Aligning with community events is an important goal each year for George Bigley, food and beverage director at the Telluride (Colo.) Ski Resort. The Hop Garden is an indoor/outdoor, beer-heavy venue at the mountain’s base, and Bigley used the space to both help the community and draw some business on March 21.

“We were looking for some events that would be fun for our guests, would have a community aspect and would help promote one of our establishments,” he says.

Bigley noticed that New Belgium Brewing Co. had hosted ski scavenger hunts in other resort towns, and he contacted the brewer about supporting one at the mountain in Telluride with a closing party at Hop Garden.

Teams of four signed up for a fee of $10 per person, with the proceeds going to the Telluride Adaptive Ski program, an organization providing instructors and guides for mentally and physically disabled individuals wanting to ski. Each team hit the mountain in search of obvious markers, like people wearing chicken costumes, where they would receive clues and obtain items to mark off a list.

At 3 p.m., the festivities began at Hop Garden, with live music, a two-for-one après ski menu, $5 Absolut drink specials and, of course, free-flowing New Belgium brews. The winners also were rewarded with a Fat Tire cruiser bicycle provided by New Belgium Brewing. 

“For the $10 fee, each person got a T-shirt, two free beers and a souvenir pint glass,” says Bigley. “That’s raised the money for our charity, and we had 39 teams sign up. This was our first time doing this, but the turnout was fantastic. We will definitely be doing this again. Almost every person who skied showed up for the party at the Hop Garden, and we had a ton of local participation as well.”


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