3 Tips to Optimize Winter Event Production

Winter gatherings represent a unique opportunity to strengthen community bonds and celebrate. As the days shorten and temperatures drop, these gatherings foster a sense of belonging that transcends the cold outside.

However, organizing an outdoor event isn’t for everyone; it requires skillfully navigating icy conditions and braving the cold, especially in Canadian winters. The unpredictable nature of winter weather poses challenges for event organizers, not to mention the issues related to climate change.

  • What are the challenges to anticipate in winter event production?
  • What elements need to be put in place to ensure the success of an outdoor event?

TRIBU has been producing winter events for a decade, and after orchestrating five winter events during the 2023-2024 winter season, our team shares some production secrets.

1 – Outdoor Activity Setup: Expertise First

Contingency Plan

When organizing an outdoor event in winter, various scenarios can unfold. One shouldn’t assume that just because it’s Canada, it will be cold with a beautiful blanket of snow; the particularly warm winter of 2024 is a good example. Winter is unpredictable: one can encounter extreme temperatures, blizzards, freezing rain, snowstorms, or even rain. Anything is possible.

Hence, it’s essential to include solutions for every weather scenario in contingency plans. This allows us to adapt quickly and make necessary adjustments to ensure participants’ safety and enjoyment. This contingency plan is shared with the entire field team before each event, with a clear distribution of tasks.

Supplier Selection

Regardless of the project or conditions, it’s essential to surround oneself with the right people. In the case of an outdoor winter event, it’s particularly crucial to choose suppliers accustomed to winter conditions.

Their expertise and suitable equipment reduce weather-related risks and ensure efficient setup and maintenance.


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Material Selection

Selecting materials capable of withstanding the rigors of winter is also crucial for ensuring the success of the event. For example, using iPads or point-of-sale (POS) devices outdoors can present challenges due to cold and humidity, leading to malfunctions.

“If your event includes an outdoor bar, it’s crucial to consider weather conditions and have adequate facilities for storing products. For example, if the bar is in a container, it must be heated, or you need to provide a space where products like beer or items sensitive to freezing can be stored.” – Justine Bousquié, Project Production Manager

Sliding at All Costs

Most winter activities are designed on snow or ice, whether it’s snowboarding, skiing, sledding, snow skating, or ice skating. But as mentioned earlier, Mother Nature can be capricious.

If the event requires snow, we advise waiting as long as possible before bringing snow to the site. This minimizes the time the snow is exposed to warmer or colder temperatures. Transporting snow in a truck specially designed to maintain cool conditions can also help preserve its quality until it’s used on-site.

It’s equally essential to plan equipment for maintaining the snow throughout the event duration. For our APIK event, for example, we have a team on the track throughout the competitions to maintain the course in optimal conditions for the competition.

It’s essential and relentless work: after each run, our teams rework the snow, fill in holes, etc.

“Once the snow is on-site, it needs constant maintenance to keep it in the best conditions. For example, we can add more with a blower, making sure to crush and pack it to counter ice and too hard snow, or salt it to prevent melting in overly warm conditions,” adds David, project manager.


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Our team was producing the Cité de Glisse at the Quebec Winter Carnival, a new activity where it was possible to slide in three streets (hills) of Quebec City. During these 4 days, winter played tricks on us, and we had warmer days than expected. Obviously, when it’s warmer, the snow slides less.

“We had to adapt our installations to provide the expected experience. We added a container with a rooftop terrace to increase the slope since our planned snow starting platform didn’t meet our expectations due to temperatures. We also installed lattice sheets on the ground to limit snow melting and applied ski wax under the sleds and tubes to improve sliding speed. To satisfy adrenaline enthusiasts, our ambassadors helped by giving an impulse at the start. It’s all about anticipation and adaptation in the field!” – Karine Bélisle, Project Production Manager


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Similar challenges exist for maintaining ice. We know something about it: for a few years now, Human Curling has appeared in the programming of our Barbegazi winter festival. Except in this activity, you are the curling stone sliding on the ice while sitting in an inflatable tube.

“Very hot water helps to have transparent ice! It’s also essential to water in the coldest possible conditions (often at night),” recommends David, project manager.

2 – Gathering in the Cold

Keeping the Audience Warm

One of the initial questions to consider is: how do you attract and maintain the public’s interest on-site during a winter event with negative temperatures?

In terms of communications, there’s extra work to motivate festival-goers to brave winter temperatures. We imagine the festival-goer we’re speaking to is snug on their sofa, and our mission is to motivate them to come play outside with us, even when temperatures are harsh.

Firstly, it’s essential to integrate weather into communication and provide regular reminders about maintaining festivities. In this regard, creating behind-the-scenes content generates excitement and reassures the public about the event’s realization. Also, regularly remind all initiatives that will allow the festival-goer to envision an afternoon outdoors, whether it’s activities open to the public, the possibility to buy hot drinks on-site, accessible indoor spaces, etc.


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Once the festival-goer is on-site, it’s crucial to keep promises and keep them motivated. Here, the crowd animator plays a crucial role; they are the point of contact between the event and the public! It’s their turn to regularly remind the audience of the highlights not to be missed, available activities, replenishment points, etc.

In our events, we like to spoil the public to thank them for their presence; regularly, we throw goodies into the crowd during waiting periods to keep the audience pumped while waiting for the athletes’ return.

3- Staff Management

Nothing new, staff is crucial to an event’s success. But to be honest, the cold can sometimes hinder recruitment.

During BARBEGAZI x WinterPLAY in Fort McMurray, Alberta, we experienced a weather cocktail. Heat, rain, winds followed by extreme cold. In this case, it’s likely that cold warriors to ensure activity success might be harder to keep motivated. So, we offered our team “comfort kits.” These kits can include items such as ponchos, hand warmers, hot drinks, gloves, etc. We also recommend providing a heated space where staff can regularly warm up. This can help prevent colds and maintain the team’s vibe at a high level.

Finally, plan for more break rotations than in a non-winter event. Keeping them moving is essential. If their position isn’t active, there’s nothing stopping you from organizing moments to invite them to ‘move’, a morning dance or trying the proposed activities are simple things that can help boost teams and prevent them from remaining static for long periods. This can also contribute to strengthening teamwork and maintaining a positive work environment despite challenging weather conditions. After all, they are the face of the event!


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It’s clear that organizing winter events presents specific challenges but also unique opportunities for businesses. While they don’t guarantee success alone, these points are valuable assets for any event organizer. The key to success lies in innovation, creativity, and a passion for offering extraordinary experiences, even during the most challenging seasons.

In a world facing increasing challenges from climate change, reducing our environmental footprint in event production becomes an essential priority. In our next article, we will explore strategies to reduce the environmental impact of these winter gatherings while continuing to offer unique and engaging experiences.

In conclusion, winter event production poses its challenges but also unique opportunities to strengthen community bonds and offer memorable experiences. Faced with the unpredictability of winter weather, meticulous planning, anticipating various weather scenarios, and surrounding oneself with suitable suppliers and equipment are essential. Commitment to participant safety and comfort must be at the heart of every decision, while maintaining a high level of innovation and creativity.

Do you have winter projects in 2025? Let’s talk about it.