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team-building by skiing

It’s been pretty stressful recently at work, so our manager and his manager decided to give the whole team a day off. The real reason, though, is that they and several others in our team are skiing fanatics — the ski resorts are extremely crowded on the weekends, and this gave them a chance to organize a skiing trip during the week. So ten of us met at 5am on Thursday morning in a local grocery store parking lot, loaded up our gear into two cars, and headed off across California for the Sierra Nevada mountains!

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By nine we were in the Sierras above the snowline (currently around 5000 feet) We drove to Alpine Meadows, a ski resort just north and west of Lake Tahoe.

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We arrived around 9:30am and unloaded our gear. As you can see, they’ve had quite a bit of snow this winter. It was a wonderfully sunny day, with temperatures in the 50’s! I’m told that they’ve had 24 feet of snow on the ground, but that 6 feet has melted recently, due to the warm days.

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By 10 were were ready to hit the slopes! From left to right are yours truly, Sharon, David, Jurgen, Peter, Marty, Gunnar, and Frank. Frank and Gunnar are on assignment from Germany for 6 months, and were delighted to be able to compare (favorably) skiing in California with their native Alps!

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Here we are again, with Jurgen taking the cameras to let Kay (in the center with a green sweater) and Ray (on the far right) into the picture.

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Kay doesn’t ski, but came along for the sunshine and to visit with some friends who live in the area. All the rest (except me) are expert skiers, so I spent my time refreshing my basic skiing skills on the easy slope called “Meadow”. :-) We met for lunch around 1pm, and we were all ready for the rest. But we were back on the slopes before 2!

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I spent much of the day falling down and re-learning how to stand up on skis. But by midafternoon, I was getting the hang of it again. The fun part was when the 5 and 6 year olds taking skiing lessons gave me pointers! Unfortunately, I had forgotten Skiing Rule Number 1: “Wear Sunscreen”, so I sunburned myself silly. But I didn’t mind, I was having too much fun! As the afternoon passed, the shadows advanced across the valley.

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At 4pm, they closed the runs and shut down the ski lifts, so we reluctantly loaded our gear back into the cars and headed home. We were almost the last group to leave. We all agreed that it had been a great day!

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The sun was setting before we got back down into the Central Valley. We stopped for dinner at a Mom ‘n Pop burger joint called Ikeda’s that made delicious chocolate shakes. We got back to the grocery store about 9:30pm, and I was in bed snoozing before 10pm. What a day!

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