Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Aspen Ski Trip!

Hi everyone!

So first quarter is over after finishing a grueling week of finals and everyone has gone their own ways for winter holiday. You’ll want to check out this week’s WIWG video where I ask students what their plans are for winter break. Some students head home to their families, or spend more time with their spouses. Others go on adventure treks all over the world with their classmates, or career-related treks that have been planned by fellow students. There is a tradition for each winter break where about 250 Booth 1st and 2nd year students pack up their skis and snowboards and head out together on a ski trip for a week, planned by the Booth Ski Club. This year, I went on this trip and this week I’ll be blogging about the highlights from this jam-packed, super fun week. Read on for more!

This year’s Ski trip took place in Aspen, a cozy town nestled among the Rockies, “where the beer flows like wine”…if you believe the line from the now infamous classic movie Dumb and Dumber. I had been hesitant to go on the trip initially because I had only gone skiing once in my life, which I didn’t even count because it involved tumbling down miles of “blue” slopes in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. I was intending to go to Aspen and just lounge around a fire, curled up with a warm drink, and catching up with friends. Instead, I found myself strapping on skis and hitting the slopes for four days out of the week (as most people did). This leads me to my first highlight of the trip – learning to ski! A week is a perfect amount of time to learn to ski if you give yourself a chance, take a lesson, and find a group of fellow beginners that will be your ski buddies for the week. No matter what level you are, if it’s been a while since you’ve last skied, scheduling a lesson on day 1 is a good idea. While my instructor taught my group how to actually put on skis, other classmates were learning how to gracefully approach moguls. Once I felt comfortable at my own level, I let the thrill of the blinding beauty of the Rockies overtake me and I was hooked. Some of the best parts were the beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains, whether reached by chair lift, or a 2 hour climb to the highest bowl (as some of my more advanced classmates did). We even got fresh “powder” (aka, it snowed) on our 3rd day skiing, which is a delightful experience (especially because it gives a little more cushion to your fall). The best part about learning to ski though was learning with a group of classmates that supported me and challenged me to do my personal best (see picture of my ski buddies below).

Given the short winter days, most of us were off the mountain by 3:30pm, after which we headed to an Apres Ski event that was sponsored by one of our generous sponsors, Accenture or MillerCoors. These gatherings of usually about 100-150 people were a fun way to mingle with those you didn’t necessarily ski with that day and swap stories of glory or comedy. These parties however, only served to warm us up for the evening festivities, and my next highlight from the trip – costume parties. My husband has always been amazed at the number of costume parties in business school (he had gone to law school, where apparently there is a little rambunctious less fun). At Booth, we take costume parties seriously, and the ski trip was no exception. This year’s themes were: Wild West, Rockstars & Models, and Lloyd and Harry's Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, on separate nights. I think at business school we get a little tired of partying as ourselves, so we like to switch it up a bit and show some alter egos (and our creativity) in our costumes. It was incredible to see what people came up with for each of the themes. For the Wild West party, a 2nd year came as full-fledged prospector/gold-digger from the 1800s, while others ran around looking more like a version of cowboys. For the Rockstar & Model party we had everyone from Tina Turner to Tigger, and other (male) classmates just used it as an excuse to wear spandex. For the Ugly Christmas Sweater, it appeared that we had bought up every vintage holiday sweater in Chicago. See some pictures of the best and worst below and more pictures on our Facebook album.

Finally, the last highlight for me was the Scavenger Hunt, where we ran around Aspen in teams of 7 trying to find places and items on a list of over 75 clues. The scavenger hunt tested teamwork skills, creativity, and ingenuity, but mostly it was just a lot of fun. In a 3 hour time period, my team became acquainted with Sheriff Mike of the Aspen police and got to ride his squad car (without getting arrested), met the good folks at the Aspen fire department, “rode” on a snow mobile, had drinks with locals, made snow angels, and many other things that we can’t divulge (but unfortunately probably have photographic evidence for!) It was lots of fun getting to know the nice people of Aspen (who really are very nice, especially given what we were requesting of them for our clues). We ended the scavenger hunt with a somewhat perfectly appropriate 80s dance party spun by an amazing DJ in downtown Aspen.

All in all, I’d say that the Aspen ski trip was a huge success, thanks in big part to the team of 2nd years who spent the last 6 months planning it. We all parted ways this past Sunday, eager to recover from a week full of activity, but also looking forward with excitement to the Spring ski trip this April.

Happy holidays everyone, thanks for reading! Since we are on break, we are going to take a short break from the blog for a couple of weeks and will return on January 4th. Good luck to those who are doing their Round 2 applications now, and if you want to learn more about life at Booth from the student perspective, go back and read previous entries on this blog, check out of WIWG video series on YouTube or Facebook, and check out our Facebook page.

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