In the coming years, winter sports are going to be extremely popular in Italy. A surge in bookings and an increased interest in related clothing and equipment has been recorded over the past few months, the cause for which is pretty clear: there is palpable excitement for the Winter Olympics of 2026, which are going to be held in Lombardy – between Milan and Cortina D’Ampezzo. So, if you ever wanted to try a winter-sport-based team building, this is the time to do it. From alpine- to cross-country skiing, from snowboarding to ice skating, there are plenty of activities that will make excellent team-building opportunities for your employees. And, if you choose Italy as your destination, you will get closer to that Olympics magic.
How winter sports will help you achieve your team building goals
A cold environment can work as the perfect metaphor for a competitive workplace: it’s definitely stimulating, but it can be overwhelming and exhausting. Even those who enjoy being outdoors in the snow often have to overcome certain difficulties, to cope with the inability to perform normal tasks without being impeded by multiple layers of clothing and with the inevitable sense of tiredness that stems from having burned many more calories than usual. More than anything, to thrive in a cold environment, particularly while performing sporting activities, your employees will need to work on their ability to adapt and to step out of their comfort zone to get the results they want. What could be better team building than this?
Beyond the Winter Olympics
There are plenty of amazing winter sports that can be work excellently as team building activities that do not feature in the Olympics. At the same time, there are Olympic sports, such as figure skating and freestyle skiing, that are too complex and dangerous to be tried out by amateurs for an afternoon or two. We often suggest our clients try a few alternative activities, such as orienteering and Nordic walking, which are safe for everyone – even those who do not regularly exercise – and can help develop invaluable skills such as leadership, creative thinking, team coordination and problem-solving. Not to mention the spectacular photo-ops.
It’s all about metaphors
What’s the difference between taking a hiking trip and engaging in a team-building session? You might not know it, but there is one. Not all team building activities are equal and, depending on the specific needs or your team, certain activities might be highly beneficial, while others might be completely useless. An effective team building activity needs to be an effective metaphor for a situation that has been going on in the workplace, a set of obstacles the team has been struggling with. A team whose members completely trust one another, for instance, will not benefit from an exercise that requires an increased level of trust. On the other hand, a team that struggles with roles and leadership should probably engage in activities such as orienteering and rafting, which can’t be carried out without clearly defined roles and a strict hierarchy.
Keep it light
Above all, however, team building activities should be fun, engaging and interesting. That’s where winter sports come in handy: there is something for everyone and they are usually played in spectacular locations. The beauty of nature, the crisp mountain air, the glistening snow and a cup of hot chocolate at the end of a long day can do wonders for team morale.