DMC’s time-honored tradition of Yearly Office Events (or YOE’s, pronounced in a variety of ways throughout DMC) took a pause last year due to some unprecedented times. The squad was disappointed, but we found ways to get together virtually including a trivia night, a beer tasting, and a pizza party.
DMSki 2020 was the last YOE before the first lockdown in 2020. It was only fitting that DMSki was the first official YOE in our not-quite-post-COVID era of office re-openings. Our crew took precautions before starting the festivities – everyone had to receive a negative PCR test result prior to the weekend. Once we all arrived in Denver or Breckenridge, we took rapid tests to be safe.
New House, Who’s This?
After many years of renting the same lodge in Silverthorne, we decided on something a little different! The new house was conveniently located in Breckenridge. The majority of DMSkiers with Epic Passes were able to take one of Breckenridge Mountain’s shuttle buses to and from the slopes each day. However, the most gung-ho skiers wanted to ensure they made first and last chair every day with no wasted time. They insisted that the walk to and from the slopes wasn’t that bad!
First, we explored all 3 floors to help each other locate which of the 13 bedrooms we had each selected for the trip. The new house also meant a new kitchen to get familiar with as we cooked breakfast and dinner each day.
As usual, our talented DMChefs did not disappoint. Morning menus ranged from breakfast burritos to more frozen waffles than we could consume. Dinners featured a spaghetti bar, pizza, and the most delicious sliders (shoutout to Oliver Reed for almost single-handedly preparing the tastiest tiny sandwiches!)
The new house featured a snazzy gear room to stash our equipment in the evenings. The boot rack was equipped with warming tubes – perfect for pre-heating our boots and gloves before chilly mornings on the mountain!
Triumphs & Tribulations
DMSki is such a fun event, it attracts skiers and snowboarders of all levels from offices all over the country. Seasoned natives lead the charge down the more challenging slopes on the mountain. Although snow conditions were not ideal this year, the most adventurous skiers chose to brave the wind and hard packed snow to check out the Peak 7 bowls – including John Williams, who decided to bring a snowboard on the trip this year instead of his regular skis.
John recalls heading down the treacherous slope at the top of double black diamond Whale’s Tail thinking, “this would be a really bad time to fall”, only to see Nikhil sliding headfirst through a particularly rough patch. A little rattled but high on adrenaline, the adventurers made it down the challenging slope in one piece… and did not feel the need to do a second lap.
Stephen Shull successfully navigated through a challenging tree-filled mogul run called “Ore Bucket”. Needless to say, his pose indicates he struck gold! Gabby Martinez, who recently relocated from Texas to our Denver office, reports that she made it down her first-ever black diamond with the Ikon pass squad at Copper mountain.
This trip marked Ramone’s first time ever on skis. He recounted a messy “yard-sale” fall on one run on the first day, but by the last day ,“I knew my goal. I needed to finish Lower Lehman without falling. After learning parallel turns and practicing them all day, I embarked down Lower Lehman. Taking the widest possible turns, I slowly descended down the slope without falling and declared my trip a success!”
My group spent Friday afternoon perfecting our turns through the glades on Peak 7 in search of an elusive woodsy hut. In a rare moment of overconfidence, I opted to “send it” over (what I thought was) a small snow-covered log. I quickly realized the mound of snow was hiding the rest of the tree and landed hard on my face, cutting our hut hunt short for the day.
With ski patrol’s blessing, despite having no kids in tow, we took ourselves through Rip’s Ravine and found some other fun huts instead.
With a mild concussion, I thought I was going to have the worst crash/injury story of the trip – only to walk back into the house and see Tommy sporting a black eye and a chipped tooth (as well as a concussion of his own).
Tommy had also been enjoying catching some air on one of his runs and hit a bump with a kicker on it. The landing area was obscured by the jump itself which led to a miscalculation between amount of air gained on the jump and distance to the surprisingly flat landing.
Thankfully, all our DMC cohorts are smart enough to wear helmets… maybe next year we’ll exercise a little more caution to look before we leap.
On Saturday, a second search squad was successful in hunting down the smoke hut I missed out on. Despite some unpleasant odors around the hut, the interior decorations were so cool it was definitely worth the adventure to find it.
Hot Toddies and Hot Tub Bodies
The best way to nurse some tired and bruised bodies after hard days on the slopes is with some après ski beverages and a nice, warm hot tub. At the new house, getting to the hot tub required walking through the snow (note to self: bring sandals next year)!
The first crews back from the slopes got first dibs on the best spots in the tub, and front row seats to watch others slip and slide down the increasingly icy path to enter.
Hot to cold transitions are good for circulation, right? Maybe that’s why some crazy people chose to jump into the icy stream next to the hot tub when they started to get a little too toasty. “Just jump in the stream, Nikhil. Everyone is doing it!”
After the retirement of an old favorite game called “big container”, this year’s DMSki crew invented a new game dubbed “big hydration”. The rules are pretty simple: obtain the biggest vessel you can find, fill it with water, and pass it around chanting “BIG HYDRATION.”
It was definitely a hit and we’re looking forward to introducing it at future DMC events where people could use some extra hydration.
All Fun & Games
Rejuvenated by the hot tub, hydration games, and dinner, the squad broke out into groups for all sorts of games every night. Some of our DMC game night classics made regular appearances: Blokus, Codenames, and Bananagrams.
We also tried out some new games, like ‘Skull’ – an easy game to learn. Skull involves betting, a little bit of luck, and a sprinkle of social psychology.
The layout of the new house meant quieter games that required more focus took place upstairs, while the rowdy crew of beer drinkers headed down to the basement to set up some more high-energy games. Supply chain issues made red solo cups hard to come by in Breckenridge village!
Two brave soldiers ventured out to get ping pong balls and passably suitable cups from the local convenience store so we could play stack cup and bobsled.
“Ski” You Next Year!
With all the remote new hires and people working from home, there were many faces on this trip that I didn’t recognize on the first night! But after four days of playing games, sharing stories, and even occasionally talking about work, I can’t help but be grateful for finally being able to spend time together.
As we bade goodbye and packed up our cars to head home, we speculated about which office would be the next to throw a YOE this year. One thing’s for sure – barring any more ¬unforeseen circumstances – we will all be first in line to sign up for DMSki 2023.
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