Colorado Dominates List of Best Places to Work for Outdoorsy Types

Colorado-based companies dominated Outside Magazine’s annual list of best places to work Thursday, with companies based in Boulder, Denver, and the Denver suburbs taking three of the top five and five of the top 10 spots.

The list includes some tech companies that are familiar names, like ninth-ranked Gnip and 24th-ranked Rally Software (NYSE: RALY). Others, like second-ranked Zen Planner, aren’t well known outside Colorado.

Outside placed 27 Colorado companies on the list of 100.

Companies in the Mile High State take the rankings pretty seriously, as I relearn every year from the barrage of media releases and tweets from the winners who want to tout their ski trips, rock climbing walls, on-site health clubs, and yoga classes.

Because the list is a pretty big deal to locals, Colorado companies did so well, it was an overcast day—and, ironically perhaps, I’m not the outdoorsy type—I stayed in and condensed all the Colorado companies into one list, below. It compiles the companies and gives their rankings, the location of their headquarters, employee headcount, and a very brief description of what they do.

Be sure to head over to Outside’s slideshow if you want more information. It includes blurbs that describe the benefits and perks and what kind of jobs the companies have open.

Obviously not all the companies are tech companies, at least in the traditional sense. However, a few of the “non tech” companies are apparel or outdoor equipment makers that rely on high tech fabrics, materials, or manufacturing processes. The distinction is a bit arbitrary, and Outside doesn’t categorize the companies by industry.

Also, many of the non-tech companies on the list are looking for user-experience developers, coders, IT managers, and the like.

The data here was compiled by Outside, which worked with the Best Companies Group and the Outdoor Industry Association (which is based in Boulder) to rank and vet the companies.


Zen Planner (2), Highlands Ranch, 24 employees. Develops management software for fitness related companies.

ReadyTalk (5), Denver, 176 employees. Makes audio- and web-conferencing tools.

Blue Tent Marketing (8), Carbondale, 34 employees. Internet marketing.

Gnip (9), Boulder, 65 employees. Collects public postings from social media sites.

TrackVia (14), Denver, 39 employees. Provides tools clients can use to make their own business apps.

Training Peaks (21), Boulder, 48 employees. Develops software to track athletic training.

Rally Software Development (24), Boulder, 393 employees. Makes cloud-based software development and project management tools for use in agile software development.

Orbotix (29), Boulder, 36 employees. Makes Sphero, the robotic ball controlled by a smartphone.

Pellucid Analytics (44), Boulder, 16 employees. Develops technology and offers consulting for the investment banking industry.

Namaste Solar (63), Boulder and Denver, 80 employees. Develops and installs solar energy systems.

Rocky Mountain Institute (77), Boulder and Steamboat Springs, 71 employees. Think tank and consulting firm focused on environmental issues.

Mercury Payment Systems (89), Durango, 705 employees. Developer of custom payment processing systems.

Spectra Logic (94), Boulder, 437 employees. Makes tape- and disk-based data storage systems.


Groundfloor Media (1), Denver, 15 employees. Boutique public relations firm that represents clients like Qdoba and Oskar Blues Brewery.

New Belgium Brewery (17), Fort Collins, 484 employees. Craft brewer.

Human Movement (19), Louisville, 41 employees. Organizes athletic events like the Ugly Sweater Run.

Global Works (22), Boulder, 21 employees. Organizes trips for community-services and language-focused travelers.

Boa Technology (33), Denver, 68 employees. Makes a steel lace closure system for footwear, medical equipment, and prosthetics.

Spyderco (42), Golden, 59 employees. Designs and manufactures high tech and ergonomic knives.

Natural Habitat Adventures (48), Boulder, 32 employees. Travel company that leads trips to natural destinations that’s 100 percent carbon neutral.

Sterling-Rice Group (62), Boulder, 109 employees. Marketing company.

Honey Stinger (72), Steamboat Springs, 42 employees. Makes honey-based energy products.

Backbone Media (82), Carbondale, 27 employees. Marketing for outdoor companies and tourism industry.

Leisure Trends Group (84), Boulder, 51 employees. Consumer research and market intelligence for athletic and outdoor apparel and equipment makers.

SmartWool (86), Steamboat Springs, 93 employees. Makes smart wool apparel.

Aspen Skiing Company (90), Aspen, 919 employees. Operates Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass ski resorts.

Big Agnes (99), Steamboat Springs, 37 employees. Makes water-repellent tents and sleeping bags.

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