“YEC Escape was probably the best event I have ever been to. The relationships, friendships and knowledge gained over the weekend were truly amazing and priceless. I look forward to future events.” - AK Kurji, CEO of BrandNex.com
Our first YEC Escape was incredible. Members gathered with the YEC team to enjoy an intimate community experience in Eden, Utah.
Featuring confidential fireside chats -- hard business decisions with Jeff Avalon of IdeaPaint, unparalleled IPOs with Jeremy Johnson of 2U and Andela, franchising with Nick Friedman of College Hunks Hauling Junk, and biases in tech with Kathryn Minshew of The Muse -- along with great events, YEC Escape had something for everyone.
Friday kicked off with a casual evening mingle, drinks and dinner sponsored by our partners from AVL Growth. Saturday dawned bright and clear: Some hit the backcountry slopes of Powder Mountain (the largest ski mountain in the U.S.) while others caught up with or made new friends in the stunning Sky Lodge. Built at the top of Powder Mountain, the comfortably equipped Sky Lodge overlooks the entire valley and offers unparalleled vistas of the surrounding mountains. An array of healthy snacks, a collection of delicious drinks and an unrivaled view of the valley were the foundation of the laid-back atmosphere.
Wonderful conversations at 9,000 feet continued below at a rustic lake house; many ventured out for whiskey ice fishing on the frozen lake while others stretched their minds and muscles at ashram yoga. Once everyone had completed their spa and wellness treatments -- ranging from massages to reflexology to sound healing -- we all dove into a dinner cooked by renowned French chef Haru Kishi and served by the YEC team (sponsored by our friends from Dell for Entrepreneurs).
Conversations lasted deep into the evening as guests congregated upstairs by the fireside and mingled in the speakeasy below. A 4-piece band serenaded the cozy downstairs venue while some posed for pictures in the adjacent photo booth and others lounged in the hot tub outside.
Sunday was an adventure in the clouds at Sky Lodge. Some dug deep into conversation while others got close with birds of prey (if you’ve never held an owl the size of your torso, it’s an experience both awesome and terrifying). Crafting, skiing and cooking ruled the afternoon, while connecting with fellow entrepreneurs carried on long after another superb dinner and champagne toasts.
From adventures on the mountainside to a casual breakfast at the YEC team house, this weekend was packed with both relaxation and networking connections. With a no-pressure atmosphere, members mingled freely and laughter flowed. YEC Escape was about new friends, new solutions to business challenges and most importantly, relaxing and recharging away from the daily grind.
Case in point: Billy Hennessey, President of Qwatro RoyalPak, was spotted running early Saturday morning in the near-freezing cold. When told he was making the rest of us look bad, he said, “I slept for 10 hours last night. I can’t remember the last time that happened.”
Picturesque Eden, Utah was the ideal place to step back from the chaos of running a company. Spending time with such incredible, successful people is invigorating. From sharing the slopes to sharing insider tips, YEC Escape is about trusted community connections. Plus, it’s just fun!
“This was by far the most valuable thing I have done for myself as an entrepreneur in my career thus far.... After this trip, I now have at least 15 people who I could call or text directly for help and/or advice. That is by far the most precious gift I have ever been given,” said Nina Ojeda, founder of the avenue west.
The weekend was so wonderful that we’re already planning another -- this time a summer retreat, where we can take advantage of the warm lake and sunny mountains to drive monster trucks, ride horses, swim, picnic, hike and just generally get out into nature and once again decompress. Combining adventure, relaxation and connecting with the coolest entrepreneurs imaginable sounds like a perfect weekend, no?
Cool people doing cool things: Maybe it’s the mountain air, but this retreat inspired us to find new ways to help and serve as an extension of our members’ teams. Members should keep an eye out at resources.yec.co for our ever-expanding offerings, and start getting pumped for YEC Escape Summer 2015!