A few weeks back I was asked by a friend, Ken Gart, to compete in the Vail Ski Challenge. The basic premise is as follows: Ski as many Epic Pass resorts around the world (there are 26), earn points for different challenges, and compete against other local CEO’s and their team. The team to earn the most points will be rewarded by Vail donating up to $100,000 to the charity of their choice. Let’s see — I get to incorporate skiing, having fun, competing against other local CEOs, and the chance to put a ton of cash into a worthy cause – I said I was in.
Galvanize’s vision for Ski with G matches Vail’s ultimate goal with the Challenge: to make this challenge a community effort – we are inviting you to join in the fun (details at the bottom of the post)! We have chosen to partner with RailsBridge. RailsBridge is an amazing national organization that strives for greater diversity in the Ruby on Rails community. Through free weekend workshops, RailsBridge educates and empowers attendees to design technology with enthusiasm and confidence, which creates opportunity and strengthens our work force.
If supporting women in software careers and having fun skiing with friends wasn’t enough — here are 7 more reasons why skiing is good for business:
7. You are outside and in nature! Skiing is a physical activity that requires you to be outdoors. Time away from your “workplace” is the best way to reset and get a fresh perspective on whatever it is your are processing subconsciously. Skiing will help you recharge and think more creativity — as I mentioned to a colleague the other day, “I need to ski on it.”
6. Get a dose of adrenalin. If you haven’t skied before, this is exactly why you should come: try new things. Be a little scared. Find adventure. Doing things that are foreign and a bit scary will help you grow as a person. I just started skiing the past few years (switching from snowboarding) and I got beat up, fell down, but have learned to love the rush of shreddin’ down the mountain.
5. Play beyond your means. Falling down sucks. Failing sucks. If you are not falling down, you are probably not pushing your limits. I often try new ski techniques, harder and harder terrain and various tricks and jumps I don’t yet know how to do — and I often fall. The same holds true in business, if you aren’t stretching and making a few mistakes, you are probably not stretching yourself or your team to greatness.
4. Get an advisor and surround yourself with great people. Becoming a great skier and being a great leader are both hard. I love skiing with people a lot better than me because I learn and work hard to imitate their skills. I have also hired instructors on the mountain to teach me techniques that are the fundamentals to becoming a great skier. Surround yourself with others from whom you can learn – these can be informal or formal relationships. The parallels in your startup are obvious.
3. Camaraderie. Great business relationships can be built toiling behind Mac screens together for hours, but life long bonds and memories are created when experiencing something special outside the office. Two weeks ago I was invited to ski on a backcountry cat trip in Steamboat. The event was special and my relationship with my “ski buddy” and 10 others on the cat that day are memories for a lifetime. Pictured below – Seth Levine and Brian Wallace.
2. More time to pitch (and in a non business setting). The average lift ride is greater than 6 minutes. You have nowhere to go and neither does the person sitting next to you, and you get to do this over and over again all day. You have a lot of quality time to get to know someone and their business. Make sure you can keep up with the VC or angel you want to pitch — I hear Nick Wyman is a badass.
1. Last and probably most important, learning to ski has taught me a lot about courage. I think starting a business takes a tremendous amount of courage. The same is required to stare down a steep and intimidating slope with awkward sticks and boots strapped to your feet and just go for it. If you lean back, you’re fucked. You must truly trust your skills and the techniques and have the courage to — as Sheryl Sandberg says — lean in!
So you wanna Ski With G? Here’s what you need to know:
When: Tuesday, March 4th
6:30 am – Meet at Galvanize (breakfast)
7:00 am – Shuttles depart for Vail
9:00 am – Ski with G!
12:00 pm – Lunch on the Mountain (location TBD)
3:30 pm – Apres
6:00 pm – Shuttles depart for Galvanize
Cost of Attendance: $80 (includes breakfast, lunch, apres, transportation, and $40 goes as a donation to RailsBridge)
Special Offer: New Colorado Startup, Get Outfitted is offering 35% off demo rentals to anyone participating in Ski with G. You simply go on their website, pick out the amazing gear you want to rent, rock it on the slopes, and return it with free and easy shipping. Discount code provided upon registration.
Sign Up: RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Further details can be found at galvanize.it/events/skichallenge)
Can’t make it to the event? You can still donate to RailsBridge!
CLICK HERE TO DONATE – once you’ve entered your information, please put “Vail Ski Challenge” under the instructions (see image below)
See you on the slopes March 4th!