Taking our cue from Negotiations class, the NK ski trip to Sugarloaf, Maine, over the weekend of March 1-3 was all about “expanding the pie.”
First of all, to get the pie-expansion ball rolling, Dave Covolesky was kind enough to trade his Ford Explorer for my BMW for the weekend. Someone told me afterwards that he was a stunt driver or something, but it was too late. In any case, the Explorer allowed for a “Cannonball Run” victory: I beat Will Azeff (who left a half-hour earlier) and Josh Haacker (who missed a turnoff) up to Sugarloaf. I figured if I can never beat Will or Josh down the mountain (i.e. on skis) I should at least beat them up the mountain (i.e. on wheels).
When Olya Khomenko and I arrived at the Sugarloaf Brewhouse at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, the place was practically empty except for a couple of sketchy-looking “townies.” When the first wave of Special K arrived, we pounded on the tables and cheered. This tradition continued throughout the night as more and more us came in, so that by 11 p.m. (when the bar was supposed to close) about 50 of us had filled the entire bar, prompting the proprietors to stay open until 12:30 a.m. More pie expansion: we got our drinks (and some pub grub) and the bar got more revenues!
The post-party was hosted by Armen Panossian and his crew in their condo. The primary beneficiary of the pie expansion there was Owen Wilson. ‘Nuff said.
The only things that were bigger on Saturday morning were my headache and hangover. I finally made it onto the slopes at 11:30 a.m. along with Jean Hayden, Deidre Hollars, and Abby Wise, and had time for two runs before meeting everyone else for lunch at Bullwinkle’s.
After lunch nine of us skied together briefly. I tried to keep up with Matias, Claudia Onofrio’s husband, and tried to emulate Amanda Merryman’s superb form. The rest of the afternoon was spent navigating treacherously icy slopes and battling the freezing cold on the summit (Key Kiarie for some reason wanted to keep going up there). When the lifts closed, Key, David Corris and I raced down, which wasn’t difficult given how ice can speed you up. I was amazed at the ability to ski all the way down to the condo; the resort is quite convenient that way.
Another excellent example of pie expansion was at the Shipyard Brewhaus, where section dues paid for some aprŠs-ski appetizers. The service was abysmal, however, so one group moved over to the steakhouse while others stayed behind to harass the help. Eventually we found ourselves at Mark Bickenbach’s condo. There we really could have used some expansion, as we crammed practically the entire section into very limited space. Josh Haacker had to keep opening and closing the door to let out the carbon monoxide from the fire (whether or not the flue was actually open is still debatable).
Following a brief scare at the main lodge when we came upon a teen dance (although some people seemed tempted to stay), our late-night festivities began in earnest at Widowmaker Lounge. There we made the pie bigger and claimed a larger portion of it by using our newly acquired negotiation skills to get the cover charge reduced.
A few people entertained the crowd playing silly bar games, and a couple even won T-shirts (to make up for the shortage of company-sponsored T-shirts this year). Will Azeff showed off by beating the virtual competition on the ski racing video game (although it took two attempts), in spite of all the heckling he got from us spectators. After others failed repeatedly, Brian Landrum and Josh Haacker finally claimed the pool table for Section K.
Tim Jenkins hosted the post-party, which involved luge training on the coffee table and a human tug-o-war instigated by Amanda Morris’ husband Dave. At 1 a.m. Jeff LeBlanc and Navin Thukkaram went sledding, quickly followed by David Santos and Olya Khomenko, the birthday girl who couldn’t sit still. When all four of them wanted to go together, someone had the brilliant (pie-expanding) idea of using a plastic mattress from a windowseat.
The Fearless Four returned bruised and battered and covered in snow. They apparently careened 300 yards down the mountain, spun around so they were going backwards, slammed full speed into a wooden fence and leveled a portion of it. They’re lucky no one was seriously injured, although the adrenaline may have been masking the pain.
Notwithstanding the destruction of fences, the weekend overall was a rousing success and great fun. A big Special K thanks to Will Azeff for organizing it all! Looking forward to next year…