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.
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.
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.
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.
Chris C, master of ceremonies.
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.
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.