Denver Delivers
Business Traveller India|December 2017

Lively attractions and easy access to the Rocky Mountains make the Colorado capital well worth your time.

 

Philip Watson

Friday morning at 7.30am, the Crawford hotel, downtown Denver. I am in the epicentre of the city; the elegant hotel forms part of the recent redevelopment of the historic Union Station terminal, at one time the main railway hub for the Colorado capital. I’m waiting for the lift to take me down for breakfast in one of the 1914 Beaux-Arts building’s many buzzing cafés and restaurants.

Because of the hotel’s unrivalled location, and the hour, I expect the doors to open to a fellow business traveller, or maybe a jet-lagged tourist. I do not expect to see a young couple in full, colour-coordinated ski gear, complete with skis, poles, boots, gloves, goggles, helmets and Go Pro cameras.

They look like they’ve stepped off a ski lift in Switzerland’s upmarket Gstaad — not into an urban US elevator. They tell me a waiting minibus will be whisking them and some friends off to the Loveland Ski Area, 90km and about an hour and a half west of the “Mile-High City”, in the glorious Rocky Mountains.

If it was a weekend during the ski season, they wouldn’t even need the private shuttle — they could take the newly relaunched ski train direct from Union Station to another popular Denver ski destination, Winter Park, a couple of hours away.

BOOM TOWN

In many ways, my “ski lift” experience is emblematic of a city that is thrillingly active and wholly surprising. The US Bureau of Statistics ranked Denver as the fastest-growing major city in the US in 2015, and, everywhere you look, it has the feel of a boom town — the cityscape is dominated by cranes and new tower blocks.

The metropolitan area is now home to more than three million people; it’s claimed by Rich Grant and Irene Rawlings in their book 100 Things To Do In Denver Before You Die that “the Mile-High City is growing on average by a thousand new residents a week”.

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