On the mezzanine level of The Broadmoor’s main building, not far from three Maxfield Parrish paintings depicting the surrounding mountains and around the corner from “Chippewa Indians Playing Checkers” by artist Seth Eastman, is a glass case containing a bottle of Moët & Chandon vintage 1898. It is one of the displays interspersed with works from Broadmoor owner Philip Anschutz’s collection of Western art. As noted on the engraved plaque, the bottle was used to christen the hotel in 1918, a date that heralds the 100th anniversary of the resort.
The Broadmoor is planning a year of centennial celebrations, with each month devoted to a chapter of the hotel’s history. Like the displays, they will tell a colorful tale of the resort and its flamboyant founder, Spencer Penrose. From a riding academy to a skating rink to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Penrose never tired of creating something fun for his guests to do. A hundred years later, his spirit lives on.
Penrose loved the outdoors. In 1923, he purchased Camp Vigil from the Girl Scouts and formed the Pikes Peak Camping & Mountain Trails Association. Today, it’s the location of The Ranch at Emerald Valley. Along with Cloud Camp and Fly Fishing Camp, the resort has opened three wilderness experiences since 2014. You can hike across the valley from the ranch to Cloud Camp, which was built on the foundation of Penrose’s 1927 Cheyenne Mountain Lodge. It’s the kind of place where you can let the world spin without you. Watch the sun rise over the plains from the wraparound deck. Gaze out to Pikes Peak from a hot tub behind your cabin. Sip a Moscow Mule after the flag is lowered at sunset. Views stretch over the plains from the back deck of the exquisite new meeting space, The Overlook, an inspirational setting for a corporate retreat.
Spending a few days at a lodge after the Insurance Leadership Forum is a wonderful way to unwind. If the resort is your base camp, you can enjoy adventures in the surrounding mountains through Broadmoor Outfitters. Two of the newest adventures are zip lining and falconry.
The Broadmoor’s zip lining course has been acclaimed by social media reviewers as thrilling beautiful, even “dope.” Last summer, the Fins Course opened. An extension of the Woods Course that opened in 2015, it has three new lines that represent a remarkable feat of engineering. You cross two suspension bridges to reach a 1,800 foot span of cable, then fly down at 45 miles an hour 449 feet above the canyon floor. The bird’s-eye views of the gorges, mountains and Seven Falls, including two rock formations that look like fins (hence the name), will blow you away.
The falconry program is another very special experience. You walk with the falconer and one of his birds of prey—a Harris hawk or falcon—around a field as the bird casts off and returns from his arm as he explains the “sport of kings.” In the field or at the falconry center, you will meet the other birds (Alice the owl, with her big orange eyes, is a magnificent creature), and have the opportunity to put on a falconry glove so a bird can perch safely on your arm. Quite the photo op.
Penrose also loved food. He was a member of the “Rabbit Club” in Philadelphia, a gourmet social club for gentlemen, which he re-created as The Cooking Club in Colorado. The Broadmoor’s new executive chef, David Patterson, who developed the luxury dining menus at its Wilderness Experience and Restaurant 1858, resurrected the club for guests at Cloud Camp.
Chef Patterson, who spent five years with the acclaimed chef Alain Ducasse, is only the sixth executive chef in the history of the resort. He traces his love of food to his Southern upbringing and helping his grandmother in her garden. “We canned tomatoes, shucked corn and pulled the strings off beans,” Patterson says. “I learned the importance of the focus on ingredients. Alain had been doing it for 30 years. In Monaco, a farmer grew artichokes just for him.”
Ristorante del Lago, where everything is made in-house, including the pasta, is a good example of how Patterson has incorporated ingredient-driven cuisine at The Broadmoor. “If you don’t have good potatoes, you don’t have good gnocchi,” he says. He was one of three chefs that spent a month in Italy sourcing olive oils and cheeses and learning authentic dishes for the restaurant. He is now overseeing 20 kitchens and 250 “white coats,” and is focused on cultivating the talent of the culinary team. “We are developing the balance of homegrown talent with new talent from the outside. It’s a big operation and we need experienced people, but we also need fresh ideas.”
The new talent includes two alumni of The French Laundry, chef Thomas Keller’s iconic restaurant in Napa. Maxwell Robbins, the new chef de cuisine at The Penrose Room, is already incorporating his dishes into the menu, including an exquisite morel mushroom porridge with pan-roasted sweetbreads. Luis Young, the new chef de cuisine at Summit, is expected to make big changes.
As for homegrown talent, Justin Miller, the former chef de cuisine at Ristorante del Lago, is now in charge of groups, where he is positioned to integrate this ingredient-driven philosophy into the banquet program.
“Ultimately, I want to be a part of redefining what five-star is in a resort setting,” says Patterson.
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