So, my original plan was to leave for Seattle on the 23rd and enjoy a few days in the nearby US town before heading down the East Coast. However, not long after I booked everything in, I got the announcement that the staff party would be on the 25th. Since it was an all day event, and sounded a hoot, I really didn’t want to miss it. I had to wrack my brains for a while to figure out how I’d swing it since I had a flight booked in the morning of the 26th for San Francisco. For a while I thought I’d have to eat the flight and fly from Vancouver, only to realise Van-Sea is a very popular route, and managed to get a connecting flight with Alaska Airlines for half what it would have been for a Van-SanFran flight. It did mean leaving Whistler at 9pm and sleeping at the airport, but needs must.
Rendezvous really like to go all out for their end of Winter season staff party. It’s not just one event, but a whole day of team exercises, starting with a ski session on the mountain. There’s no pressure to attend all of them, but just to come to whatever events interest you. After my successful trip up on Monday, I decide I’m going to attend all 3, and hang out at the Excalibur Gondola to meet up with everyone at 10am to head up Excalibur and Jersey Cream.
There’s two events happening on the mountain in the morning. The first would be a race down Buzz Cut – the fastest 10 would get points for their team, and the next half was a scavenger hunt. There were five cryptic clues alluding to different runs, and we had to get a photo of at least one member of our team in front of the ski run sign. Now I’m not a fast skier at the best of times, but one look at Buzz Cut and I happily step down from attempting. It’s very icy, and the last third is invisible thanks to a steep hill, so like quite a few people, we wanted to take out time. Unlike the very enthusiastic snowboarders, who sped down this thing in a straight line as if the devil himself was chasing them. Our team already had an immediate advantage thanks to having Damon in our team, who has proven multiple times to have no concept of fear. Or braking. Although he was hardly the only one to go crashing into the ground in a spectacular fashion by the bottom.
I took my lazy time getting down the mountain, which halfway down was most definitely the right choice considering how shaky my skis are. My contribution to the team would be the hunt part – and figuring out the five clues:
1. Elvis’s favourite
2. Giant Black Hole
3. Rolling Papers
4. Drowning in Whiskey
5. Army Haircut
Number five was clearly Buzz Cut, but we’d figured that out pretty early and grabbed a photo before the race started with the whole team.
Number one was Rock and Roll, and we decided number four was probably Straight Shot (turns out is was In the Spirit). Three was Zig Zag, and after some Googling, number 2 was clearly Quasar. Since Quasar was up in the Glacier, Damon and Olly were sent off to grab it, while Dave, Jos and Billy headed up to Crystal for one and four. Since the last time I went up that way, I gave myself a concussion, I grabbed the photo of Zig Zag with help from Dave, and decided to head down towards the meeting area.
Any lingering doubts I had about breaking off immediately die when I hit the final hill of Zig Zag. On Monday this run was chaos, but doable. By today, everything is either slush or compacted, and despite being the snow equivilant of silk most of the way, the final hill is compacted, icy, and very bumpy. As an added bonus, it starts just as the tree shade comes into play, so the second I hit it, my goggles made me blind. By the time I recovered, I’d lost a lost of speed, and couldn’t get to the safer area, so fell in a starfish when I lost the ability to control them. A passing skier helped me get to my feet, and I had to skid my way down to the slush snow. There’s no way crystal wouldn’t have just been more of this – definitely dodged a bullet.
The mess on Zig Zag ends up holding me up so much that I don’t get down the mountain until 12:08, which is later than planned. We’re all having lunch at Merlins’s Grill in Upper Village at 12:30, so have just enough time to get changed and walk down to meet the non-skiers. As it happens, I’m not the only one having trouble getting down, because most of the skiers don’t show up until 1.
Lunch is sandwiches or wraps made from what I think was mostly leftovers from Rendezvous and Christines. Beef, turkey, lettuce, corn salsa, feta, American cheese, sauces and some veg, as well as chip packets and potato salad. Everyone ended up being hungry enough to finish up most of what was out before the last skiers arrived, and then we got the list of challenges for the day.
We had from 1:30 to 5:30, and rather than a scavenger hunt, it was a series of tasks of varying difficulty that we had to perform, and take photos as evidence.
1. At least one member of your team naked
2. Member of your team dressed like a mannequin and standing next to it
3. Member of team riding the biggest vehicle you can find
4. Spell out an offensive word using your teammates bodies
5. A photo of a team member wearing a name badge from a non-WB business that is also their name.
6. Make a music video by remixing a song with lyrics that relate to your time at Rendezvous.
You get a point for each challenge, and two additional points for originality and creativity. Thankfully, we have a lot of enthusiastic members, and next thing I know, everyone in the team is getting naked behind a snowbank. I’m definitely not getting involved, so I happily volunteered to take the photo to get out of it. A few skies suffered for the sake of taste, but we had number one in the bag.
