Peaks and Valleys | Sports Destination Management

Peaks and Valleys

Mar 01, 2024 | By: Cindy Cantrell

The distinctive geological features of the Mountain Region have a long history of appreciation. In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant created Yellowstone National Park in an effort to preserve its geysers and other unique features. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt formed the US Forest Service to protect and maintain bird, game and other wildlife habitats. Today, the regionís trademark rocky terrain and wide open spaces continue to offer a myriad of recreational opportunities set against a backdrop of awe-inspiring beauty.

Boise, Idaho

Boise, ID | Photo courtesy of Visit Boise
Boise, ID  |  Photo courtesy of Visit Boise

Boise, Idaho is the place to push athletic limits and find escape.

The trademark blue turf of Albertsons Stadium beckons fans of Boise State University football and the annual Idaho Potato Bowl, while Idaho Central Arena hosts the Big Sky Conference Men’s & Women’s Basketball Championships.

The Idaho Central Aquatic Center, which opened last year, was selected as the site of the USA Swimming Age Group Western Zone Championships in 2023-24. Other major events include the USA Gymnastics Level 9 Western Championships, US Youth Soccer Far West Regionals, USA BMX Gem State Nationals and USA Climbing YETI Nationals.

According to Visit Boise Sports Sales Manager Lucas Gebhart, visitors also enjoy the vibrant downtown just minutes from the Boise Airport, along with easy access to hundreds of bike and foothill trails.

“We are quickly emerging in the national sports landscape,” Gebhart says. “Our climbing national was the biggest Boise has ever hosted, and we hope to bring similar events to Boise in the coming years.”

Gallup, New Mexico

Gallup, NM | Photo courtesy of Visit Gallup
Gallup, NM  |  Photo courtesy of Visit Gallup

Gallup, New Mexico is a paradise for those seeking the ultimate in outdoor adventure.

Amid painted deserts and stunning mountain vistas, the dramatic red rocks offer rock climbing, world-class hiking and biking trails.

Amenities at the Gallup Sports Complex include fields for baseball, football and soccer. The Red Rock Park Arena hosts rodeo events, while the 300-acre Gallup ATV/OHV Park has a 1.2-mile track and 10 miles of ATV trails.

Family-friendly events include the Red Rock Balloon Rally, Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial, the monthly Gallup Arts Crawl and local craft fairs featuring exquisite Native American art.

“Gallup is home to some of the best sporting events in the nation, hosted in the most stunning atmosphere you can find,” says Matt Robinson, tourism and marketing manager at Visit Gallup.

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs, CO | Courtesy of Switchbacks FC
Colorado Springs, CO  |  Courtesy of Switchbacks FC

Colorado Springs, Colorado is steeped in competition as the site of approximately 60 national and international sports organizations, including 25 NGBs, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the Colorado Springs Olympic & Paralympic Training Center.

The William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center is nestled on the campus of the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, while the 3,400-seat Ed Robson Arena located on Colorado College’s campus offers exceptional, flexible event space. Weidner Field, which hosts the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, features 111,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.

Some events held in Olympic City USA include The Broadmoor Winter Polo Classic, USA Weightlifting Nationals, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and the Pikes Peak APEX.

“Colorado Springs offers an unrivaled combination of stunning scenery, flexible venues and a robust sports ecosystem, making us the ideal destination for your event,” says Cheryl McCullough, senior director of sports and events for Visit Colorado Springs.

Future Legends Sports Complex in Windsor, Colorado

Windsor, CO | Photo courtesy of Future Legends Sports Complex
Windsor, CO |  Photo courtesy of Future Legends Sports Complex

The Future Legends Sports Complex in Windsor, Colorado is the premier destination for sports and events geared to all abilities and ages.

Open as of 2023, the 118-acre elite facility features the 6,500-seat TicketSocket Park, which is home to the Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC, Northern Colorado Rain FC and Northern Colorado Owlz.

The complex also features the 2,500-seat Future Legends Field and multiple baseball/softball diamonds. A 96-foot-high, 167,000-square-foot dome encloses a full-sized synthetic turf field for soccer, flag football and lacrosse, as well as a sport court ideal for volleyball, basketball, pickleball and more.

Located 45 minutes from Denver International Airport, the comprehensive facility additionally offers onsite training facilities, a 64-room dormitory, top-rated hotels and a range of restaurants, retail and shopping outlets. Outside of Future Legends, the Windsor Art & Heritage Center, museums, parks and nature trails beckon.

“We offer an experience unlike any other for athletes and their families alike,” says Casey Katofsky, executive director of operations at Future Legends Sports Complex.

