This March, I took part in a long weekend of snow and smarts with some of DMC’s finest brains. Each DMC office is empowered to plan a yearly fun event and invite everyone in the company. We’ve climbed mountains, floated down rivers, and ran away to Martha’s Vineyard. DMC's Denver office plans an annual ski trip, nicknamed DMSki.
DMC helps foot part of the bill and even lets us invite someone who doesn’t work for DMC to come along as a guest! We call these events YOEs. We can’t agree on how to pronounce YOE, but it stands for Yearly Office Event.
My YOE started on Thursday morning when I got up in Chicago at 3 a.m. for a redeye flight and then woke up 1,000 miles away in sunny Denver. About 50 DMC employees and guests convened in the Denver office where we made good use of DMC Denver’s pool table and kegerator. This year, DMC gifted all ski trip attendees a North Face softshell ski jacket with a custom DMC ski logo!
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to grocery shop for 50 people for a four-day weekend, I can assure you that it is not for the faint of heart. DMC Denver’s administrative assistant, Nicole Steere, and I completed a Costco run of epic proportions that lasted over four hours.
There was so much food that we had to call for backup to transport the haul to our enormous house in Silverthorne, CO. I lost track of how many loads we brought into the house.
Taking to the Slopes
On Friday morning, fueled with breakfast burritos and Folger’s coffee, everyone took off for their first day of DMSkiing.
While most people went to Vail or Copper, I headed about 20 minutes up the road to Keystone and spent the better part of the day of really crushing it on the mountain.
I'm a semi-new skier, so when I say "crushing it,” I mean my face. In a moment of unwarranted self-confidence, I careened down a blue run and executed a rather impressive wipeout, knocking the wind out of myself and scraping the left side of my face against the icy mountain. I just wanted to prove to all the avid DMSkiers that I could be hardcore too, but I’m not sure that worked out very well.
Even if my first day was a little rough, everyone had lots of fun skiing.
I returned to the house in the late afternoon to find Phil Schaffer of DMC Boston hanging out on the porch contemplating how to “fix” the house’s jukebox. Last year, DMCers stayed in the same house and couldn’t get the jukebox to play any songs they picked.
It turned out that another tenant had set the jukebox to play through every album before it would accept a new request. This year, Phil was determined to figure out how to override the queued songs. I’ve always known that I work with a special, breed but listening to Phil describe his efforts drove the point home.
Average person: "There’s probably an off switch or a skip button."
Engineer: "I bet I could figure out how to reprogram this."
When confronted with the problem of needing a key to get into the circuit board:
Average Person: "There’s probably a cabinet that has keys in it to open the machine."
Engineer: (While searching door frames and floorboards for escape room-like hiding place) "If I were hiding a key somewhere in here, I’d put it close but also just hard enough to get to."
Average Person: "So, after all of that, how do you make it stop?"
Engineer: "I don’t know. I didn’t read the manual."
All Kinds of Skiing
Saturday morning, we woke to the aroma of fresh-made French toast, sausage, and pancakes with mixed fruit and chocolate chips. After chowing down, most of the group drove to Vail or Copper for a day on the slopes.
While others went after speed, a few of the ladies on the trip decided to give cross country skiing a try.
The others picked it up well, using long beautiful strokes to glide across the snow in graceful strides. I, on the other hand, could not figure it out. They told me my falls looked like a newborn giraffe learning to walk, but when is that not cute?
After an hour of struggling, I decided to sit the next run out and enjoy the cool breezes and hot sun on the porch of the Nordic Center while the others embarked on another round of cross-country skiing.
Sunday had another big crew heading out to Vail. It was a bit icy but still beautiful.
Fun and Games
Each night was full of board and card games. Since regular games are not hard enough for the DMC crew, the engineers began challenging each other by speeding up the games and forcing everyone to think faster.
Watching engineers play strategy games is pretty entertaining. While Secret Hitler and Avalon were the most popular games of the weekend, others opted for Hearts.
Whether they were more of a defensive or offensive player, each engineer had well-thought-out strategies for each play they made and explained them thoroughly.
Not only does DMC have smart and creative people, but it is full of some talented cooks. On Friday night, they filled our bellies with delicious chili, potato soup, cornbread, and homemade jalapeño poppers. Garlic bread and salad perfectly accompanied spaghetti made with leftover chorizo for Saturday night’s meal. However, Sunday’s dinner was my favorite. We had baked chicken thighs, salad, stewed apples, and the most amazing spinach, garlic, and onion mashed potatoes!
New Faces, New Friends
Because this is a company-wide event, we get to spend time with coworkers that we have only ever chatted with via email or Skype. Ski goggles and puffy coats can also make people look very different. While riding a lift, a few people thought that they were riding with a stranger and started talking about DMC. The person turned to them and said “You work at DMC? I work at DMC!”
On our last night, while we played cards and drank hot chocolate, I looked around the table and said thanks to everyone. As a newer employee and a non-engineer, I was nervous that I wouldn’t fit in. The weekend was full of new experiences and laughs to remember for a long time. It didn’t feel like I was stuck on a mountain with a bunch of coworkers, but instead, I was cozy in a beautiful house with a group of new friends.
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