Saturday, February 2, 2008

Park City, Utah

To celebrate the closing of our last two deals of 2007, and reaching 100 deals total, my company took us on a trip to Park City, Utah. The company president is part owner of a cabin there (a big, beautiful 5-bedroom cabin complete with a spa), so we stayed at his place.

Other than driving through Southern Utah on my way to Colorado, the only time I've been to Utah was about 15 years ago when my family went camping in Zion National Park. I've also had very few trips to the snow (I can count them on one hand) and have never been skiing or snowboarding. As a firm, we were scheduled for skiing and snowboarding (with a snowboarding lesson for me and the other newbies).

Wednesday night I drove up to Big Bear with Bobby so I could spend some time with him before my trip. We didn't make it back until 1:30am, and I still had to pack. I was up peparing for my trip until nearly 4am, and had to be up at 7:30 to make my flight. But no worries, right? - I'm going on a little vacation - I can sleep later.

I met up with the rest of the "Advance Team" (the people on the earlier flight, everyone else was flying after work on Thursday) at the airport, and after a quick trip, we were in a freezing cold, snowy Salt Lake City. After trips to the liquor store, the grocery store, and the cabin to unload, we were set up and all starving. It was now close to 4pm, and none of us had eaten all day. We found a (mediocre at best) teriyaki grill, and a local inside told us that this was the worst blizzard she'd seen since she moved there 12 years ago.

When the rest of the crew arrived at round 10:30pm, they were ready to party. Soon the spa was being uncovered, the drinks were being poured, the pizzas were arriving, and the poker chips were coming out. Exhausted from my late night the night before, I tried to decline the invitation to play poker, but one of the company directors offered to pay my buy-in and insisted I play. I agreed, thinking that I could play a little more aggressively than usual, and I'd probably be out early anyway. Then they decided to allow re-buys until 12:30am - this was going to be a long game.

Hours later, our two tables of eight and nine players had been condensed to one table of eight. The other table had more re-buys prior to the cutoff, so players from that table had a bit of a chip lead, but I was doing very well. The director that had paid my buy-in was thrilled to see me at the final table. Shortly afterwords, I took out 4 of the players. I was exhausted; my eyes were dry and my contacts were irritating my increasingly bloodshot eyes. I started calling just about anything, just trying to rid myself of my chips so I could go to sleep. I think I doubled everyone at the table up at least once, though most of the time I had the better hand until the end. I took out one more person, and then at 3:30am I was finally taken out. (I was favored to win that hand too, until the river card.) As soon as the hand was decided, I said goodnight and tried to go to sleep.

The boys were a little loud, though. OK, they were really loud. The girls were in the master bedroom, so I closeted myself in the walk-in closet so I could have some quiet. I think I finally fell asleep around 4am.

But I had to be up around 7:30am - my snowboarding lesson was at 9:30am, and we needed to get there early. Unfortunately, by the time we (the group getting a lesson) made it to the resort and found where we were supposed to check in - it was 9:30am. We didn't even have our gear yet, so we rescheduled for the next available appointment - 1pm. Unsure of what to do with ourselves until then, we rented our snowboards and found somewhere to eat something warm and relax. After two nights of so little sleep, I was useless.

When it came close to the time of our lesson, we gathered our gear and headed to the meeting place. There we ran into a co-worker that gave us a short lesson on how to stop yourself on a board - figuring that was one of the most important things to know. Finally it was nearly 1pm, and we were standing at the designated meeting place when our instructor met up with us.

Our instructor was from New Zealand (all of the employees at the resort were from another country - Brazil, Peru, etc.), and had a lovely accent. He was very patient with all of us, and I felt like I really did pick up some things. After a little practicing we got on the lift to the "First-Time" run - and I didn't fall getting off the lift - yeah me!

Snowboarding was fun, and something I would definitely like to do again. I felt I was picking it up pretty well, and all of my falls were controlled and more because I needed to stop than from losing balance. As fun as it was, I could feel my exhaustion catching up with me, and I could see that the other girls (who were havinga tougher time than I was) were quite tired. When we got to the bottom of the run, we decided to pass on the second run, returned our gear, and headed back to the house.

It was already after 4pm, and we had dinner reservations at 6:15pm (although it was later pushed until 8pm), so as soon as we got back to the cabin we took turns showering and getting ready for dinner. When I learned dinner had been pushed off, I decided to join some of the others in the spa. A hot spa when you are sore from the day and it is 28 degrees outside is amazing. Something about sitting in hot water, drinking hot cocoa, and feeling the cold air on your face is divine.

Dinner was at Blind Dog, and I had possibly the best clam chowder I've ever had. The wine - lovely; the fillet mignon - the most perfect medium rare I've seen. We also had an array of wonderful appetizers and finished up with a few deserts that we shared - including a wonderful chocolate fondue.

The meal was wonderful, but the service not so great - we had to ask for drinks numerous times before they would actually come, and the port I ordered never actually showed up. The waiter never actually brought anything himself, and whenever we would ask again for a drink we had ordered, he'd respond with "It's on its way." The bar is right there, it's just a beer, can you just go get it! He's lucky his tip was already included in the bill, because I suspect he would have received less.

At least one of my co-workers was actually falling asleep at the table. After dinner, some were going out to a bar, others were heading back to the cabin. I joined the latter in search of sleep. I crashed around 11:30pm, and didn't wake up until 9:30am. Finally, sleep.

When I woke up many people were getting ready to head out the door. I decided to stay in for the day - read my book, drink hot cocoa with Bailey's, and relax. Most everyone else headed out at one point, so it was a relatively peaceful afternoon. Some came back early from skiing/snowboarding, tired and sore from the unusual activity. There were lots of nappers that afternoon.

Shortly after everyone finished trickling in, it was time for the "Advance Team" to head off to the airport. As nice as the trip was, I wished Bobby could have been there with me, and was eager to get home to see him.

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