Casper, Wyoming

Casper, WY | Photo courtesy of Visit Casper
Casper, WY  |  Photo courtesy of Visit Casper

Casper, Wyoming has the venues, lodging and experience to make your sporting event the best it can be.

The 28,000-square-foot Ford Wyoming Center is a diverse, multi-purpose venue that has hosted the Professional Bull Riders Tour, College National Finals Rodeo, NJCAA Volleyball Championships, monster truck events and Wyoming high school state basketball, volleyball, wrestling, spirit and dance competitions.

Casper Mountain, which has 32 miles of regularly groomed trails, additionally offers snowshoeing, snowmobiling, snowboarding and cross-country and downhill skiing. The Casper Mountain Trails Center has been the site of the Bear Bait 8 Mountain Bike Race and Wyoming High School Nordic ski races.

In addition, the city’s North Platte River has been voted year after year among the top three best trout fishing destinations in the world.

“With stunning landscapes, enviable local dining, an easily accessible location on Interstate 25 and a safe and welcoming community, Casper is ideal to host your athletic event,” says Luke Gilliam, director of sales and development at Visit Casper.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls, SD | Photo courtesy of Experience Sioux Falls
Sioux Falls, SD  |  Photo courtesy of Experience Sioux Falls

Sioux Falls, South Dakota has the right facility to make your event stand above the rest.

Within the 500-acre Sanford Sports Complex, the Sanford Pentagon has 160,000 square feet of space accommodating basketball, volleyball, mixed martial arts, wrestling, cheer and dance, concerts and special events.

The Sanford Fieldhouse, a multi-use indoor athletic facility, is home to Sanford Sports Performance. The Sanford Diamonds features 10 new synthetic turf fields (five each for baseball and softball) while eight multi-purpose synthetic turf fields at Sanford Crossing are ideal for lacrosse, football and other sports.

The Denny Sanford PREMIER Center hosted the 2023 Cinch Playoffs Governor’s Cup, the richest rodeo in South Dakota history with a $1 million purse. This year, the Girls Tier II 14U division of the USA Hockey Youth, Girls and High School National Championships takes place at SCHEELS IcePlex.

“With all the attractions of a major metropolitan area, along with easy accessibility to other large Midwest markets, you’ll score big in Sioux Falls,” says Brandon Vant Hul, sales manager of Experience Sioux Falls.

Billings, Montana

Billings, MT | Photo courtesy of Visit Billings
Billings, MT  |  Photo courtesy of Visit Billings

With so many well-appointed facilities, award-winning restaurants and comfortable accommodations, the visiting team is always eager to make the trip to Billings, Montana.

MetraPark, a multi-facility event venue, includes the 77,400-square-foot Expo Center, 28,800-square-foot Montana Pavilion and 10,000-seat First Interstate Arena with multiple options for event spaces.

The 2,000-seat First Interstate Court at Fortin Education Center is home of the Montana State University Billings men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams. Alterowitz Gymnasium features a 4,000-seat arena, an indoor track, racquetball courts and weight room facilities. Landon’s Miracle Field, which opened in 2022, will host events during the 2024-26 State Games for Special Olympics.

“We truly have something special to offer anyone coming to compete, or those enjoying the spirit of competition, here in Billings,” says Evan Decker, sports tourism manager at Visit Billings. “Our excellent facilities and world-class amenities rival other great sports destinations, but our Montana hospitality and access to adventure in Big Sky country set us apart.”

Surprise, Arizona

Surprise, AZ | Photo courtesy of City of Surprise
Surprise, AZ  |  Photo courtesy of City of Surprise

Surprise, Arizona boasts an all-star line-up of exceptional amenities, first-rate shopping and entertainment, enviable weather and a lively Southwestern lifestyle.

Within the award-winning Surprise Recreation Campus, Surprise Stadium is the spring training home of the Kansas City Royals and the 2023 World Series Champion Texas Rangers. The 25-court Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, a recipient of the USTA Facility of the Year award, hosts numerous USTA National Championships and junior, college, senior and league tournaments.

Surprise is also the home of Ottawa University Arizona and its range of varsity sports. Additional offerings include a comprehensive aquatics center, lush golf courses, a five-acre urban fishing lake, scenic hiking and biking in White Tank Mountain Regional Park, the family-friendly Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium and convenient access to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

“Surprise is a vibrant, growing city that attracts visitors time and time again,” says Kendra Pettis, the city’s sports and tourism director. “Choose your adventure and find your Surprise!” SDM

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