choices we have when it comes to having fun. While we’ve known this for years, Glenwood Springs garnered national attention last week by being named the Most Fun Town in America by Rand McNally and USA Today in the inaugural Best of the Road Rally.
Narrowed down from more than 600 submissions, 30 top towns in five categories – Most Beautiful, Most Patriotic, Friendliest, Most Fun, and Best for Food – were selected for review. Five teams of amateur travelers completed a three-week cross-country road trip, for a combined 25,000 miles traveled, personally visiting the six top towns in their assigned categories.

Giant Canyon Swing

The mother-daughter team, TravelingJules and TravelingJoan, reviewed the six finalists in the Most Fun category: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Santa Claus, Indiana; Park City, Utah; Vacaville, California; Yellow Springs, Ohio; and, our favorite, Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

The ladies spent the 4th of July weekend here in town, packing what many visitors might do here during a week into two action-filled days. Highlights included attending the hilarious Glenwood Vaudeville Revue, rafting the Colorado River, exploring Glenwood Caverns and Historic Fairy Caves and riding the Alpine Coaster, Soaring Eagle Zip Ride and Giant Canyon Swing at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, soaring high above Glenwood Springs in a tandem paraglider, exploring the back country by ATV with Glenwood Adventure Company, soaking in the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, and relaxing with a soothing pedicure at the Spa of the Rockies.

Sounds like the definition of fun to me!

The Travel Channel’s Bert the Conqueror is Coming to Visit!

Describing Bert Kreischer in a few words isn’t easy and the term “thrill seeker” doesn’t even scratch the surface. Throw in hilariously absurd, fearless and passionate about fun, and you start to get the picture.

As host of the popular Travel Channel’s Bert the Conqueror television series, Bert will visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs Colorado on May 19 to shoot an upcoming episode based on the Giant Canyon Swing.

The swing, which opened in May 2010, has been a huge success, eliciting loud screams as it swings riders out at 3.5 Gs, 1,300 feet above the Colorado River. Weather permitting, the Giant Canyon Swing will open for the season on May 7.

Stay tuned for updates and more details about Bert’s visit!

Adventure Park Philanthropic Business of the Year

Glenwood Springs Chamber Names Adventure Park Philanthropic Business of the Year

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park was named Philanthropic Small Business of the Year at the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association’s Annual Gala on April 21, 2011. Chris Ehlers was on hand to accept the award.

Giving back to the families in its community has been part of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park’s philosophy since Steve and Jeanne Beckley opened the caves to the public in 1999, and 2010 was no exception. In fact, the park ramped up its philanthropic efforts in recognition of the number of area families affected by the downturn in the economy.

In July, the Adventure Park hosted the kick-off party for YouthZone’s 20th Annual Kiss-n-Squeal Fundraiser. Approximately 150 people showed up to enjoy free tram rides and “pig out” at the fajita dinner buffet, and many took the opportunity to try out the park’s attractions. The park, a founding member of the Glenwood Springs based YouthZone Foundation, donated the dinner and a percentage of the day’s proceeds for a total contribution of nearly $4,000.

The park also supported nearly 500 organizations and events during 2010 through the donation of passes for fundraising. These recipients ranged from school groups and sports teams to non-profit organizations and fundraising events for local individuals battling the costs of medical expenses. If you attended a charitable event in the valley, odds are that passes to the Adventure Park were on the silent auction table or awarded as prizes.

The park’s biggest impact on the community, however, was helping to stock the LIFT-UP food pantry. Through the Music on the Mountain series, which began in the fall of 2009 with two concerts and expanded to seven during 2010, the park collected 5,787 items for LIFT-UP, including canned food, jars of peanut butter and packages of pasta. Guests were able to enjoy a free tram ride and live music in exchange for the donation of at least one food item for the food pantry. Due to the popularity of the series, the Adventure Park is expanding the Music on the Mountain to include nine events in Glenwood Springs during 2011 and hopes to collect even more food for the community.

Disney Exec Shares Insights with Glenwood Caverns

Behind the Scenes: Disney Exec Shares Insights with Glenwood Caverns’ Management Team

Managers with a mission to make people smile recently got a chance to learn from a senior leader at the happiest place on earth!

Bret Pfost has learned a thing or two during his nearly 27 years of experience at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. He traveled to Glenwood Springs, Colo., to share some of his operations experience, resort knowledge, leadership and sound safety business sense with the management team at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

His visit to Glenwood Springs included an interactive work session for all of the Adventure Park’s year-round managers and supervisors that focused on the importance of creating a safety culture in the workplace. If you would like to ensure that you have complete control over your employees, then maybe you should think about having a HR Software that can help you control this and other aspects of your business.

As Senior Manager for Worldwide Safety, Training, and Compliance, Pfost builds a safety culture in teams across the Resort, including attractions, foods, merchandise, entertainment, custodial, guest services, parking and transportation, and security and emergency services.

Bret Pfost, senior manager at Disney Worldwide Safety, Training, and Compliance

“We’ve always made safety our top priority, but by developing a safety culture as Bret has done at Disney, guest and employee safety is considered in every decision that is made,” said Steve Beckley, who owns Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park with his wife Jeanne. “We learned a lot from Bret that we will be able to incorporate into our own policies and plans right away.” Respecting your workforce like this helps to create a mutual respect, which is a key part of being a manager. EQ works is a training company and they focus on teaching managers how to have emotional intelligence so that they can understand how to foster things like loyalty and respect, and that’s the best way to maintain and retain a happy workforce.

Interacting with a senior leader from Disney is just the latest example of how the Beckleys provide opportunities for their managers to learn from leaders in the industry. Each fall, the management team travels to another park to gain first-hand knowledge of each park’s attractions and customer service. They use these experiences to brainstorm ideas to improve and expand the customer’s experience at the Adventure Park. In the past few years, the team has traveled to Disney World, Universal Studios, Silver Dollar City and Royal Gorge.

Management team members also have the opportunity to attend educational seminars and industry conferences around the country. Beckley, along with managers Nancy Heard and Kelly Bates, first met Pfost at a ski area management conference in Lake George, New York. They all stayed in touch and came up with the idea for Pfost to visit the park and share his insights with the team. The participants’ response was overwhelmingly positive.

“Having Bret here from a company as prestigious as Disney was invaluable. The workshop gave me a lot of ideas to continue to improve the training model for the attractions department, as well as to enhance the parks’ safety culture,” said Jesse Boucias, attractions supervisor at the Adventure Park. “We are continuously striving to provide both a fun and safe experience for our guests. Who better to learn from than the best—Disney.”

Being an employer of choice in the Roaring Fork Valley is a priority for the Adventure. It’s a fun (and safe!) place to work and is now hiring for many seasonal positions. Applications are now being accepted for many seasonal positions, as well as for the annual employee scholarship.