This past week has been filled with activities that I don't usually get to enjoy. Each one has been a special blessing and I am very grateful for all of the connections that made them possible!
Sunday: I got to visit with Matt and Rachel Karasek, and I met their kids Grace and Cameron, and met Rachel's parents. I was so happy to give them some free and discounted lift tickets. It is fun when I get to be someone's connection. I like handing out the perks as much as I like receiving them. We had dinner at Wolf Rock, where Janine was our waitress and I saw Bridget. Matt and Rachel were very generous and treated me to dinner. I'm just so glad I got to see them while they were here at Keystone.
Monday: I am part of the EX Factor Team, which is a multi-department committee focused on employee recognition. As a member of the team, I have the opportunity to be a trip leader for ski trips throughout the year. Monday's trip was to Beaver Creek and I was one of the leaders. There was over a foot of fresh powder and the conditions were incredible! My job on Monday was skiing in knee-deep powder with my friend, Lisa. How lucky am I? After skiing, I warmed up in my condo complex's hot tub and Kyle joined me for a dip.
Tuesday: Kyle took me to an Eastern European Wine Tasting Dinner at Ski Tip, a fine-dining restaurant at Keystone. Happily, we know some people there: I babysit for the son of the Manager (Cindy), Kyle and I are good friends with the Assistant Manager (Bridget), and I know one of the servers (Heather) from church. Let's just say that the very expensive dinner event would not have been even remotely affordable for us if it hadn't been for the kindness of our friends at Ski Tip. The wines were incredible and the food was beyond delicious. Megan and the chef did a great job pairing the wines in a way that showcased them wonderfully. We felt very grown up and sophisticated that night. Until, however, the wine distributor couple who had provided 2/3 of that night's wines totally snubbed us in favor of the older couple sitting next to us, who were invited to go over to their place to help them drink the excess wine they apparently always have on hand. Oh well, you can't win 'em all.
Thursday: As a Vail Resorts employee, we get lodging discounts at Vail-owned properties, including Rock Resorts, provided occupancy is below a certain level. I have never been to Aspen, so Kyle and I planned a little trip. I booked us a room at Hotel Jerome, a very upscale hotel in the heart of Aspen. We arrived to check in and the front desk agent informed me that we had been upgraded to a deluxe room. It was fabulous! We walked around and explored the town for a while, returned to the room to open up a bottle of wine, enjoyed soaking in the hot tub for a little bit, ordered late night room service, and planned out our events for the next day. We called the front desk to see if tomorrow's occupancy levels would allow us to have a late check out. She checked the computer and said, "No one is checking into that room tomorrow, so the latest check out I can give you is 3:00." Sign us up! We were thrilled!
Friday: The only reason we could afford a trip to ski in Aspen in the first place was because I was graciously given two free lift tickets to the four mountains in Aspen. Yes, free. I'm telling you, this was the week of perks, for sure! When we woke up on Friday morning, we looked out the window and were surprised to see several inches of new snow. Powder day! Could this day get any better? After eating at a local breakfast joint we had found while walking around the night before, we took the hotel's shuttle to the gondola of Aspen Mountain. Kyle and I had each skied Snowmass once before (he with his brother a year ago, and I on a ski trip I led earlier this season for the Ex Factor Team--again, lucky me). So, we decided to do something different this time. Aspen Mountain (known to the locals as Ajax) is the closest mountain to downtown Aspen and it has no green (beginner) runs. One of the other reasons we were drawn to it is because there is a run named Ruthie's Run and lift named, you guessed it, Ruthie's Lift. We just had to go there. The conditions were wonderful, the powder was soft, and the crowds were sparse. It was a great day on the mountain! When we finished skiing, the shuttle took us back to the hotel, where we had time to shower and pack before our 3:00 check out time. It couldn't have been a better experience.
Saturday: While my Saturday perk isn't nearly as intense as Beaver Creek on a work day, Ski Tip, or Aspen, I'm grateful none the less. For the next couple days I'm house-sitting and cat-sitting for someone my friend knows. I'll be paid a decent sum of money each day to feed the cats, use the steam room shower, and watch TV from a high-tech adjustable bed.
I'm telling you, this has been an extraordinary week of enjoying many perks. I feel blessed and I am incredibly grateful for all of these opportunities.