• Ideas for Holiday Celebrations in the Mountains

     
    POSTED December 18, 2017
     

    Santa Ski at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Courtesy of Beth Buehler.

  • Ideas for Holiday Celebrations in the Mountains

     
    POSTED December 18, 2017
     

    Santa Ski at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Courtesy of Beth Buehler.

  • Ideas for Holiday Celebrations in the Mountains

     
    POSTED December 18, 2017
     

    Host an après ski beer tasting at a local microbrewery. Courtesy of Beth Buehler.

  • Ideas for Holiday Celebrations in the Mountains

     
    POSTED December 18, 2017
     

    Schweitzer Mountain Resort's Sky House. Courtesy of Schweitzer. 

Recently, a good friend traveled to a corporate Christmas party in Vail that was hosted by her husband’s employer. I’ve gone to a similar gathering at The Peaks Resort & Spa in Telluride, and it certainly was one of the most fun work holiday parties I’ve attended to date. It made me think of how special it is to get staff away for time in the mountains. All of a sudden it’s “we get to go …” instead of “we have to go…”

Here’s a few ideas to make holiday celebrations in the mountains extra memorable.

Integrate a community service twist. Not long ago, I wrote about an engineering services company holding its holiday party in the mountains and having CBST Adventures organize a family activity to build 15 holes of miniature golf with $5,000 worth of nonperishable food that was distributed to good causes. 

Book a truly unique venue. Maybe it’s a large mountain home available for rent or a mountaintop lunch or dinner reached by gondola, snowcat, skis or snowshoes. I love Schweitzer Mountain Resort’s Sky House that was introduced last ski season. Even non-skiers and non-snowboarders can go there during the day with a foot passenger lift ticket.

See what local holiday happenings are underway. Mountain towns tend to have things already planned for the holidays, whether it is a tree-lighting ceremony, Santa Ski, torchlight parade on the slopes, or holiday art walk that goes between galleries and attractions in a charming downtown district. Consider scheduling a holiday gathering in tandem with the local calendar.

Plan memorable activities. Maybe it is night skiing and snowboarding that wraps up with a gourmet hot chocolate and hot toddy bar and appetizers. A snowshoe or sleigh excursion to a yurt in the woods for fondue and a spa day with peppermint- and pine-scented mini or full-length treatments are sure to keep everyone happy and engaged.

Get creative with gifts. If you are going to be outdoors, let attendees choose from a selection of hats and gloves upon check in. A hotel’s on-site outfitter can assist. For a turn-down gift, leave hand-warmers, chapstick and trail mix for the next day. Send guests home with local beer or wine, a custom pottery mug with mulling spices for cider, or something that plugs into the weekend’s theme or the company’s brand. Maybe a cozy fleece or faux fur blanket with a logo?

There’s no need to get in a rut with holiday parties just because “we’ve always done it that way.” End the year with something truly special that will get your team jazzed for the new year.

 

As corporate retreats continue to become more experiential, consider a summer camp format for grown-ups.

 

Recently, I’ve noticed the trend of meeting planners looking for a fully customized and personalized event experience, and there’s no better way to accomplish that than buying out an entire resort or hotel with a beautiful setting such as a mountain backdrop. Although a buyout can sound expensive and unobtainable, many ways exist to find flexible rates that will allow companies to book a private retreat while not overdrawing on any budgetary restrictions.