Mountain Alliance: Work-Anywhere Fever Reaches New Heights

Tahoe Mill coworking

Not so long ago we reported on the launch of a new coworking space in the Olympic ski resort of Whistler. Now it seems more workspace operators are following suit. Not only that, but some are also banding together as part of a new ‘mountain’ alliance.

Six U.S. coworking spaces in mountain resorts across California, Wyoming and Colorado have come together as the Mountain Coworking Alliance, offering reciprocal membership passes to workspace users. Their target market is predominantly “travelling workers and skiers”, and anyone who wants the chance to combine work and leisure in spectacular surroundings.

They’re not the first group of coworking spaces to club together. Five coworking spaces in St Louis have recently come together as the League of Independent Workspaces, while similar alliances have been formed in Boulder, San Diego, Atlanta, and more.

Most of these groups are brought together by location. But in the case of Mountain Coworking Alliance, it’s the lifestyle that forms the glue.

“We’re really seeing an explosion of people coming to the mountains to play, and also wanting a place to get work done,” says Megan Michelson, co-founder of Tahoe Mill Collective in California (pictured) – one of the Mountain Alliance members.

“The rise in co-working spaces in ski towns in Tahoe, Colorado and Jackson Hole is giving people an opportunity to have affordable, collaborative and productive spaces to work while living or visiting the mountains,” she added.

Some skiers and snowboarders plan multiple trips within one ski season to different resorts. The Alliance has capitalised on this trend by offering memberships – and an introductory free pass – at each location within its multi-site portfolio.

Always-on lifestyle

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As a sign of our always-on, hyperconnected lifestyles, some busy professionals see resort workspaces like this as a chance to keep in touch with the office during a holiday. Indeed, ADT released survey results in August 2014 that found some disturbing – but not altogether surprising – holiday trends of small business owners:

  • 55% said they never travel without their phone so that they can check in on the business while they’re away.
  • 44% call, text or email their business every day while on vacation.
  • 25% feel nervous about something happening to their business while away.

The rise of mobile technology is both a blessing and a curse.

But while study after study attacks the mobile working ‘always on’ culture as bad for the health, holiday resorts that offer workspaces might in fact help to turn the tables. After all, for those business owners who can work remotely – providing they have a suitable work environment – what’s to stop them extending their break into a longer working holiday?

All things considered, we may be approaching a climate whereby, given the flexibility of work locations, clients can now choose their workspace based primarily on lifestyle choices. And if any demographic is going to make it happen, a collective of mountain adventurers will happily blaze the trail.

“Mountain towns are dynamic places that have always attracted risk takers and adventurers who push the limits on the trails as well as in business,” says Amy Kemp, co-founder of ELEVATE in Frisco, Colorado. “They’re exciting and inspiring place to be. The challenge is – we haven’t had a gathering spot or way to focus all of these great ideas and connect our local community with our visitors in a meaningful, productive way.

“Now we do. Coworking is the solution.”

The Mountain Coworking Alliance officially opens on 1st November 2014.

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