The next morning, we divided into groups of four, each assigned a spiffy new Europcar rental to pilot through the Alps to St. Moritz, two-time host to the Winter Olympics and a summer destination known for its lake and thermal baths. Along the way, we made stops on our proscribed path to log answers to team challenges, but mostly we just reveled in the fact that we were driving, in gloriously bright sunshine, through high Alpine terrain.
After a stop in St. Moritz, the rally continued on to another uniquely Swiss venue, the charmingly rustic Morteratsch Alpine cheese dairy, which welcomes groups from mid-June thru October. Not only can attendees watch cheese being made by traditional methods, they can enjoy plates heaped with an assortment of fruits, cheeses and desserts; the venue can accommodate up to 120 for a banquet. After a few more challenges, we made our way to our next layover, in Pontresina. There, the 112-room Grand Hotel Kronenhof is an Old World, five-star grand dame that plays host not only to meeting and incentive groups, but the rich and famous who come to indulge in the hotel's renowned thermal baths and spa.
If I've saved any superlatives, it's for our final night banquet, where our group boarded a cable car that took us up and away, over fields, over the treeline, high into the Alps, and finally to a magnificent Alpine dinner/reception venue at the summit, perched above a glacier. There, at the Berghaus Diavolezza, we were met with glasses of delicious Swiss wine and steaming fondue pots aromatic with melted cheese. The view was 360 degrees of divine. There was only one thing that could top that experience: There, atop an Alp, the North American team was deemed victorious — we would be bringing the Trophy home. The contest had been delightful, but the real winner was Switzerland, which had showcased her offerings so engagingly to groups of meeting professionals from around the world.