EDEN -- Lounging on Mexican blankets, with a view of distant blue mountain ranges in the background, a group of young entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and nonprofit leaders listens to an MIT professor speak with the goal of inspiring the moneyed, hip folk to use their resources and innovation for positive change.
The group of almost 1,000 people from around the country, including many artists and musicians, gathered this weekend to attend Summit Outside, the latest event in the Summit Series, this time at the organizers' new headquarters atop Powder Mountain.
Previous Summit events included Summit Basecamp in Squaw Valley, Calif., Summit at Sea on a cruise ship in the Bahamas and DC10 in Washington.
"It's exciting to do something on Powder Mountain," said Summit founder and CEO Elliott Bisnow. "We've talked about it, being the home of Summit, but it's nice to finally be able to do something."
After registering for the invitation-only event on the valley floor and being shuttled up the mountain, each participant is issued a collapsible three-legged stool and a blue enamel-coated cup that can be clipped to a belt loop.
On the dirt roads, golf carts shaped like insects taxi people around.
For the next 72 hours, most Summit attendees will be sleeping in tents set up on Powder Mountain's future development site.
But by no means are they roughing it. Each tent rests on a raised platform and includes beds. A few folks will have the upgrade option of sleeping in one of a few dozen RVs.
Amenities also include gourmet food from the chef at Forage in Salt Lake City, a gym called Muscle Forest, a sun- and stargazing spot set up by the Ogden Astronomical Society, a barbershop offering hot shaves, and a puppy pen.
Animal shelter Pack 'N Pounce from Ogden brought 20 puppies for attendees to pet and play with. Organizers hope to have all of the puppies adopted by the end of the weekend.
Creative professionals and artists designed the temporary village. It took six weeks and hundreds of man-hours to build, and is meant to follow the eco-friendly ethos of the Summit company, down to the biodegradable utensils at the "Street Food" stand.
"I'm utterly impressed with the infrastructure they have and how light a footprint it is. The respect of the landscape and the detail is really commendable," said Renee Loux, co-founder of skin care company Andalou Naturals.
Along with puppy petting, Summit participants have the opportunity to listen to a variety of speakers, on stage or in small groups, on topics including storytelling, spiritual inspiration, and architecture and construction in post-conflict zones.
Summit spokesman Thayer Walker, who works under the title of chief reconnaissance officer, said this year's theme focuses heavily on education.
Walker said the weekend follows a choose-your-own-adventure format. Attendees are free to meet whomever they want and follow whatever topic they please.
Depending on what the attendees want to do, they can sit in on a discussion on how to get more girls involved in STEM -- science, technology, engineering and math -- education, global macroeconomics or cloud computing.
"They've described it as TED meets Burning Man, and it's not a bad way to describe it," said Ophir Tanz, CEO and founder of online advertising agency GumGum. Burning Man is an annual art and tech-gimmick hipster camp in the Nevada desert. TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a nonprofit with the slogan "ideas worth sharing."
Tanz, who has attended previous Summit events, said it is a great place for other young entrepreneurs to unwind and meet new and interesting people.
The weekend is not only about exchanging heady ideas in salons; it is about hanging out with friends, playing disc golf, taking a yoga class at dawn or dancing the night away to music from top recording artists.
Throughout all of the fun and intellectual pursuits, Summit is also a networking opportunity.
Summit Series gives participants an opportunity to meet other innovators, startup CEOs and venture capitalists.
But along with exchanging contact information, they also take home ideas that can benefit their own companies.
At the same time, by gathering this group of innovators and connecting them with artists and leaders in the nonprofit sector, perhaps some positive change can come of the weekends as well, Summit organizers said.
"The idea is to create a really dynamic place for people to explore intellectual pursuits and ideas to collaborate to create business partnerships, nonprofit partnerships and creative partnerships," Walker said.
But with all of the intellectual pursuits and outdoor activities, Summit weekend is an opportunity to unplug from the world and take a few days off with like-minded people.
Tanz said he has been to plenty of industry conferences that directly affect his job, but he enjoys Summit.
Maybe he comes away with something that will benefit his company, maybe he does not, but at least he had a chance to hang out with his friends and meet new people while spending the weekend atop a mountain.