Next up was the offensive word. Everyone wanted to go big, so we spent about ten minutes trying to figure out the longest word that could be spelled with our numbers, and settled on ‘Asshole.’ Took more than a little organising to get everyone in position, and I’m not sure it was that recognisable, but everyone liked it so we moved on.
Now, I have a name badge from IGA, but in order to get it, I’d need to go up to Staff to get my key, and then go all the way to IGA, so we choose that as a last resort. We have a few common names in the group, so finding name tags while we hunt for mannequins shouldn’t be difficult. As it happens, we find a Dave in Roots, so we get a shot, and then head to Gap…once everyone has a liquor store break since two members had a lucky escape with a no-open-alcohol-can enforcement officers and had their booze confiscated.
Two of our teammates are former Gap employees, so they were able to talk the staff into letting us pose with the mannequins so long as we cleaned up afterwards. The four male team members that were still with us immediately started looking for the dresses and shirts on display, and I grabbed the sportswear on the side since it was the most bland outfit (and we were out of boys to crossdress). Apparently some of the guys quite like the fit of some of the jeans, which was hilariously ironic. Star of the show though was Troy, who looked fantastic in his crop top/denim jacket work out combo in the background, even if the other three were still pretty spectacular.
We’re still looking for a large vehicle (really wanted a fire truck but no luck) but figure we can do a bus if nothing else shows up. However, that slips to the back of our mind, because Dave suddenly notices he got a text about ten minutes ago about an additional challenge, and we have to get to Regiliati park – and just got a five minute warning.
We try our best, but between the delay of not noticing, and the hesitancy to move thanks to a teammate vanishing, we make it there a minute late. Not that would have helped, because we had the minutes to get there AND do the challenge, which was basically doing five steps along a bungee cord style tightrope. We still tried, but no luck, and moved on as the next team showed up.
Lack of tightrope walking points aside, we were doing pretty well, and decided we’d do the music video on Blackcomb, after taking photos in the free shuttle bus that takes us to Blackcomb suites as our largest vehicle. I spent the trip frantically trying to scribble down the lyrics we’d been hashing out all day, and figured we’d gotten something…singable.
We’d chosen Backstreet Boy’s ‘I Want it That Way’ for whatever reason, and we’d agreed to do two verses and a chorus. Ideally we’d do it in one take, but by this point certain people were hilariously drunk, and Jos figured it would only take 15 minutes to edit, so we decided to do it in multiple clips. The lyrics, for those curious, were:
The zoo, is open
The hoards, are coming
We’re so, hungover
At least we’re not Roundhouse
Would you, like some guac?
Or some edamame?
It’s just, another $2.50
If you want gravy!
SHRED WITH ME!
SHRED WITH ME!
SHRED WITH ME!
Popping Molly in the changing room
At least we’re not Roundhouse.
We figured we’d do each verse in one take, but some of the guys were so far beyond remembering one line, let alone four, that rather than the quick 10 minutes it should have taken, we were out for 40 minutes and heading back to Glacier with 30 minutes left to edit. Should have been doable, except Jos’s computer decided to act all familial to mine and crashed. Repeatedly. We ended up having to get another team member’s german Macbook up to try and format, but he didn’t want to edit and Jos had given up, so I had a crack at it. Nothing facing, literally just splicing 3 clips together, but at least it was a finished video – and only 20 minutes late too!
We weren’t the only team late though, and only one of two who had made the video, so we were pretty happy with our chances. The meal was hotdogs with more leftover dressings, and at 7, we finally got round to seeing everyone’s work.
Credit where credit was due, the naked photos were very daring. Two statues having a very good time and one secret run in a gondola. We still had the best mannequin photos though. Disaster did strike when we realised the sound hadn’t processed properly on our video, but three of us just hollered the lyrics to compensate, and it tipped us over to win!
The prize however, was a Wii U – not something we could share. So in order to select who would win it, we all had to tie 3 balloons to our feet and trying and stamp the other’s out. Whoever still had a balloon at the end will win. Gave it a valiant effot, but think Candace managed to strike my last balloon and take me out after a few minutes. Eventually, it was Jos who stood victorious, Wii in hand.
All things considered, it was a great way to end the season. Said my goodbyes as I had to rush off to get ready for my travel adventures again, but no regrets about skipping Seattle to make this.