It feels like all of us are on a faster and faster hamster wheel these days and it’s hard to feel like you can take a few days off without falling behind. However, I am a big fan of everyone taking the time and making the effort to recharge their batteries and have never approved of the management motto that rewards folks for not taking their annual leave. Who wants to work day in and day out with a tired, grumpy, overworked group of people?
For our crew, the recent holidays were the perfect time to figure out how we could coordinate everyone’s schedules and meet up in Utah for some skiing, some family games, good food and good companionship. Given Leah’s corporate law life, we needed to push it to New Year’s to play it safe but hit the jackpot with everyone being able to take a few days off at the same time, particularly as Kelsey enters her last semester of graduate school.
While most of the United States was under a deep freeze, thankfully, Utah was almost balmy. The downside of balmy? The snow was pretty limited and that meant that only about 30 percent of the mountain was open while holiday crowds were at their maximum. However, we rolled with the punches and simply enjoyed ourselves.
As someone who has skied since I was 8, I had many reflections on how the sport and the experience has changed over time. Prior to landing in Utah, I had purchased our lift tickets online and picked up an electronic pass when we arrived. The pass could be reloaded online at night which gave an additional discount so that fewer ticket agents were needed and could be read while in the pocket of your coat by a scanner held by the lift employees. No more little pieces of adhesive stuck to a metal wire that inevitably would be flapping in your face as you made your way down the mountain and then were so difficult to peel off that you simply left them on your jacket the rest of the season (but that did add to your “cool” factor so wasn’t that much of a downside!).
This RFID technology (radio-frequency identification) allows the skier to communicate, wordless, to the resort who I am and tracks my movements on the mountain. Not only convenient but also a great safety feature. I first heard about this technology from the folks at Silver Star in Wyoming, who is the broadband provider in the area near Jackson Hole. Eliminating fraud and tracking skiers are not only good for the resort but also give ski resorts so much valuable data on what lifts are most popular, length of time to ski particular runs and the ability to locate a missing person. They are also able to use apps along with the data gathered to generate a whole range of statistics about a visit or a season and creates motivation for skiers to explore different areas of the mountain, ski longer and more often as they strive to meet the challenges that the app can generate. (Think of Rally, our wellness tool and the ability to get points, compete and other motivational tools)
But the “old fashioned” basics of skiing stay the same….boots that hurt so much that the relief of taking them off at the end of the day can be the best part, rediscovering underused muscles you forgot you had, how everyone looks the same on the mountain with parkas and helmets when you are desperately trying to follow your crew, the wind whipping in your face on your way up the ski lift and the great stories and laughs that are shared with those you love over a good hearty meal at the end of a well-worked day.
I’m ready for 2018!