EI Holiday Party 2011: Ski Lodge

With our company holiday party starting at 7PM last Friday, everyone got to leave work a little early. Most of us went home, relaxed a bit, changed clothes and headed back after a few hours… but for a few folks who live really far away, they ended up staying downtown for the afternoon. Mike and Katie had plans to go to an off-site racetrack where you could bet on horses. Though I was headed home, I decided to stop by Mike’s office to get him to place a bet for me.

Not finding him there, I left some money and a note.

Fast forward to 7PM. Looking down the corridor from our main door to the annex area, lots of decorations were lining the hall. For over a week now, there’s been Christmas music blaring from the room and a lot of folks going in/out, setting up the place for our party.

The theme of our party was a “Ski Lodge,” and we were all encouraged to dress appropriately. I figured folks would wear some silly sweaters and whatnot, and I kind of brushed it off. Sure – the party has a theme. Gotcha.

Well, the moment I walked into the room – my jaw dropped. The entire annex was definitely done up like a ski lodge – lights everywhere, fake fireplaces. Walking in, it felt cozy and intimate and spectacular. Having seen what this room is like normally, I was amazed at the total transformation that had taken place.

A view of the room, with a random high-five from Mr. Chris Campbell.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the shot ski. There are four slots along the ski where one can position a small shot of liquor. You can probably figure out the rest.

As an aside – check out the level of the 1800 tequila bottle.

Mike, who came up to me with an incredible story and a lot of cash. He handed me $10, and said he owed me more. Apparently, he used my $5 on a bet involving a 25 to 1 longshot.

He had bet $2 for the horse to win, and when it did (literally against all odds), he pocketed a cool $40. He told me that he was unsure how to bet my $5, and tried to imagine how I would bet had I been there. He placed a more conservative bet for the horse to place – so my $5 turned into something like $15. Had he bet the full $5 for the horse to win, I would have gotten something like $140. Craziness.

Having someone come up and hand you money – not a bad way to start off a party!

The Michaels sang for us throughout the evening, and did a ton of great acoustic covers. Their voices were fantastic, and got the crowd singing along at several points in the evening.

There was a nice food area, set up in the middle of the room. Fearing the whole Asian Flush thing, I kind of shied away from food most of the evening. Although… there were several deserts set up on multiple tables, along the wall… and I helped myself to more than one Buckeye.

Our wonderful, virtual fire place. Specifically, this one.

Another view of the room. All the lights strewn about were fantastic, and I believe all the trees we had were real trees. I saw somewhere a mention of where these guys came from, but can’t find it now. I think AJ might have been responsible for bringing in these trees, somehow.

I missed it the first time I walked by our faux fireplace, but there were a ton of tiny stockings all along the wall. Not only was each employee represented, but there was a (personalized) stocking for each guest as well. Inside each stocking was a raffle ticket; one color for employees, another for guests.

The first of many shot skis. L to R it’s Brad, Jason, Mike and Tim.

Deb’s moose, ever vigilent, standing sentry.

Chris C had the great idea to broadcast our party via uStream. This allowed folks who couldn’t attend to peek in at the party, via a camera mounted to the top of the TV.

I emailed a few folks who were at home (Marcel, Dan and Ben/Allison) and suggested a possible Google Hangout – as this would let them see us, but also let us see them.

It took a little bit to get it installed, but we were able to set up a hangout with Dan and his wife. This is them, briefly checking out the party.

More shots of the interior. I love the fake stone wall and secondary fireplace. This is also something that blew my mind – the fake wood paneling you see in this photo? All hand painted. I thought it was some kind of sticker but apparently this was all hand made.

L to R it’s Liz, Justin, Sean and Sian.

Geetkia and Shailesh.

Another shot ski moment! L to R it’s Roshan, Dmitri, Bee and Brian B.

There are so many things I love about this photo – the fact that Bee got up on the air vent to do the shot, Brian’s expression. Most of all, I love how cool Dmitri is, with one hand in his pocket. I imagine him saying Yeah, whatever – I do this all the time, no big deal.

Some lovely photos adorning the awesome hand-made wall. Astute observers will have spotted the Deborey photo and also our Rock, Paper, Scissor trophy.

Midway through the party, Kylie (Rey’s daughter) and her friend Ashika took the stage. They did a great version of “Someone Like You,” by Adele.

The fantastic holiday party crew! L to R it’s AJ, Letty, Ally, Renata, Chris R and Alexandra. Unfortunately, Utopia wasn’t around to take a bow, but she was also a big part of the group as well.

Chris C, master of ceremonies.

Back at the stockings, I found the tickets for me and Liz. I didn’t end up winning anything, but Liz won a $15 Starbucks gift card.

Later on in the evening, I got talking with Ben via email. We ended up coordinating another Google hangout semi-successfully. We were all able to see Ben and Allison (and newly arrived baby Soren), but I don’t think they were able to see us.

A lot of folks flocked to the TV, to catch a glimpse of baby Soren.

L to R it’s Deb, Alexandra and Chris C.

Rey, chatting with Mike and his wife.

Another view of the fantastic decoration in the space.

Chris, chatting with Chantel and Luke.

Another shot ski! L to R it’s Tim, Sammy, Mike and Utopia.

This is the best victory photo I’ve ever taken. Brian B, showing off an empty bottle of tequila.

Mike, going in for a fist bump.

Me, Justin, Anna and Brian R doing a shot ski.

I did several throughout the night, though they became more frequent as the night wore on. I have to confess though – I poured myself 1/2 and 3/4 shots, since I was worried about spilling the thing all over my face. And I’m glad I did, because I have video of several folks getting a face full of liquor.

I tried a few times to get a photo of the snowflakes in the room, and this is the best I got. Situated near the top of the side offices, a small machine kicked out snow throughout the entire party.

L to R it’s Brian and Ally.

Action shot!

Sarah and Tim, raising a glass to the evening.

Ally and Nisha, all smiles.

To my coworkers – you are a fantastic group of people, and I love working with and being around you all. I hear of other people hating their jobs, and that always boggles my mind. I count myself lucky to be around so many people who make me laugh, who inspire me, and who are just good folks through and through.

Happy holidays to you all.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. I can’t get over what a joy it was to spend the evening living it up ski-lodge-style with everyone from the work crew! It’s such a gift to go to work with people you love and love to hang out with. Fantastic documenting work, as always.

    Chris Reply

  2. I agree with Stiles. I had such a fun time and love our people! So glad you document as well as you do so I can relive. Thanks Felix.

    Campbell Reply

  3. This looks awesome!!! Wow! So sad we had to miss it, even if it was for the best reason ever!

    Allison Reply

  4. I am sad to have missed this party. Thanks to you… I am able to catch up.

    Kashif Devani Reply

  5. Ok, I have a silly question BUT our company was thinking about doing this for our holiday party and I came across blog. Who ever set this up did a great job. My question is in the 2nd picture the fake snow, how did they create that?? Thank you, Monica

    Monica Reply

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