California Meetings + Events Magazine

Team-Building Gets a Makeover With 6 New Experiences

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The very idea of team-building activities can leave some meeting attendees rolling their eyes in anticipation of the forced conviviality. Challenged to keep ahead of the curve, meeting planners are relying on resorts and outside vendors to create fresh challenges that provide meaningful takeaways.

Here are six outside-thebox team-building experiences that are guaranteed to engage everyone, even those skeptical veterans of one too many “Iron Chef”-type competitions.

Squaw Valley in the Spotlight for the World Cup Ski Racing

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When Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows was tapped to host its first World Cup ski event since 1969, the fear was that there wouldn’t be enough snow to sustain the icy, rock-hard course required for top-circuit ski racing by the governing International Ski Federation (FIS). 

Instead, after four years of drought, the major challenges turned out to be too much snow, as in about 50 feet—a near record—by the time the Audi FIS World Cup competition rolled around on March 9-12. 

Experience the Production of Olive Oil, from Branch to Bottle

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The farm-to-fork movement has sparked great interest among American consumers about the origins of the food they eat, and olive oil is trending to the top of the awareness scale. Retail outlets dispensing dozens of varieties from shiny, stainless steel tanks have popped up all over the state, along with tasting bars where servers describe flavor profiles and laud the health benefits of one of humankind’s oldest foodstuffs.

But, until now, consumers were missing a big part of the picture: a behind-the-scenes visit to the farm!

Meet in the Fast Lane at Carson’s Porsche Experience Center

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Porsche roared into Southern California recently with the opening of the German car manufacturer’s Porsche Experience Center (PEC) in Carson. A car lover’s Disneyland, the PEC can turn a corporate meeting into a true driving adventure

Signature Drink: Lila Downs

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This is the kind of cocktail you don’t want to attempt to reproduce at home. To create that rosemary mint foam you will need both a nitrous-oxide whipper and an eyedropper (to dispense precisely two drops of rosemary essential oil). It’s the type of complex specialty drink you can find only at specialty bars, in this case the newcomer Mezcal Bar, which is tucked behind a curtain at the West Hollywood restaurant Laurel Hardware, and features nearly 100 different Mezcals sourced from more than 50 distillers.

Meet Wayne Fernandez, The Streamliner

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Ever since he was a teenaged event manager in Melbourne, Australia, Wayne Fernandez has sought ways to work leaner, faster and bigger. Today he has dual roles as general manager of the Magic Box at the Reef, a downtown Los Angeles venue and small convention center with over 100,000 square feet of event space, and head of Curated Events, his event production company. Efficiency matters more than ever to him, and with his proprietary cost- and time-saving software, Exhibitor Management Tool, Fernandez is out to streamline how events are planned, managed and invoiced.

Event Snapshots: Sacramento/Sierra Nevada MPI Goes Tropical for Annual Fundraiser

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The Sacramento/Sierra Nevada Chapter of Meeting Professionals International took “Parrothead” as the theme of its annual crab-feed fundraiser held Feb. 1 at the Dante Club in Sacramento. Garratt Wilkin & The Parrotheads, a Jimmy Buffett tribute band, provided musical entertainment, and many guests dressed in appropriately tropical garb. 

It's All Happening Downtown in California's Urban Centers

New hotels: check! Updated arenas and convention centers: check! Restaurants offering every global cuisine imaginable: check! Urban parks with sprawling outdoor space: check! And everything within walking distance to make planning multiday events easier: absolutely!

California’s varied downtown areas are thriving. Here’s a look at the urban renaissance, from south to north.

SAN DIEGO

Horton Plaza Park Restored to Glory

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