Friday was Men’s Day at Devil’s Glen Country Club, where Dave, my former boss and our VP of Engineering, has a chalet. They have Men’s Day at the end of January every year, and Dave invites a bunch of us up. Once you buy your ticket ($140 this year), you get skiing for the day, breakfast and lunch, free beer and munchies (everything from wings and meatballs to oysters), plus gifts and lots of prize draws. The prizes are pretty substantial too — they had things like autographed Leafs and Raptors jerseys, BBQ’s, ski equipment, other electronic devices, and then a few grand prizes, including a 50″ plasma TV and a year’s membership at a local golf course. One of the guys from our group won an Atomic ski bag and baseball cap. The gifts this year included a Devil’s Glen baseball cap, a shirt (though they weren’t ready in time and will be mailed out later), and one really strange one — a six-pack of beer.
The skiing was great. It was pretty cold in the morning (when we got up, Dave’s weather station said it was -20), but it had warmed up to about -8 a few hours later. I think the cold temperatures must have scared some people off or kept them inside, because the hills were pretty empty. Good ski conditions + almost no lift lines = good skiing. I stuck to the easy and intermediate hills most of the day, though I did two or three black diamond (“expert”) runs. I skipped the double diamond runs though, I just don’t have the confidence in my skiing ability for those. I only ski once a year (though I missed it last year because I was sick), and my leg muscles are a little stiff today. There’s normally a one-day grace period before the real pain sets in, so I’m not looking forward to tomorrow.
We all went up to Dave’s chalet on the Thursday night to drink beer, play pool and table tennis, and hang out in the hot tub, but this year the big hit was the Nintendo Wii. Several of us had never seen one, and we all agreed that it’s a really dumb name (though catchy), and we also all agreed that it was a lot of fun. We played a bunch of sports games — golf, tennis, baseball, bowling, and boxing. The graphics are no big deal (I think my several-year-old Nintendo 64 has better graphics), but the controller (the “Wii-mote”) is the big draw. (I’m describing it here for those who have never used one &mdash feel free to skip this paragraph if you are familiar with the Wii.) It kind of looks like a (wireless) remote control with less buttons, but you basically use the remote like you would the golf club / baseball bat / tennis racquet / etc. It detects the motion (front-to-back, side-to-side, and even twisting) and speed, and the game acts accordingly. I was pretty impressed at the physics involved, and how they can sell this kind of technology for so little — if you can find one, I think they’re under $300. My birthday’s not until July, so maybe I should ask for one as a Valentine’s Day present?