How To Embrace Winter With Your Business Clients
Ice fishing on Lake Minnetonka
For out-of-town clients who wonder what really happens in an ice house, a day (or a night) on frozen Lake Minnetonka, the 10th-largest lake in Minnesota, will be a transformative experience. Pick up your clients at their hotel and head out to Mound, the birthplace of Tonka Toys. Pull up to the BP gas station on Shoreline Drive, score some bait, beef jerky and other ice house-appropriate snacks, and meet Gary Vitaliy, founder of Rent 2 Fish. Vitaliy will lead you out on to the ice just beyond Spring Park, right to the door of one of his tricked-out ice houses. After showing how to ignite the propane heat, turn on the outdoor grill and drill a hole in the ice, Vitaliy will leave you to experience the fine art of ice fishing. Once you’ve caught your limit of sunfish or northern pike, make your way back to shore, head over to the cozy pub at Lord Fletcher’s and enjoy a pan-fried walleye dinner and a chill-chasing snifter of cognac.
Ice skating at Mariucci Arena
Clients who are die-hard hockey fans will be thrilled by some Big 10-style ice time at the legendary Mariucci Arena. Pay homage to decades of Golden Gopher hockey memorabilia in the lobby before spending a vigorous hour on the perfectly groomed, Olympic-sized ice rink. Afterward, savor a well-earned pint of Minnesota-made Brau Brothers Old 56 and a thick, juicy Reuben sandwich at the clubby-contemporary Beacon Public House just down the street. Skate rental (and mouthguards) available.
Snowshoeing at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Show out-of-town clients that there’s more to winter in the Twin Cities than slippery urban streets and slushy sidewalks, with a pristine afternoon far beyond the city. First stop: the picturesque town of Excelsior for a bracing cup of roasted-on-the-spot coffee and views of sparkling Lake Minnetonka at Dunn Bros. Pay a visit to Brightwater Clothing & Gear, where proprietor Bill Damberg will outfit you and your clients with the latest in haute-tech outdoor gear, plus snowshoes to buy or rent. Spend the afternoon tromping the snow-covered hills and dales of the nearby Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, then return to Excelsior to raise a pint of XLCR Pale Ale with the locals at the Excelsior Brewery.
Dunn Bros., 11 Water St., Excelsior, 952-401-8004, dunnbros.com; Brightwater Clothing & Gear, 256 Water St., Excelsior, 952-474-0256, brightwater-excelsior.com; Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Dr., Chanhassen, 952-443-1000, arboretum.umn.edu; Excelsior Brewery, 421 Third St., Excelsior, 952-474-SUDS (7837), excelsiorbrew.com
Snowmobiling in the Minnesota River Valley
Want to impress your highest-powered clients? Toss them the keys to an Arctic Cat performance snowmobile and let ’er rip. Just show up at Cities Edge Motor- sports in Shakopee, suit up in rental jackets, bibs, helmets, boots and gloves, start up the engines, head north right from the store and explore miles of snow-covered trails along the Minnesota River Valley. Once the need for speed has been properly sated, return your sleds and head over to Mystic Lake Casino for a hearty meal in the Mystic Steakhouse and a round of blackjack or a show at the Mystic Comedy Club.