In 2008, New Belgium Brewery (#2 on our list) employees Lora Heckman (planning and design), KC McCuiston (facilities), and Jason Trujillo (quality assurance) looked out at the company's 50-acre property in Fort Collins, Colorado, and thought, Hey, we could put a great cyclocross course here. So they did. "I'm sure someone looked into insurance," says media relations director Bryan Simpson, "but we broke the trail pretty quickly." Three years later, staffers take spins during the workday and host a six-week public race series in the fall. Bocce, yoga, and beach volleyball are other popular diversions. "It's harder for the production folks to peel away from the line," notes Simpson, "but they have a Ping-Pong table in there."
It's a well-known fact that healthier employees save businesses money. But many of our Best Places to Work go far beyond the standard treadmill-and-weights corporate gym with exceptional on-site facilities, wellness programs, and reimbursements for ski passes, gym memberships, and race-entry fees. The Team Sports Committee at Alaskan Brewing Company (#17) helped a group of employees train for and climb Mount Rainier, where they planted the company banner on the summit. Nutritional-supplements manufacturer USANA Health Sciences (#13) offers a 2,000-square-foot gym that's open 24 hours a day, with a basketball court and classes such as Zumba and CrossFit. At Smith Optics (#4), the staff has a locker room and gear room, and the president encourages employees to skip work on big snow days. "You get a ton of grief for not taking advantage," says PR manager Greg Randolph.
And then there's Clif Bar & Company (#3), whose offerings are almost hard to believe: personal training, massages, nutritional counseling, a fully equipped gym, a spring-loaded wooden floor in the yoga room, a menu of 32 fitness classes (including off-site options like surfing lessons), and two and a half hours of paid workout time per week. It's amazing they have any of their products left to sell.