This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend TBEX, a travel blogger, writer and photographer conference that just happened to be held in Keystone, Colorado this year. TBEX attracts attendees from around the globe, and this was a chance for Colorado to show off – and it did just that.
On the first evening, we drank champagne aboard gondolas that transported us to a five-star experience on top of Keystone Resort. A Taste of Vail Resorts treated us to a variety of delectable food choices in a world-class setting. The dessert tent had such an array of culinary delights that the guests weren’t sure whether to eat these amazing creations or just take photographs.
The second night, Expedia.com threw a cowboy style shindig at Keystone Stables, complete with a country band, line dancing, a mechanical bull, local beer and barbecue. As the sun set, the mountains glowed, and crowd went “oooh” and “ahhhh.”
Throughout the weekend we were transported around Keystone on their free shuttle service. You simply call them from your condo, the restaurant, a shop, and they come and pick you up and drop you off anywhere in Keystone. I never waited longer than five minutes for a shuttle.
It was a remarkable experience, and not just because of the connections that I made, but also because it was a chance to see my state through new eyes. There were the expected grievances about altitude and dryness, but the attendees who hailed from New York, Los Angeles, Maine, Florida, Denmark, Germany and beyond, were in awe of the beauty of Colorado.
I heard lots of comments about the sunshine, and I think many of the conference goers expected the weather to be colder and more arctic-like. After all, when I moved here thirteen years ago, I’m pretty sure my parents thought I would be living in an igloo. Folks outside of Colorado have no idea that we get over 300 days of sunshine every year.
While the visitors did blame everything from sore feet to fatigue on the altitude (much to my amusement), overall Colorado shone during TBEX, and I was proud to call myself a Coloradan at the event.
As Coloradans, we generally wake up to sunshine every morning, and most of us experience the majesty of the Rocky Mountains every day without giving it much thought. Seeing Colorado through new eyes was something I will cherish and remember for a long time, and the feeling of pride I had during and after TBEX is something I will carry with me forever.