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Costumes—The New Networking Icebreaker

By M+E Staff

Santas Here, Santas There, Santas Everywhere

It’s funny how wearing a costume can change someone’s persona. I took part in Santa Ski for the third time at my local ski hill, Colorado’s Crested Butte Mountain Resort. With about 800 Santas swooshing down the mountain at once, you have to be a little careful merging into the sea of red and ideally finding a spot on the side. After my cheap felt Santa suit fell apart from a wipeout or two last year, it hit the trash can and my friend, Kathy, created an amazing Rudolph costume that she invited me to debut this year. Being the only reindeer—and Rudolph no less—resulted in a lot of cheering, photos and fun interactions with kids and adults. Who knew? And, for those who wanted to wear their costumes more and meet even more people, there also was a Santa Pub Crawl.


Craig Johnson and Lannie Scopes, the former Salt Lake City advertising and marketing executives behind Hired Guns, put on their 1890s cowboy attire first as singers and songwriters and then turned it into a full-time gig by offering unique leadership and branding workshops and serving as professional “howdiers,” emcees and Wild West show organizers. Watch for a profile article about the Hired Guns in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Mountain Meetings.

Takin’ it Back to the ‘70s

When Bud Light staged its Whatever USA in Crested Butte in 2014, I’ll never forget going into one of the meeting rooms at the host hotel and seeing it filled with 1970s clothing and accessories. The 500 winners and their guests—who were flown in for the weekend—selected their own outfits for a monumental dance party with KC and The Sunshine Band at Big Mine Ice Arena. Seeing the crowd decked out and milling about the town’s historic district confirmed how costumes can break the ice. Whatever USA returned for an encore the following year on Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles.

Whether it’s an ugly sweater holiday party or a 1950s-themed gala, have fun with costumes but make it easy and non-threatening for attendees. Small costume-related gifts can be part of swag bags and racks of boas, jackets, hats and more can be loaned out and collected before the evening is over. Western themes are always easy with people wearing their own jeans, jean jackets, bandanas and boots. Best-dressed prizes can take up the effort a notch, perhaps even as teams.

The sky is the limit, just know your attendees and what they are comfortable with and seek out the right gathering to make costumes an appropriate and fun addition. If costumes don’t seem like the right approach, incorporate animals in some way like bringing a photo of your favorite pet, doing a community service project with the local animal shelter or interacting with animals at a zoo or preserve. Hanging out in mountain towns and cities with my black Lab, Sasha, has created countless conversations!