The Best Winter Team-Building Experiences That Break the Ice

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glass blowing, team building, winter team building, wine blending, mushing
Glass blowing; Photo Credit: Quino Al/Unsplash

Wintertime is here, and if you have an upcoming program in a colder weather environment, you may need to skip the lake kayaking or the ocean surfing for your team-building events.

Team building should be an integral part of your programs, as it gets your attendees working, laughing and talking together while having fun. So, don’t let the winter months stop you from providing your attendees with unique experiences, unforgettable memories and memorable learnings.

Instead, check out these five winter team-building experiences that I’ve had personal success with in the past:

Wine Blending

This unique and memorable experience allows attendees to be a winemaker, circa 1800, complete with the outfit—a long wool coat and top hat. The experience takes place deep in the wine caves of a historic Sonoma, Calif., winery, called Buena Vista. Attendees create an eclectic blend and then choose their favorite to bottle, cork and add a personalized label before departing with their magical elixir. The winery keeps your “recipe” on file and you can order more bottles as you like.

Why I love this: It’s an unforgettable twist on the wine country experience. Why wine taste when you can make the wine yourself? The opportunity to create your own label is also invaluable for brand awareness.

Glass Blowing

You don’t have to go to Murano, Italy, to blow glass. Many cities, such as Asheville, N.C., have artist districts with working glass-blowing studios. Attendees can learn the basics of flame working and glass blowing, and even take their creation home with them. It gets hot in the studio, so it’s the perfect winter activity.

Why I love this: Guaranteed, not many of your attendees have experienced this art form first-hand. I love giving attendees that “first-time ever” experience, and this is one they’ll remember it forever. The team at North Carolina Glass Center is dedicated to educate and exploration—perfect for team-building.

Coffee Tasting

When in Colombia (the country), coffee tasting is king. At San Alberto in Cartagena, Colombia, this unforgettable sensory experience is a must. Attendees will awaken their tact, eyesight, taste and sense of smell while learning all about Colombian coffee—often considered the best in the world. Of course, other parts of the world like Hawaii offer coffee tasting experiences.

Why I love this: The Coffee Baptism class in Colombia is taught by a coffee sommelier, and identifying the smells is a lot tougher than you think. The various brewing devices and how they affect the taste is fascinating. Plus, it’s a local experience that is sure to change the way attendees select and consume coffee. And, don’t forget, a bag of coffee beans makes the perfect takeaway gift.

it’s a local experience that is sure to change the way attendees select and consume coffee.

Cooking Class With a Famous Chef and Author

Cooking is a great way to break the ice. Whether your attendees are preparing a full lunch or dinner with small teams making each course or competing for the best salsa award, you cannot go wrong. The Santa Fe Cooking School of Cooking Salsa Making Contest can be done at their venue—or they will come to you! And, yes, you can make salsa at the hotel pool. Teams work together to produce yummy salsas with assistance from chefs. It’s a great way for the group to work together (and be competitive, too), and get comfortable in the kitchen. The best part is eating the salsas and selecting a winner.

Why I love this: You’d be surprised how many people are not comfortable in the kitchen. This team-building experience encourages group bonding, communication and fosters camaraderie while cooking up fun in a kitchen. And everyone loves food as well as a signed cookbook from the chef.


Nothing illustrates teamwork like mushing. This unique team-building experience takes our attendees out of the hotel ballroom and into the wild. Attendees bond with each other and with the dogs—creating a unique atmosphere. Whether attendees are mushing on the Continental Divide in Alberta, Canada, or mushing with past Iditarod champion sled dogs in Willow, Alaska, this team-building experience is sure to be well-received and remembered.

Why I love this: Dog-sledding is the perfect analogy for teamwork. And again, how many of your attendees have mushed? Giving them that unforgettable first-time experience will be a lifetime memory.

These are just a few of the programs I’ve successfully implemented for my clients’ programs, but what are your favorite wintertime team-building experiences? Comment below or Tweet me @acannistraci to share your tips!

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