Finding Balance Amid the Mountains at Sundance and Provo Orem
Utah Valley is defined by the nature that surrounds it. To the north and east are the giant snow-capped Wasatch Mountains—a looming backdrop that dwarfs the communities lying at their base.
Utah Valley is defined by the nature that surrounds it. To the north and east are the giant snow-capped Wasatch Mountains—a looming backdrop that dwarfs the communities lying at their base. To the west is glacial Utah Lake—the state’s largest freshwater lake. You will also find waterfalls, mountain caves and untouched wilderness that serves as a playground for every kind of outdoor recreation imaginable. In the heart of the valley, 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City, lies Provo, the county seat and home to Brigham Young University. This college town hosts a vast array of shopping, dining, hotels, art galleries, museums, sporting events and nightlife. Travel up the road a little farther, and you will find Sundance Resort, Robert Redford’s year-round mountain retreat that serves as a haven for progressive thinking, artistic expression and outdoor recreation.
Though distinctly different, Provo and Sundance can be combined to create a meeting that will accommodate any need and suit any taste. Stay in Provo and then indulge in an art class, guest lecture or spa treatment at the resort. Or, conversely, hold a retreat at Sundance and then wend your way to Provo to catch a football game or museum tour. You can tailor-make your own meeting with just the right balance of high culture and spectacular nature. And to help you coordinate everything is the Utah Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau (utahvalley.org), ready and waiting at your service.
Secluded and intimate, Sundance Resort (sundanceresort.com) sits on 6,000 wooded acres, ten minutes from Provo at the base of Mount Timpanogos, unobtrusively blending into the surrounding landscape. The resort was founded in 1969 by actor Robert Redford, who designed the low-profile buildings to mesh with the natural environment. (The actor can be seen on the property from time to time.) Although the resort can accommodate small to medium-sized groups (10,000 sq. ft. of meeting space), it prides itself on retaining a cozy mountain-lodge atmosphere that serves as a haven for the budding artist and outdoor enthusiast alike.
With a total population of about 200,000, the Provo/Orem area is best suited for small to medium-sized meetings, Racker says. Provo’s largest meeting venue is the Provo Marriott Hotel and Conference Center (marriott.com), offering 28,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and 330 guest rooms. The McKay Events Center (mckayeventscenter.com) provides 24,000 sq. ft. as a multi-use expo center. Or for a meeting with a historic twist, the Provo City Library at Academy Square (provo.lib.ut.us) houses 4,000 sq. ft. of meeting space in the restored 1892 Brigham Young Academy.
For a truly unique meeting experience, however, take a trip 20 miles north of Provo to Thanksgiving Point (thanksgivingpoint.com) in Lehi. If you want to take your group to the green and play a few rounds of golf, go to the point’s 18-hole, championship-caliber golf course. With 10,000 trees and 55 acres of sand, the Johnny Miller signature Golf Club is ranked as one of the top 10 new golf courses in the country, and the number one public golf club in Utah by Golf Digest. For events, the course’s Club House offers 22,000 sq. ft. of function space.
The Tree Room (801-223-4200), offering seasonal mountain cuisine, is built around the enormous base of a once-live tree.
The Owl Bar (801-223-4222) showcases the resort’s largest historical attraction - a large 1890s-era rosewood bar.
Salt Lake City International Airport (slcairport.com) is served by 13 airlines and has nonstop service to all of Salt Lake City’s top 50 markets. The airport is located 40 minutes away from Provo via I-15. Sundance provides shuttles to Provo, making it easy to spend the afternoon in the city and retreat to the resort at night—or vice-versa.
Mount Timpanogos Cave National Monument - Three natural limestone caverns connected by a network of man-made tunnels.
Museum of Ancient Life - (thanksgivingpoint.com/museum), the world’s largest dinosaur museum.
Utah Lake State Park - State’s largest fresh-water lake.
Bridal Veil Falls - Most challenging climbing around.
Springville Museum of Art - (sma.shs.nebo.edu) Utah’s oldest visual arts museum.