Colorado companies dominate Outside Magazine's 50 Best Places to Work, 2011

Take your job and shove it: Seven companies from Colorado made the cut this year in Outside Magazine's annual 50 Best Places to Work list, released this week and published in the magazine's September 2011 issue -- including the top four spots on the list. Natural Habitat Adventures, a Boulder-based adventure-travel operator, took the top spot thanks to job perks like annual wildlife safaris around the world. Unfortunately, "The Nature People" are not hiring at the moment, unlike all of the other local companies on the list.

Another Boulder company -- Environmental Management and Planning Solutions, Inc. (EMPSi) -- came in at number two. The consulting firm specializes in "natural-resource and recreation planning, environmental-impact analysis, biological surveys, wetland delineations, stream and land restoration, permitting, visual simulations, economic analysis, geographic information systems, and public outreach and facilitation," and manages to make that sound less boring with "Wow" bonuses, a profit-sharing plan and flexible hours to, for example, "allow staff to ski in the morning." Ready to submit your resume? Start here.

Boulder rounds out the top three with the Sterling-Rice Group, an ad firm that boasts it has never had layoffs in 27 years of business, recession-be-damned. SRG keeps its employees stoked with profit-sharing plans, flextime hours, subsidized membership plans at the nearby One Boulder Fitness athletic club and chair massages in the office every Friday. If that shoulder massage is sounding pretty good right now, here's the goods on how to get the gig.

Denver's Boa Technology cracks the list at #4, and they're hiring, too. The company's cable-based closure systems have transformed snowboard boot technology and are also used in trail-running shoes, light hikers, ski boots, arm braces, hats, backpacks and more. Job perks include profit-sharing, swag and an annual $500 "health and wellness" bonus to put toward your ski pass or other essential expenses. For more on the company, check out our 2010 interview with Boa marketing manager Garett Graubins from the showroom floor at the SIA Snow Show.

Other Colorado companies on the list include:

  • Fort Collins' New Belgium Brewing at #13 (in addition to flextime and fitness perks and, yes, beer, New Belgium employees get a trip to old Belgium after celebrating five years with the company, "to experience the liquid culture that inspired New Belgium's creation").
  • Cortez-based Osprey Packs at #29 (profit-sharing, health club memberships, ski passes and more, including a free bike at your one-year anniversary).
  • And Steamboat Springs' Smartwool at #42 ("No meetings are allowed after noon, so the team can grab their bikes and hit the trails early... Employees are also encouraged to partake in the 'powder clause' that allows employees to get out and enjoy first tracks whenever there is fresh powder on the ski hills").

Oh, and for what it's worth, though we didn't make the Outside list despite having a world-renowned marijuana journalist, a stoke-ologist and a pigeon racer on our team, (plus plenty of awesome perks of our own), Westword is hiring, too.

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Colin Bane
Contact: Colin Bane